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Library Matters

Library Matters is a podcast by Montgomery County Public Libraries exploring the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning.
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Now displaying: June, 2017

Library Matters is a podcast of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) in Montgomery County, MD. Each episode we explore the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning. Library Matters is hosted by Julie Dina, Outreach Associate, Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian at our Silver Spring branch, and David Payne, Branch Manager of our Davis branch and Acting Branch Manager of our Potomac branch.  

Jun 27, 2017

Listen to the audio

Adrienne Miles Holderbaum (Producer): Welcome to Library Matters, the Montgomery County Public Libraries podcast.

 

Alessandro Russo: Hello and welcome to Library Matters. This is part 2 of our two-part episode on reading aloud to children. In part 1, we discussed the benefits of reading aloud to children with MCPL’s children’s librarians, Jane Dorfman and Lauren Martino.

 

In this second part of our episode, we’ll hear samples of story time readings from both of our guests. The librarians will demonstrate how to bring a story to life and discuss what made their sample stories good for reading aloud.

 

Our guests will also answer questions that they have heard from parents over the years about reading aloud to children.

 

Welcome to the podcast, Jane and Lauren.

 

Jane Dorfman: Thank you.

 

Lauren Martino: Thank you.

 

Alessandro Russo: So we have a special treat on today’s podcast. We’re actually going to get some samples of story time. And our first title is –

 

Jane Dorfman: Bark, George, which is about a mother dog and her little puppy, George. It’s by Jules Feiffer.

 

And one day, George’s mother said, “Bark, George.” And George went, “Meow.” “No, George,” said George's mother. “Cat’s go meow, dogs go arf. Now, bark, George.” And George went, “Quack-quack.” “No, George,” said George’s mother. “Ducks go quack-quack, dogs go arf. Now, bark, George.” And George went, “Oink.” And after he went, “Moo,” she took him to the vet.

 

And the vet said, “I’ll soon get to the bottom of this. Please bark, George.” And George went, “Meow.” The vet reached deep down inside of George and pulled out a cat.

 

“Bark again, George.” And George went, “Quack-quack.” And the vet reached deep, deep down inside of George and pulled out a duck.

 

“Bark again, George.” And George went, “Oink.” And the vet reached deep, deep, deep, deep down inside of George and pulled out a pig.

 

“Bark again, George.” And George went, “Moo.” The vet put on his longest latex glove and he reached deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep down inside of George and pulled out a cow. And in the illustration, George’s mother has fainted away.

 

“Bark again, George.” And George went, “Arf.” George’s mother was so thrilled. She kissed the vet, and the cat, and the duck, and the pig, and the cow. And all the way home she wanted to show George off to everyone on the street. So she said, “Bark, George.” And George went, “Hello.” And that’s the end.

 

I really love this book. I’ve never seen it fail on kids. The pacing is just perfect. It has very few words. Everybody knows, I mean, a preschooler knows a dog doesn’t say meow, or quack, or moo. And I think they even get the end when he says, “Hello.” And you wonder what’s in there now. And I – and it always gets a laugh and it’s the very last page of the book and the expressions on the mother dog.

 

So I try to convey some of the expressions. Like, she’s getting a little put out with all these animal noises. “No, George,” she’s trying to be, you know, patient. “No, George. Ducks go quack-quack. Dogs go arf. Now, bark, George.” And he continues to make animal noises.

 

But I think the first time the child hears this book, they have no idea that these things are all inside of George and they’re pulling them out one by one. And I don’t think they even think about, “Oh, no, a cow would never fit inside of a puppy.” And the vet is very funny and he’s very matter – you know, he puts on his longest latex glove and it’s just a great story. And I think it’s perfectly paced, very few words and great illustrations. But I think, you know, it kind of works without even seeing the pictures.

 

Lauren Martino: I like using Story Time just because if I have a big group of different ages it works for little kids. It’s one of the very few books that work for little kids because they can jump in with the animal noises and even the grownups enjoy it like it doesn’t matter how old the kid is, they’re going to enjoy this book.

 

Jane Dorfman: I think they especially like the mother passing out.

 

David Watts: Well, as an observer, it had a good beat. It was easy to dance to. I think from ‘87, they might, you know, go over a lot of our listeners heads but, you know, from a band stand perspective, your cadence was good and you – the way you delivered it showed –

 

Jane Dorfman: I have read it a lot.

