Tag Archive | caregivers

Reference for children

                  This is a challenging aspect of a youth service librarian’s job. what is it that the child is looking for? Children are complex and can be misunderstood which makes them a user group that many librarians do not want to deal with. But I find them fascinating, funny, and incredibly smart. It is important that children are able to receive reference service as well because they have very specific information needs.

                    There are three basic types of service that they need. help with homework and research, voluntary inquires based on curiosity  and assistance with personal problems or issues. This is the dilemma for many librarians because they don’t want to be the teacher or parent helping  or doing homework for the children. This as an opportunity because if the child is not getting the help anywhere else this is the librarians opportunity to step in. Librarians are trained and specialized in knowing the tricks to research and assisting patron’s information needs, and it is our duty to assist with homework help.  The curiosity questions are a bonus. children have a quest to soak up knowledge because they are growing and being able to satisfy their thirst is rewarding.  And assisting children in their personal lives can be tricky, because they will tell you your life story and then some. Librarians need to put their own judgement aside and give the best answer for that situation and if needed talk to the parent or caregiver.

                   Shenton and Dixson’s  “Information Needs: Learning More about What Kids Want, Need, and Expect from Research” explains the types of needs that arise and the variables that effect them.  This is crucial to understanding how to do a reference interview with a child because they care about accuracy and urgency as well as adults.  But children are different in how they act socially and the types of questions asked. The authors came up with strategies for practice and an important one is to develop questions that are not based on preconceived notions but based on the child’s real needs (Shenton, 26). It is also necessary to have open dialogue with the child patron because that way if the need was not met by certain materials the search can be tried again.  This is crucial because some children are shy and will not say so, or they do not even realize they didn’t meet their own need.

                Children’s reference is rewarding and demanding. Librarians have to know it all and be able to read minds,  but not really we can do those things by being friendly, attempting the question wholeheartedly,  and knowing the library’s collection.

Shenton, A.K. and P. Dixson, “Information Needs: Learning More about What Kids Want, Need, and Expect from Research.” Children and Libraries 3 (2): 20-28.

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Revelation on Reading

This week I had many realizations about reading and school. It all came from this book,  The Power of Reading: Insights from Research by Stephen Krashen. Krashen provides a well argued point about how reading is very influential in the development of a child.  Krashen uses many different research studies, articles, and profound sources that illustrate this point.

One of the important lessons to take away from this book is that free voluntary reading (FVR) is the best way to develop literacy and results in better test scores. FVR is defined as reading for personal gain or without being graded. This type of indirect education for children is proven to be better than direct instruction.  Direct instruction is when a language arts teacher lectures about spelling, grammar, or vocabulary. Then the teacher gives worksheets or homework, and if the teacher makes corrections on errors students are supposed to just recall the answer. Krashen gives many examples of the methods and explains what the research shows and it points to FVR.

There are many factors that play into if FVR will actually work or not.  Krashen insists that each component be included for a child to read. For example, if the child has the access to get books through purchase or renting at a school or public library.  Other factors include environment, libraries,reading aloud, time,  and encouragement.  The reading environmental should be quiet, comfortable, and inviting. The library should be avaiable to the child whether at school, or have a caregiver take child to public library. Caregivers should read aloud to the child, and then the child should do it on their own.  Time should be allotted for the child to read at school or home. Also, encouragement should be given from teachers, caregivers, and siblings so that the child will feel pleasure from reading.

Another important point that Krashen makes is that light or pleasure reading is not detrimental, but actually important. Krashen uses the example of comics and teen romance as genres that children or young adults are interested in. These two examples are not certainly what the teachers and parents may want them to read, but it is a gateway to other more sophisticated reading. For example, reading graphic novels as a child could lead them to read Stephen King as a adult and then lead them to journal articles about psychology.

Of course like every human, as I was reading I related this book back to myself and my childhood days. I liked reading as a child and always would participate in summer reading. However, while I was in grade, middle, and high school I do not recall ever having time for voluntary reading during school. But I do have memories of being in language art classes and being totally confused.  I am living proof direct instruction does not work, at least on me. I struggled to grasp the rules, grammar, and spelling through this type of instruction.  I was finally able to catch up through reading and repetition  of the same mistake. As I was reading this book, it just clicked with me why this did not work and I was able to comprehend what Krashen was saying on a personal level.

I recommend  this book to anyone who has doubts about the effects of reading on a child. I also think that this book should be read by all teachers, librarians, parents, and anyone on involved in education because it presents a strong argument that there is tremedous power gained from reading.

Early Literacy

         A great article to understanding how to integrate early literacy initiatives into storytime is “Early Literacy Storytimes @ Your Library: Partnering with Caregivers for Success” by Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Díaz. It really opened my eyes to all the ways that librarians can promote literacy to infants and toddlers.  This brought a whole new level of what can be done in story time to promote literacy and caregivers importance to allow for such activity.

       They expand on six skills that are important to early literacy development. The authors explain what it is, how to incorporate it into storytime, what to tell caregivers, and provide examples of what to say or do. The formats that are used in storytime are picture book; flannel or magnet board; rhymes, songs,and finger play; movement; activity, writing, craft; and take home activity. The concepts of print motivation, phonological awareness, vocabulary, narrative skills, print awareness, letter knowledge can even be used in most formats not just in picture books. the authors stress sticking with books and resources you know but just enhancing the skills shown in those materials to the children.  

          I think that any Youth Service Librarian that faciliates storytime should be aware of these skills and using one or more in their programs. This was a informative article in understanding storytime as a avenue for early literacy and stressing the need for caregiver involvement. All Youth Services programmers and librarians can benefit from reading this. I certainly have and now I know how important these things are to infant development.  

 

Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Díaz, Early Literacy Storytimes @ Your Library: Partnering with Caregivers for Success pp. 3-43