September 16th, 2014

Listen Up!

listeningOne of the most often asked questions by parents at the library is how to help their child be a stronger reader. Like books, struggling readers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and cultures. A child’s ability to read is a result of various factors, and may sometimes be influenced by a language barrier, medical condition, or learning disability.

Trained educators know that early intervention can make a world of difference for a child. Many techniques and strategies, some not involving letters or words at all, can dramatically increase a child’s ability to read. One technique is utilizing audio books.

Audio books are CD’s or other forms of digitized media, on which stories are recorded as a person (or sometimes a cast of readers) reads them. The reader’s voices of these books bring characters to life, and the readers adjust the tone, speed, and volume of their voices to dramatize the story to the fullest potential. Many adults love audio books. We listen to them on long commutes back and forth to work. We listen to them while we clean our houses.

Somewhere out there, though, there is a feeling that children must physically read books. That listening to them is somehow cheating; not beneficial. In most cases, that is just not true.
Listening to audio books is actually one technique that can make a dramatic difference in a child’s ability to read. Listening to an audio book, while reading the book simultaneously, is even better! Studies show that listening to a story being read, while reading along, improves comprehension and fluency.

This is where your local library steps in.

Did you know that the Cecil County Public Library has entire collections of audio books for children?  We have audio books for beginning readers, like the popular Bob Books series available as a CD Book, where the CD is packaged directly with the book. Cecil County Public Library offers several CD Book titles in our EZ Reader section, like titles from Cynthia Rylant’s series “Henry and Mudge,” or “Fox in Socks,” by Dr. Seuss.

Classic favorites by award-winning authors, as well as new titles, are available in our picture book area.  Maybe a child in your life would like reading along, while listening to, a book by Kevin Henkes or Patricia Polacco! More challenging CD Books are available in our chapter book areas. We encourage you to check out the book with the CD Book, and listen as you read. We carry a slew of popular titles and series in CD Book format, from Junie B. Jones and  Magic Tree House, to 39 Clues, Little House on the Prairie, and Harry Potter (just to name a few). Why not listen to a children’s book on your way to school or sports practice?

For technology-hungry families, have you considered downloading audiobooks? CCPL has thousands of titles, click here.
Whether you are looking for strategies to help a struggling reader, or just a new way to enjoy a great book, try out an audio book and let us know about your experience the next time you stop by!

What’s your favorite audiobook?


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November 22nd, 2011

Crafting the Perfect Holiday

Christmas Display 2011_1A few days ago I started working on the decorations we will use for our holiday book display at the Elkton Central Library this year.  I am decoupaging old book pages on to a Styrofoam tree.  Will it be a success? I’m not sure at this point.  For me the joy of creating is not really being sure what you will end up with and the pleasure I receive when it turns out, hopefully, better than expected.  The other nice thing about it is that I’m recycling old books and flower pots!

Everyone is looking for ways to save money during the holidays.  One of the ways I save (and recycle) is by making my own gifts for relatives and friends out of vintage paper and fabric.  They appreciate the thought, love and effort put into the gifts, and I enjoy making them.  It, however, is not a pretty sight at my house during the “creative process.”  When an idea strikes me, I rip through the boxes and boxes of vintage paper and fabric I collect until just the right pieces come together.

The library has a wide assortment of craft books from Scherenschnitte (Papercutting) to rug hooking and many dedicated just to holiday crafts. Two of my particular favorites are Sara Toliver’s Vintage Christmas Crafts and Terry Taylor’s Altered Art.  I love the vintage quality of these two books and have made shadow boxes as gifts using ideas from both of them.  Happily, these shadow boxes have become treasured gifts, prized by the recipients.

vintage xmas gifts bookHere is a list of some other craft books available at the library that might inspire you to “craft” the perfect holiday this year.  In December all the Cecil County Public Libraries will host holiday craft programs for all ages and open houses with music and food.  We invite you to join us in celebrating the holidays.  And now is the time to check out those craft books!

What will you be crafting for the holidays?


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