 

David Watts: – that you understand the nuances of it.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: All right. I have a book called The Monster at the End of This Book: Staring Lovable, Furry Old Grover by Jon Stone, illustrated by Michael Smollin and I like to introduce the author and the illustrator whenever I read a book because kind of – it’s part of that being aware of what a book is. Let’s see and I just I have known – I wouldn’t choose just any random book dealing with a licensed character because there are a lot – you know, they vary widely in quality. Some of them are not – don’t make such good read alouds but this one, I listened to this one when I was a kid. It stood the test of time.

 

So we have Grover on the parenthesis. This is a very dull page. What is on the next page? What did that say? On the first page, what did that say? Did that say there will be a Monster at the end of this book? It Did? Oh, I am so scared of Monsters!!! I’m turning the page. This is important. Shhhh Listen, I have an idea. If you do not turn any pages, we will never get to the end of this book. And that is good because there is a Monster at the end of this book. So please do not turn the page. What do think? Should I turn the page?

 

Jane Dorfman: Yes.

 

Lauren Martino: Should I turn the page? Okay. You turned the page. I’m going to turn the page again. Maybe you do not understand. You see, turning pages will bring us to the end of this book and there is a Monster at the end of this book. But this will stop you from turning pages. See? I am tying the pages together so you cannot – what do you think? Should I try it? I’m going to do it. Okay. Okay. Now, these pages are tied together so I’m going to go snap. You turned another page. You do not know what you are doing to me. Now stop turning pages. There. I, Grover, am nailing this page to the next ones so you will not be able to turn it and we will not get any closer to the Monster at the end of this book.

 

And this page is nailed together. You think I can do it? You think I can do it? All right. All right. All right. Do you know every time you turn another page, you not only get us closer to the monster at the end of this book but you make a terrible mess? Okay, so I’ll stop right there. But you can there’s a lot of opportunity here. It’s kind of hard to read this book without a kid present to be honest because you really want their input. You really want them egging you on. They get really into that. But, yeah, it’s very participatory. You can’t read this book without a back and forth exchange. But, yeah, and it’s also fun to ham up. You’re making it really hard to turn the pages.

 

Now, if you have the kid do the pages, you know, they’re just going to turn it and then you can – you know, make a big deal about how strong it is and, again, it’s fun to get the kids involved, too, doing that. Yeah, and turning pages is a skill. It’s not easy.

 

Jane Dorfman: As witness, both you and my book have patched up tear – torn pages.

 

Lauren Martino: Oh, yes. These are well-loved books.

 

Jane Dorfman: Library books, yeah. That’s what’s supposed to happen to them.

 

Lauren Martino: I think we picked good ones. Should I tell them the end of the book? The monster at the end is Grover himself, so, you know, it’s really not a – there are some kids – you know, I think the first time I read this to my daughter, she’s like, “I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to hear – I don’t want to see this monster either.” But once they’re in on the joke, it’s like, “Yeah, this is a fun book to read.”

 

Alessandro Russo: So we have a few questions from parents and caregivers. First question, what should you do if your baby is more interested in eating the book than reading it? Should you wait until they’re older to start reading?

 

Lauren Martino: Well, the earlier you start, the better. And, you know, it’s understandable you’re going to feel a little strange reading to a child that can’t respond to you that, you know, is barely looking at you. But it’s a really good time to start because they’re captive audience. They’re not going to move away from you. They don’t have much of a choice. And it’s okay if the baby chews on the book. I mean if it’s a library book, we’d rather them not, quite frankly, but that’s why you have books –

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, those board books will take a lot.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah.

 

Jane Dorfman: They’ll take a lot.

 

Lauren Martino: Go from that.

 

Jane Dorfman: You can give them a book to hold and play with and you can read some totally different book and have them so they can see the pictures.

 

Lauren Martino: Oh, yeah. That’s a good one.

 

Jane Dorfman: And I notice that I avoided this pun. You should take it in small bites. But, yeah, read – you know, you can read a few minutes and – a bright colored picture and if they need something to hold, you know, they can have a board book to chew on.

 

Lauren Martino: And that’s how babies learn about the world at that point. Put everything in their mouth.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: And it’s – you know, if you find you can’t read them to them on the floor, there’s always the car seat or the bathtub or the high chair. Like there is always a point at which they, you know, can’t get away from you.

