Welcome to this latest attempt to connect librarians from west-central Wisconsin with each other! Please send in content (booklists, ideas, photos, etc.), and comment on posts so we can help each other. If you were using feedmyinbox to get new posts sent to you before, you'll need to switch to another service (blogtrottr works like feedmyinbox, googlereader is a good blog-reader to try).

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Another Terrific Early Literacy Resource!

There is so much good stuff out there!  I found a reference to this in the Growing Wisconsin Readers Blog, but wanted to make sure everyone saw it.  For those of you who put so much work and effort into educating yourselves and adapting your storytime for kids on the autism spectrum, and for everyone who is interested in finding out more about how to make your services relevant to kids with developmental disabilities and their families, check this out!

Reach Out and Read created the Developmental Disabilities Literacy Promotion Guide for Pediatric Healthcare Providers.  It has terrific information for librarians, too, about what kinds of books to use and recommend, suggestions for adapting reading sessions for kids with a variety of specific disabilities, and handouts for parents.  Very user-friendly and easy to read--check it out!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

High Quality Early Childhood Education Has Lifelong Benefits

In recent workshops in IFLS-land with brilliant presenters like Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, Jim Gill and Saroj Ghoting, we have been learning a lot of important stuff about early literacy, the importance of helping children and their caregivers get access to great resources and information about child development, and the lasting negative effects of unmitigated toxic stress.

A colleague in the public health field sent along an article about a new study that indicates the long-lasting health benefits of high quality early childhood education.  Previous studies have shown the long-lasting cognitive and academic benefits of high quality experiences.  The current one looked at adults who, as infants and young children, received consistent, high-quality care in one setting, the Abecedarian Project in North Carolina.  These adults now have a significantly lower risk of hypertension and heart disease.  "Even without pinpointing a single mechanism responsible for improved adult health, scientists...agree that early childhood interventions are an encouraging avenue of health policy to explore. " (source

This has further implications for us as youth services librarians.  How can we improve the early childhood opportunities for young children?  How can we help support families and caregivers, daycare providers and grandparents and even teens who are babysitting?  For some great ideas, don't forget to keep track of the Growing Wisconsin Readers Blog!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Homemade Lava Lamps

Thanks so much to Christy Rundquist from Pepin for this terrific guest post!

The Homeschool Group at Pepin made "Lava Lamps" that would be a great activity for summer reading.  They also got to mix colors to make orange and purple, besides just the primary colors.
What you'll need:
  • Water
  • A clear plastic bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • Alka-Seltzer (or other tablets that fizz)

  1. Pour water into the plastic bottle until it is around one quarter full (you might want to use a funnel when filling the bottle so you don't spill anything).
  2. Pour in vegetable oil until the bottle is nearly full.
  3. Wait until the oil and water have separated.
  4. Add around a dozen drops of food coloring to the bottle (choose any color you like).
  5. Watch as the food coloring falls through the oil and mixes with the water.
  6. Cut an Alka-Seltzer tablet into smaller pieces (around 5 or 6) and drop one of them into the bottle, things should start getting a little crazy, just like a real lava lamp!
  7. When the bubbling stops, add another piece of Alka-Seltzer and enjoy the show!

What's happening?
The oil and water you added to the bottle separate from each other, with oil on top because it has a lower density than water. The food coloring falls through the oil and mixes with the water at the bottom. The piece of Alka-Seltzer tablet you drop in after releases small bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that rise to the top and take some of the colored water along for the ride. The gas escapes when it reaches the top and the colored water falls back down. The reason Alka-Seltzer fizzes in such a way is because it contains citric acid and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), the two react with water to form sodium citrate and carbon dioxide gas (those are the bubbles that carry the colored water to the top of the bottle).

Adding more Alka-Seltzer to the bottle keeps the reaction going so you can enjoy your funky lava lamp for longer. If you want to show someone later you can simply screw on a bottle cap and add more Alka-Seltzer when you need to. When you've finished all your Alka-Seltzer, you can take the experiment a step further by tightly screwing on a bottle cap and tipping the bottle back and forth, what happens then?