Young Ones Blog

Aug 23

Early Literacy Skill: Background Knoweldge

Posted on August 23, 2017 at 11:51 AM by Allie Barton

At the Sherman Public Library during Storytime and Baby&Me we focus on five activities that parent/caregivers can use to help their children enter school ready to learn to read: singing, talking, reading, writing, and playing. These practices are all part of developing early literacy skills such as phonological awareness, vocabulary, print awareness, letter knowledge, and background knowledge. Researchers found that when children had a solid foundation in these early literacy skills when they came to school, it was easier for them to learn how to read (Library of Virginia). Some of these words are just really big words for easy practices that parents/caregivers can do at home to ensure that their children are ready to read. Today, I want to focus on background knowledge and how parents/caregivers can use talking and reading with their child to increase this early literacy skill.

Background knowledge is prior things that the child has learned. This is vital in helping children understand what they will read. There are simple things that parents/caregivers can do in order to increase a child's background knowledge. This might seem too simple: talk to your child. Talk to your child while you drive. Talk to your child while you change their diaper. Talk to your child in the supermarket. Talk! Talk! Talk! When you’re reading about trains, talk about what you know about trains. Not only will this increase their background knowledge about trains, but it will increase their vocabulary. For example, our first Storytime theme this Fall (starting Tuesday, September 5th!) will be about our state Texas! We're going to read some fun stories about Texas, but we're also going to talk about facts that we know about Texas.
Example interactions that might occur during our storytime:
"The monarch butterfly is the state bug, or insect. Have you seen a monarch butterfly like the one in this picture?"
"The armadillo is the state animal. They have a hard shell that protects them from predators. Do you know what a predator is?"
We're using new words. We're learning new words. And we are increasing our background knowledge.
So whether you are reading a book or taking a walk with your baby you can easily increase their background knowledge by simply engaging them in talking about what you know and as they get older, asking them questions about what they know as well. 

These concepts are partly based on the second edition of Every Child Ready to Read®, a project of the American Library Association. (

We can't wait for Storytimes and Baby&Me to pick up again. Storytimes (for ages 18months to 5 years old) pick up again on Tuesday, September 5th and Wednesday, September 6th at 10:00 am.  Baby&Me (for ages 18 months and under) starts Monday, September 11th at 10:00 am. Both will be in the MLK Building at 1003 N. East Street, right across from the temporary library. We hope to see you there!

Jul 17

STEM and Art Activities with Your Young Ones

Posted on July 17, 2017 at 11:11 AM by Allie Barton

When you think of the library, what comes to mind? Neat, pristine, books on shelves?  The uptight librarian that “shushes” you? Forget all that you think! At the library we are passionate about developing life-long learners and that means we want you and your kids to take books off the shelves. We want you and your kids to get a little loud as they discover their new passions and new worlds in books. We want you and your little ones to feel welcome in the library.

We also want to be a resource for parents about how to keep the love of learning alive at home. This summer the Sherman Public Library is giving away Pre-Reader (ages birth to 5) and Reader packs (ages 6-11) to help inspire the love of learning at home. From art projects to science experiments, each week we provide a new activity pack that involves both the parents and the kids in some free, fun learning activities. For example, this week the reader pack includes a science experiment. We give you the chocolate, marshmallow, graham cracker, and foil, and we challenge you and your kids to make a s’mores oven (which should be easy in this Texas heat!). If you need a little more direction, feel free to ask your librarian or check out this link: This Reader activity is a great way to encourage critical thinking skills. Ask questions about why (or why not) the s’mores could cook in the sun, instead of over a fire. Discuss the differences of roasting their s’mores over a campfire vs the sun. Then of course enjoy your yummy s’mores.

For Pre-Readers this week, we have a fun art project for the young ones.  Using a popsicle stick, and other felt pieces, we challenge you and young ones to make (and re-make) an ice-cream felt popsicle. We provide the popsicle stick, felt pieces, and glue—you provide the imagination. This art activity is a great pre-reader activity as it helps your young ones use the dexterity in their hands as they make the craft, helping build your child's fine motor skills. I’d also encourage you to make up a story about a popsicle or talk about a time where you all ate ice cream together as you make the craft. Talking and telling stories with objects (or in this case a craft) helps your pre-reader learn narrative skills and develops their pre-reading skills. If you want some books about ice cream or popsicles to help with your storytelling, here are some of our favorites:

All of these books can be checked out at the Sherman Public Library!

Each week of the Summer Reading Program, we will be providing these fun activity packs. It’s also not too late to sign up for the Summer Reading Program! Come see us before July 29th to sign-up and get your free book and reading log. You can still turn in your reading logs, pick up your prizes, and pick up these activity packs until August 12th! The activity packs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. We will see you soon at our temporary location at 1000 N. East Street.

Ice Cream Craft            S'more Experiment

Apr 04

Fingerplays for All

Posted on April 4, 2017 at 11:40 AM by Christina Stuck

Before I do counting fingerplays during story time, I check to see if everyone has ten fingers. It seems like a small matter, but some children, like adults, don't have access to all their fingers. I mainly do it to draw attention to something we often take for granted: a complete, working body. I never have had anyone attend story time with missing or bandaged up fingers, but I want to share with you a tip I learned if there ever was. Beside, it is also a fun way to shake up counting fingerplays we frequently do: simply recommend the child to use his toes or his grown-up's fingers. A super easy way to include everyone the way he is!