 

And with tiny, tiny little babies, you can almost read anything to them because really it’s just exposing them to a language of – I guess that brings up another point. I don’t know if it’s on here but, you know, people have their different personalities reading. Like I tend to be very animated and Jane tends to be a lot more low-key and subdued but there’s value in that. Like I’ve got – you know, people I trained to do story time under me and some of them are like, “I can never be as bouncy and huge and loud as you are.” Well, I’ve made babies cry, reading the way I do. So, there’s value in a lot of expression and value in more toned down, so you just work with your personality.

 

David Watts: What could I read to my baby or toddler that would not put me to sleep?

 

Lauren Martino: Well, there’s a few authors that tend to be a little bit more adult-friendly. Sandra Boynton tends to go over well with adults. I don’t know that we have the board books with these but there’s a series by Dav Pilkey called Big Dog and Little Dog. There’s always some crazy punch line at the end. I personally enjoy them. I don’t think we have the board books but we do have the easy readers that are based on the board books. So if you have a baby that’s not necessarily going to crunch up the pages, that might be a good way to go.

 

But with babies, it’s not even necessarily about reading exactly the text. You get into the pictures, you can talk about, you know, it’s the cat like the one we saw yesterday on the neighbor’s porch. You don’t have to limit yourself to the text if it’s boring. You can find something interesting in the book even if it’s, you know, an interesting pattern on somebody’s shirt.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, I think it is great to talk about the pictures. But there’s a whole wealth of board books. I think the parent who found this boring just needs to look a little bit more.

 

Lauren Martino: Ask your librarian.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, ask your librarian –

 

Lauren Martino: We’ll help you out.

 

Jane Dorfman: – for any good suggestions, yeah.

 

Alessandro Russo: My second grader still wants me to read to him. What about reading out loud to older kids? Does that tamper their ability to read on their own? So basically, is there an age –

 

Jane Dorfman: Cutoff?

 

Alessandro Russo: – cutoff?

 

Jane Dorfman: No. I think I would read to my kids. In fact, I did read to my kids as long as they would still listen. And that was way past the time when they could read for themselves. I think they like that. They like the parent involvement, you sharing a really good story with them. You know, a long chapter book that you read a little bit every night is just wonderful. It’s good for everybody. And I think it probably only helps their ability to read if they’re constantly exposed to these wonderful books.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah. I tend to think of reading aloud to older kids is sort of advertising it for reading beyond the early readers because, you know, when you’re learning to read, you’re reading – you know, about Dick and Jane or whatever, the modern equivalent is – they’re not – you know, that they’re only so interesting. There’s only so much you can – they do a lot to make them interesting but it’s good to let kids know there’s something beyond that. And if they keep going through the effort, they’re going to get –

 

Jane Dorfman: Get to that book, yeah. I think so, too.

 

Lauren Martino: Exactly. And also, you’ve got the vocabulary again. Kids’ listening vocabulary is usually way ahead of what they can read. So if you’re exposing them to more words, more words, more words that they’re listening to and they’re getting what it means, then ultimately when they begin reading them, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to decode. That’s why audio books are good for kids, too. Anytime in the car, when they have to do chores, it makes life a lot more pleasant and also keeps exposing them to those good books and the vocabulary.

 

Alessandro Russo: I know I valued – I remember in elementary school, we had – all my teachers read us chapter books –

 

Jane Dorfman: Mm-hmm.

 

Lauren Martino: Oh, yeah.

 

Alessandro Russo: – and I remember particularly our fifth grade teacher, he loves The Great Brain series by Fitzgerald and we couldn’t wait until he finished one book and we went for the – and he was going to say, “Oh, tomorrow we’re going to start the new Great Brain book.” And it got me, you know, to like books.

 

Lauren Martino: I think we’ve all got memories like that, yeah.

 

Alessandro Russo: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah.

 

David Watts: My child wants me to read the same book every night. How can I introduce new books to her?

 

Jane Dorfman: You might do a compromise. Read the same book and then read a new one. I think children find a lot of comfort especially if it’s bed time book, that repetition of the book, they know what – and no surprises, there’s nothing scary. It’s like a visit with a friend, you know. We went through that with my kids with Bread and Jam for Frances, a book I just adore but I did get a little tired of it, over and over and over. But, you know, it’s not worth fighting about. You should just read the book, same one, and slip in a new one every now and again.

