Moving On Up

A list of 2nd-4th grade level chapter books recommended by Oakland Public’s children’s librarians.

Next time you’re in the children’s area of your library, keep an eye out for the Moving Up and Series Paperback books. These are special sections where you can find beginning chapter books for kids who have graduated out of early readers. Books here typically feature wide margins, short chapters, lots of illustrations, and vocabulary appropriate for 2nd – 4th graders. Super popular books in these sections include Captain Underpants, Mercy Watson,

Click here to read more

Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer. My middle-grader is refusing to read.

Q&A: As Children's Librarians, it's our job to answer questions from children, parents, caregivers, and teachers. Part four puts the focus on the one person in the family who doesn't enjoy reading.

Q: I love to read, my older son loves to read, but my daughter hates it. How can I get her as excited about reading as the rest of us are? I’d be happy if she read anything, but she’d rather do anything else than read. I bring home stacks of books, and she rejects them all. When she’s tested, she can read, but she won’t do it. She’ll start a book, and abandon it. Help!

A: It may be time for a reading intervention if your child consistently answers “What do you want to read?” with; “I don't.” Emergency measures are needed!

It sounds like you did just the right thing with one child, but it's not working with this one. I'm going to suggest that you put aside your expectations about your family's reading characteristics and take some time to observe this child as if you hadn't really done that before. It might help to think of yourself as a personal assistant rather than a parent, teacher, or friend when it comes to reading.

 

Click here to read more

Books for Wider Horizons - Taking Storytimes to Young Children

Books for Wider Horizons - Expanding the library beyond its walls.

BWH VolunteersEvery week about 60 dedicated volunteers read to children in 40 preschools in Oakland. They have been trained, tested, and sent forth to share their joy in language and literature with some of Oakland's youngest children.

These wonderful folks have committed themselves to a pretty rigorous schedule. They spend more than 20 hours over a period of two weeks in training. Then, once they are ready, we ask them to read 30 minutes a week at a Head Start or other preschool. That may not sound like a lot of time, however most volunteers spend hours choosing books, songs and fingerplays the children will enjoy. 

One of our volunteers has been with the program for almost twenty years, as long as Books for Wider Horizons has been in existence. Others take on multiple time slots, because they love it so much. Several manage to fit their storytime reading into their lunch break. Others are retired

Click here to read more

Writing and Reading

Playing with shapes will help babies learn to identify alphabet letters. This will, in turn, lead to learning how to write and even how to read better.

The skills needed to learn how to read and write are connected in children's brains.  In order to ready your child for reading, try some of these easy and fun writing activities:

FOR BABIES:  Of course your baby is not ready to read or write just yet, but learning to recognize shapes is the first step towards acquiring those skills. So point out different shapes you see and describe them to your child.  Find things that are round, such as balls, and let your child explore them.  Boxes are all around you; let your child play with a cardboard box and talk about squares and rectangles.  Playing with simple shape and color puzzles will also help develop these skills.

FOR TODDLERS:  Keep playing with shapes but also have fun introducing alphabet letters.  Toddlers love hearing their names,  Expand the sound of your toddler's name by writing it on all sorts of

Click here to read more

Seeing Stars at the Melrose Branch

Meet a star from Disney on Ice, and visit the Chabot Space and Science Center's Star Lab, this week at the Melrose Branch.

Have you visited the Melrose Branch?  This week might be the time. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 2:00pm - 
2:45pm, come to the Melrose Branch to meet a star from  "Disney on Ice presents ROCKIN' EVER AFTER."  One of the stars of this production will be making a stop to greet you, on the way to the Oracle Arena for their evening performance.

Click here to read more

Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer. Killjoys: Judgment, Shame, & Frustration (Reluctant Readers, part 3)

Q&A: As Children's Librarians, it's our job to answer questions from children, parents, caregivers, and teachers. Part three responds to a question about kids reading trashy junk & endless series.

Q: I'm ready for him to move on! My son has been reading Garfield books forever! (or Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, Rainbow Magic, Geronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or endless hours of comics.) Isn't it time for him to read harder books? Old illustration of baby getting thrown out with bathwater

A: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. While those books may seem as worthless as old bathwater; repetitive, stale, and stagnant to you, in fact re-reading or reading formulaic writing builds fluency and increases comprehension – but the baby in this metaphor is your son's fledging motivation. In your efforts to dump those stale books, make sure you'

Click here to read more

Kirk Waller - Storyteller Extraordinaire

Are you looking for something to do to celebrate African American Heritage Month? Come to hear Kirk Waller's tales based on the African American experience.

For the past several weeks we have been honoring the citizens and institutions of Oakland in our children's programming. Public Works has sponsored the annual Re-Create art competition, with free workshops by Pro Arts at OPL branch libraries. Goofball the Magician and Chabot Space & Science Center have helped us commemorate Lunar New Year in a new way.

Next up is our annual celebration of African American Heritage Month

The children's librarians at Oakland Public Library wanted to celebrate this year with something both pithy and entertaining. We could not have made a better choice.

Click here to read more

Black History Books for Kids

A list of excellent African-American history books for kids recommended by children's librarians at Oakland Public Library.

If you're seeking children's books that honor and celebrate African-American history, Oakland Public Library has what you need! The following staff recommendations are perfect to share with your kiddos year-round, and especially in observance of African-American History Month. We hope you enjoy our suggestions; let us know in the comments if we missed any of your favorites!

Picture Books

Charlie Parker played be bop book cover

Click here to read more

I'm Going On a Trip! Starring CultureGrams and Transparent Language Online

Want to go around the world? Grab your library card and get started on CultureGrams and Transparent Language Online, two of Oakland Public Library's handiest databases.

I'm going to France next month, for the first time ever! I'm very excited. To prepare for my trip, I'm going to pay a visit to one of Oakland Public Library's friendliest databases, CultureGrams.

Want to come too? Grab your library card and let's go!

We'll start here: Articles and Databases. Now scroll down with me. Come on, I wanna see you scrrooooooolll. All the way down to Country Information, where you'll see the link for CultureGrams.

At this point, you'll need to enter your library card number and pin. (If you have trouble during this step, call any OPL location during open hours--we'll help!)

And here we are:

Click here to read more

Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer. The Dangers of Reading Aloud (Reluctant Readers, part 2)

Q&A: Children's Librarians answer questions all day, every day, from children, parents, caregivers, and teachers. This is part two in our series sharing questions from patrons and answers from a children's librarian.

Illustration by Richard Scarry of bunny reading newspaperQ:  You say it's okay to read aloud to my daughter even though she's 9 years old and she thinks everyone in her class is ahead of her, BUT I'm still worried that it's becoming a crutch for her to avoid learning to read on her own. Are you sure I'm not sabotaging her work or impeding her progress by continuing to read aloud to her?

A:  Yes, I'm sure. From my experience – talking to kids, parents, and teachers for the past 18 years, and reading studies on literacy, the only potential down-side of reading aloud to your daughter is that she may do worse on spelling tests. The up-sides, on the other hand, are many:

  • She can relax and enjoy the story. (Enjoying reading is crucial.

Click here to read more