Wild, witty, wonderful words: Videos & activities for early learners

Letter tiles

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris Marvelous! Splendiferous! Sensational! There are so many delightful and fun words that exist. The more words that kids know, the easier it will be for them to decode and read them when they’re ready.  Preschoolers young and old love to use big fancy words. How many can you use together? … Read more

Transgender Day of Visibility: Books for early learners & grade schoolers

Book covers

By Children’s Librarian Hal Patnott March 31 is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV). Founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates the resilience and accomplishments of transgender and nonbinary people. Back in November, we shared books and resources about gender identity. This time, in honor of TDoV, let’s explore some books written … Read more

Spring sensory play: Videos & activities for early learners

Child and grownup examining tulips

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris Play is how kids learn.  We say this so often because it’s one of the most important things for adults who raise or work with kids to remember. Librarians included! Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers learn best when they can explore the things and world around them in their own way … Read more

Take a music & movement break: Videos & activities for early learners

Music notes on background

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris Music is a valuable way for kids to learn! Songs can help kids hear how words are made, listen better to instructions, and take important movement breaks. All of these things will support kids when they are learning in school. Caregivers can use slow songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to … Read more

Sounds, science & snow: Videos & activities for early learners


By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris What kind of things do you hear during the winter? When there’s a lot of snow on the ground, it can actually be very quiet! Until a snowplow comes by. Or the wind starts blowing and whistling. Or kids start playing in the snow.  There are many benefits to paying … Read more

How to help young kids process upsetting events in the news

Ruthie and Miss Jenny talking

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris Well, 2021 has certainly begun right where 2020 left off: with a lot of tough topics. Even our youngest kids know when big or upsetting things happen in the news. They may not know the details, but they can see and feel the strong emotions of their grownups and that … Read more

Virtual learning for early learners: Take a sad year & make it better

Take a Sad Year & Make It Better: Tips for helping kids share memories and deal with difficult emotions

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris Every year, our final Early Bird Reader tip we send via text (Want weekly early learning tips from the Oak Park Public Library? Sign up now for Early Bird Readers ») is to share stories about the year that’s ending. Sharing memories is a great way to practice narrating stories, … Read more

Holidays Around the World 2020

Library staff celebrating the holidays

Our annual event has gone virtual! This year, library staff members recorded videos and wrote stories to share their holiday traditions and memories with you, plus fun books, crafts, games, videos, and more for families to explore. Plus, share your hopes and wishes for 2021 and look for them in a window art installation facing … Read more

Virtual learning & fun for early learners: Songs to set a mood

Kids dancing with music notes

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris Songs are powerful! When we plan our storytime classes, we organize them to build energy and then calm kids down before we send them back on their way. When we want to build energy, we do a lot of movement songs and silly songs, and then choose quieter songs to … Read more

Virtual learning & fun for early learners: Fun in the snow? Say it ain’t so

Miss Shelley

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris I’m one of those odd ducks who loves winter and snow and is excited to get this season started. I know—my co-workers shake their head over me, too. But I also know this is going to be a long and hard winter for a lot of people, so Jenny and … Read more

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