 

Lauren Martino: Also, repetition is also is really important to the way kids learn. It’s like you’re sick to death of it. You don’t want to read it again. But your child is actually – there’s a good chance your child is getting something different out of it every time you read that. I mean even as an older kid, I remember I read books over and over and over again. Like in third, fourth, fifth grade, I would take the same book and I would get something out of it every time. It drove my mother crazy that I kept having the same book around. People made fun of me at school. But I was – I, you know, could tackle in much harder book that way and then get a grip on it.

 

You can also look, too, for books that are similar. If you need a break from bear stories on, you can try one of the other bear books by Karma Wilson and ask a librarian. Again, we can – we can help you find something similar, something based on something else your child is passionate about.

 

Alessandro Russo: My child wants me to read books to them that are not written in my first language. I’m afraid I mispronounced too many words. Is it still beneficial to read out loud to them from books written in another language?

 

Jane Dorfman: Mispronunciation, you know, I think it’s good for kids to see you trying hard to do something. This is – it is very hard to learn English. And you – if the parents is really working on that and reading aloud and maybe the child will even correct you if they’ve picked up, you know, English faster, it’s cool.

 

Lauren Martino: Kids love that.

 

Jane Dorfman: They love to do that.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah.

 

Jane Dorfman: Well, I think just the active reading aloud and working hard at something is good. But to read aloud or tell stories in your first language I think is really also beneficial. Not only do they get exposed to another language, but, you know, they get exposed to your culture in the stories that you remember.

 

And the library can help you with a lot – we have books in Spanish and French and Farsi and Russian and Chinese and probably I am skipping a couple, but lots of different languages. Maybe not every branch, but if it’s in the catalogue, we can get it sent to whatever branch is convenient for you. And we have, you know, children’s books in those languages.

 

Lauren Martino: And we can point you to resources, too, like the International Children’s Digital Library. And if we don’t have it in the library system, we can get books from other library systems.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: We go all over the country for books for people. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to teach your child a language besides the one they encounter in their environment every day. And the more you expose children the language when they’re young, no matter what language it is, the more they’re going to benefit from it. So absolutely read, tell stories in whatever language you’re comfortable in. Just keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it. And don’t forget, too, about wordless picture books. We’ve got a number of picture books that don’t have any words at all and you can take them and tell them in whatever language you speak, that’s the same. Yeah.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

David Watts: My preschooler chooses picture books that are much too long to read in one setting. What suggestions would you make on how I could break up the story?

 

Jane Dorfman: Well, I’m afraid my suggestion would be to make a longer sitting, but if your child doesn’t want to do that, you know, decorated beautiful bookmark together and say, “This is where we’re going to get to tonight and we’ll hear the rest of it tomorrow night.

 

I do think it’s nice to let children choose books even if it looks perfectly random when they run into the library and they just start pulling things off the shelf for home, you have to take these home and read them.

 

But I think it gives the child some validation that, “Oh, you picked a good book. You picked a really interesting one. And it’s really long, we’re going to read half tonight and half tomorrow night.”

 

Lauren Martino: We’ve got a four-book limit at bed time in my house and that’s four chapters if it’s a longer book. And some of the books we – you know, dad will read it and I’ll read it, you know. And, you know, we can start wherever we happen to be. But we end up reading it so many times that, you know, we can dip in and out. It’s good to get it linear at some point, but you can always kind of recap, oh, I remember this happened in the beginning and so this is kind of where we’re at.

 

Jane Dorfman: And that would be good for your child to recap too, telling –

 

Lauren Martino: Oh, absolutely.

 

Jane Dorfman: – what happened last night? What do you remember before you fell asleep or whatever.

 

Lauren Martino: Why is he here? How did he get here? Oh yeah.

 

Alessandro Russo: Are there good books to encourage my preschooler to use their imagination or to read to me?

 

Jane Dorfman: I think that Lauren mentioned some of the wordless picture books. We can really get the pace of those. They can think what’s happening. They can read you the pictures. So many books for preschoolers. I think they’re just imagining themselves in the book anyway or they have kind of limited real life experience and when they read about the bear hibernating or the child sailing a ship off to where the wild things are. I think almost any good book is going to help them use their imagination.

 

Lauren Martino: And you can also just invite your child to tell you a story and write down what they say and have an illustrator or you can illustrate it and it would be really fun to see later on what your child comes up with.

 

David Watts: Help us to know how we can change our read aloud style as your child grows older and you’re trying to connect. Do you read the same way to a newborn as you would to an elementary school age child?

 

Lauren Martino: With very small babies, again, you read it – any language is good language. You can have a conversation about the book. You’re obviously not going to get a whole lot of –

 

Jane Dorfman: Interaction.

 

Lauren Martino: Exactly. Yeah. Your interaction is going to be limited. But as the child gets a little bit older, if you pause – if I pause and say, “Should I turn the page and wait,” and you wait longer than you think you have to because that child’s going to take a while. Pretty soon, you know, even if they’re grunting in response or, you know, making any kind of noise looking at you, that’s a response.

 

So you’re practicing having this conversation around the book that’s teaching this back and forth needed for a conversation. It’s one of those important language skills.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: And again, toddlers, you’re going to – you can start asking them to point to things, to label things, to get them involved. You know, they’re not going to be able to answer – you can ask them, you know, what do you think he’s going to do, just to model that you should be thinking about it. They’re not going to answer you, you know, exactly how you would answer it as an older kid. But you can start asking those questions.

 

Preschoolers, you’re going to ask longer, more complicated questions. They’re going to comment on stuff they remember from their lives that relate to the book. And when you get to the second grader, the third grader that you’re asking, you can – what would you do in this situation, things like do you agree with what he did. You get into the really kind of deep nitty-gritty questions that are going to be asked on essays when they get in fifth grade. But, you know, in a fun sort of non-judgmental sort of environment where it’s just you and your child interacting.

 

Jane Dorfman: I think the pace will change, too. You do want to wait slowly to the babies and then to –

 

Lauren Martino: Slower than you think.

 

Jane Dorfman: Slower than you think.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah.

 

Jane Dorfman: Because you hear sometimes people reading aloud, they’re just whipping through that book and like, you know, the child really does need a little time to consider and to let that soak in. But by the time, you know, that you’re still reading to your second and third graders, you can pretty much read as you would read to an adult.

 

Lauren Martino: And they can take over some of the reading, too, if they want.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, that’s – and I think you need to – one thing I think, older kids are afraid you’re going to stop reading to them when they learn to read it themselves. And I remember somebody saying that her kid won’t read aloud to her and I think that was a fear. Okay, if I show you how well I read, you’re going to not read to me anymore and I’m going to miss that. So assure them that that’s not going to happen.

 

Alessandro Russo: Should I only read books that are on my child’s reading level?

 

Lauren Martino: I don’t read books that are only on my reading level.

 

Jane Dorfman: No. I think you can read way beyond your child’s reading level and I think that’s part of the joy of reading aloud. It would be very tedious if they could only read beginning readers and that’s all you could read.

 

Lauren Martino: And at the same time, if they show – I hear it all the time, it’s like, “Oh, that’s a baby book. We’re not reading that book.” It’s like –

 

Jane Dorfman: Oh yeah, I hate that.

 

Lauren Martino: But if your child’s interested in it, there might be a reason for it or, you know, even if it’s, you know, not as complicated as you might think it would be and there’s still things in that book you can discuss –

 

Jane Dorfman: Mm-hmm. Or parents will say, “You’re too old for those from that section.” Oh, I hate that.

 

Lauren Martino: Oh. I mean, there are picture books for really, like, elementary school kids and up that – they have picture books in the grownup section –

 

Alessandro Russo: Right.

 

Lauren Martino: – right, that would not be appropriate for kids. So, you know, you can’t judge a book by the genre. There’s always something in there for a child that’s interested in it.

 

And it may surprise you, again, with what they’re interested in. I have this memory of wanting to read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry when I was probably in second grade and that was completely inappropriate. My media specialist let me know it. They would not let me check out that book.

 

But if your child shows interest in it, you could always give it a shot. I mean, my three-and-a-half-year-old just glommed on to this series from the ‘30s about Betsy from like Carolyn Haywood that my mom really loved and I read them as a kid. And there’s just something in there that she was able to grasp even as a very young child. So, lower or higher, your kid surprises you.

 

David Watts: We like to ask all of our guests if you have a favorite book or what’s on your nightstand now.

 

Jane Dorfman: I have lots of favorite books. I’m re-reading a book by Ann Patchett called The Magician’s Assistant which I just love that book. It’s got a little magic – it’s an adult book. It’s got a little magic, a realism, it always carries me away. And I think I’m somewhat like kids that if I don’t have something really pressing to read, I’ll go back to these old favorites and read them again. I know exactly what happens. But it’s a comforting thing to do, yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: My childhood favorite is a Wrinkle in Time. My adult favorite book is called Redshirts and it’s by John Scalzi who – actually, he wrote science fiction TV. And so it’s like parody of Star Trek and yet very, very clever, witty, hilarious if you know it or if you don’t. But toward the end, there’s like this separate section kind of based on the fall out from everything else and it just – it blows your mind. It gets really thought-provoking. I love books like that, that are super entertaining and also just open up new horizons. It’ nice to know that authors can do both.

 

Alessandro Russo: Thank you, Jane and Lauren, for sharing your stories, experience and enthusiasm with us. Let’s remember this is part 2 of 2. If you missed part 1, make sure to check it out. There’s a lot of great content about reading aloud to children. Keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Also, please review and rate us on iTunes. We’d love to know what you think. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

Jun 26, 2017

Recording Date: June 13, 2017

Episode Summary: MCPL children's librarians Jane Dorfman and Lauren Martino continue their discussion on reading aloud to children. In this portion, part 2 of 2, Jane and Lauren read sample stories, explain why these stories are good read-alouds, and note some of the techniques they used to bring these stories to life. Our guests also answer questions that they have heard from parents over the years about reading aloud to children.

NOTE; This recording is part 2 of 2 of the Reading Aloud to a Child epsiode. We had such an interesting discussion that our recording for this episode was over 45 minutes. We've split the discussion up into 2 parts to make it easier for our listeners to absorb. 

Guests: Jane Dorfman, MCPL Children's Librarian, and Lauren Martino, MCPL Children's Librarian

Books read during this episode:

Bark George by Jules Feiffer. Read by Jane Dorfman. A mother dog is concerned because her puppy doesn't bark. 

The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. Read by Lauren Martino. Grover becomes concerned when he learns there's monster waiting at the end of his book. 

MCPL resources and services mentioned during this episode:

Wordless books: These are books, often picture books, that have only pictures and no words. 

World Languages Collection: Numerous MCPL branches offer adult and children's books (and some periodicals) in Amharic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. 

Authors mentioned during this episode:

Sandra Boynton. Author of many colorful, humorous picture books featuring cheerful, often musical, animals. Her books include such favorites as Are You a Cow?, Tickle Time!, and Barnyard Dance!.

Books mentioned during this episode:

B Is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood. Betsy is nervous about going to first grade, but learns it's a great place where she has lots of fun. 

Big Dog Little Dog series by Dav Pilkey. Big Dog and Little Dog are best friends who can be a bit mischievous and silly. 

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. Frances declares she will only eat bread and jam. To her surprise, her parents agree. 

The Great Brain series by John Fitzgerald. The Great Brain is a boy growing up in the early 1900s with a silver tongue and a knack for making a profit. 

*Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett. A magician's assistant travels to Nebraska in search of her late magician's secret past. 

*Redshirts by John Scalzi. An ensign on the flagship of the interstellar navy learns that life on a starship is a lot more complicated, and deadly, than he realized.

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. The children of a black family living in Depression era Mississippi do not understand the prejudice and discrimination they face.

*A Wrinkle in Time by Madelein L'Engle. A brother, sister, and their friends search for the sibling's father, who has disappeared after working on a secret project for the government. 

*Mentioned by our guests as their favorite books.

Other items of interest:

International Children's Digital Library.  A digital library of full-text books from around the world.  

Read the full transcript

Jun 24, 2017

Listen to the audio

Adrienne Miles Holderbaum (Producer): Welcome to Library Matters, the Montgomery County Public Libraries podcast.

 

Alessandro Russo: Hello and welcome to Library Matters. Today’s episode is about reading aloud to children. Our discussion on the topic was so interesting that we went over our usual recording time so we decided to break it up into two parts.

 

Today, we’ll be discussing part one of two. In this first part of our reading aloud episode, we’ll discuss the benefits of reading out loud to children, how to make reading aloud fun and engaging, and how to select the best books to read out loud.

 

Our guest for both parts of this episode are children’s librarians Jane Dorfman and Lauren Martino.

 

Welcome to the podcast, Jane and Lauren.

 

Jane Dorfman: Thank you.

 

Lauren Martino: Thank you.

 

Alessandro Russo: So tell us a little about yourselves, how long have you work for MCPL, your positions?

 

Lauren Martino: See, I’m head of children services at the Silver Spring Library. I work for MCPL for three years starting three years ago in September. I worked at the Noyes Library for Young Children for a couple of months and then went from these smallest oldest libraries in the system to the newest and biggest one, which has been a lot of fun.

 

Jane Dorfman: I’m Jane Dorfman. I worked for 21 years in the system and I’ve been in various different branches, and presently at Davis, which was just remodeled, and I am the head of children’s there.

 

David Watts Speaker: Jane, Lauren, why should we read aloud to children? What are the benefits of it?

 

Lauren Martino: Well, research continues to show that children who read aloud, who have – the parents read aloud to them do better in school, they show up to school prepared. They get exposed to a lot more vocabulary than you normally would. You’ve got to think of not only the words they encounter on the day-to-day basis but also the quality of words.

 

You and I, we’re using words that we use all the time, every day. They’re going to get words like “is” and “hi” and, you know, all the comments stuff. It’s the unusual words like latex and veterinarian, Jane will use later, that you come across in books. That’s a really important part about it.

 

Jane Dorfman: I also think it’s a pleasure. I think children’s books are just wonderful and the bonding that you do with your child when you read to them, when you’re sharing something together, you both loving this book, I think that’s as good a reason as the improved school, you’re better ACT scores, you know, I think, the closeness you get with your children when you read to them is you can’t substitute anything for that.

 

Lauren Martino: And it’s an easy closeness, isn’t it?

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: Like my daughter always want to play princess with her and I’m just, “I’m too old for that.” I can’t figure it out. But you have a book in front of you. It’s easy. You just – you follow the book and you follow the prompts and it makes easier to relate to someone younger than you, I think.

 

Alessandro Russo: So one of MCPL’s strategic goals is literate Montgomery. And one of the objectives of this goal is early literacy. How does reading out loud to your children contribute to early literacy?

 

Jane Dorfman: I think the vocabulary that Lauren mentioned, the increased vocabulary, the thousands of extra words they’re going to hear, I think they’re going to know what a book is and the awareness of the print and the letters besides the pleasure in reading. I think they’re going to get the idea that reading is a fun activity, something that they want to do rather than something, “Oh you have to read five books. Your teacher says so.” I think they’re going to really enjoy it more.

 

Lauren Martino: When you talk about early literacy, a lot of people get the idea that it’s, you know, teaching kids how to read at a really young age. Well, I think we – you know, you hear stories about kids that learn to read at two and the, I mean, the fact of the matter is not all kids need to learn to read at two. And my husband learned to read at two and it’s great for him. But unless you’re really – you have a proclivity for that, you know, it’s okay, kids are going to be fine.

 

But early literacy talks a lot about what’s – what they need to know to read before they actually read, so things like Jane mentioned, what a book is, the fact that you read at left to right, you read starting at the top and going down, what a book looks like right side up and upside down. It’s all part of early literacy.

 

Alessandro Russo: It’s kind of like just building the foundations of literacy?

 

Lauren Martino: Exactly. Also things like phonemic awareness, how you can break words apart into different sounds. You get a lot of books that rhyme, and rhyming is a very important factor that you’re getting language that, again, you don’t normally hear that highlights different parts of the word. That’s going to help kids read later on.

 

David Watts: So tell us how we can make reading aloud to children fun and engaging? Could you give us some tips so that we could understand it better?

 

Lauren Martino: One of the first things, I think, any librarian learns about story time, and I think it applies to parents reading to their kids as well, is picking books you enjoy because your enthusiasm is contagious. If you enjoy the book, then your child is going to pick up on that and they’re going to enjoy it more too.

 

Let’s see it’s fun to use different voices for the characters, not only because it’s fun. I mean, who wants to talk like a pirate? I want to talk like a pirate. I don’t know. Give yourself permission to talk like a pirate. But also because it highlights the different characters and actually helps them understand what’s going on.

 

And also if you involve your children, you ask them questions. You make them – give them a way to participate in the book. That helps a lot. It’s also going to help with comprehension and really add to their – what they’re getting out of the book.

 

Jane Dorfman: And I think a lot of picture books have things happening in them and you can ask the child, “Do you think that’s a good idea?” And they’ll answer, “No.”

 

Lauren Martino: Yes.

 

Jane Dorfman: And then asking them to predict what happens next and to draw attention to something in the pictures and often in picture books, you know, some of the information which is hard to do on the radio, but is conveyed in the illustrations and you can show the child and they can point out those little things. And I think –

 

Lauren Martino: The side plots.

 

Jane Dorfman: The side plots.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah.

 

Jane Dorfman: And read in an expressive voice and put some energy into it.

 

Alessandro Russo: So getting them involved seems to be –

 

Jane Dorfman: Mm-hmm, yeah.

 

Alessandro Russo: – a very good.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: And there are books that really lend themselves to this, you got books with flaps, books with – you know, you don’t have to rely solely on this. But if you have a kid that’s really having trouble getting into this whole reading thing, you can start with stuff like that.

 

And also, no. Just – it’s okay to shorten a book if it’s just a little bit too much. It’s okay to cut the book short like. There’s a wonderful non-fiction books that have special – you know, they’ve got the big words that you can give for younger kids and the, you know, sort of smaller words that you can get into as they get older. So, just knos, you don’t have to limit yourself to exactly what the book says.

 

Alessandro Russo: So is there – does a good read out loud book, is there such thing? And if there is, how can we help our listeners find one? Is it kind of like a trial and error kind of –?

 

Jane Dorfman: I think it’s a lot of trial and error and I think it’s also very subjective. I mean, there are going to be some books that we love but every book is not for every child or every parent, and you need to find things that you like. And like Lauren said, your enthusiasm is going to carry over to the child.

 

You certainly need to know how long a book your little one is going to listen to. You don’t need to read 20 minutes. You can read three that is as much time as they want. You can go back and finish the book later or put it aside if it’s just – you know, I certainly had some books in story time where I really can’t put them aside, but I went, “Boy, this isn’t done. I will never read this book again.” You know, so have the parents look at them and read them and really take a cue from their child. Let them take the lead.

 

Lauren Martino: And paying attention to your – on what your child is interested in really helps. I mean there are books that, you know, they can be really way longer than you ever thought your child would pay attention to, but if it’s on the right subject matter, or it’s just something that sparks interest in your child, they’re going to listen to it and totally surprise you.

 

Jane Dorfman: And on how to find it, ask the librarians. So many people will wander the library; they never come up to the desk. That’s what we’re there for and that’s what we’re paid to do. That’s what we’re waiting to do.

 

Lauren Martino: And they feel so guilty when they talk to you.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yes. I hate to interrupt you, but, you know, but yeah, ask because the librarians read a lot and we know these books by and large and –.

 

Lauren Martino: We could answer these questions.

 

Jane Dorfman: – yeah, this is what makes our day.

 

Lauren Martino: And let’s see just another note about – and then again the pictures we mentioned, it’s a – you know, the read – a good read-aloud book is dependent on your child but there are some that just have so much richness in what’s going on in the pictures that you can really just get into those or – I wouldn’t say the only books you should read aloud but they make for really good read-alouds.

 

David Watts: Help us to understand what we as parents or guardians could do to build interest in reading in our children?

 

Jane Dorfman: I think you need to just to read, to read a lot, and be enthusiastic about it. Find things that you love and read those – read everything. You know, this is such a broad range of things. And you may not – I never knew what a backhoe trencher was until my son at about two became really interested in backhoe trenching.

 

Lauren Martino: A bunch of trucks.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, yeah. You know, if that’s their interest, you need to follow it with a little bit of books about everything. And pick up from your daily life. If you see a bug outside, we can find you a book about that bug, you can read about the eggs and larva stages and just these all kinds of stuff to build an interest in reading.

 

Lauren Martino: Yes, that it is really important for your kids to see you reading. It’s kind of hard to expect them to get really into it unless you are setting that example. And I mean we have a summer reading program going on this summer and it goes everywhere from birth to – and there’s an adult component because we really want the adults reading in front of the kids.

 

Let’s see – and then just having books around.

 

Jane Dorfman: I think that’s good too.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah, because, you know, bringing home lots of books from the library is great too, but just having ones that, you know, just sit on your shelf and then the child sees it every day until one day, they’re like, “Oh, let me pick this up and see what it is.”

 

Also sometimes – something that gets neglected a little bit about reading at home is, you know, you don’t have to read books all the time. Cereal boxes are great to read.

 

Jane Dorfman: Comic pages in the newspaper.

 

Lauren Martino: Absolutely. My daughter asks me to read them every Sunday, and some of them, I’m like, “There’s no way you’re going to know – like I can’t read Doonsbury to you, it will go over your head, but okay.” Or even – you know, my daughter loves stop signs when she was a baby.

 

Jane Dorfman: Mm-hmmm.

 

Lauren Martino: We went – and every time we saw a stop sign, we’d say, “Look, it’s a stop sign. S-T-O-P, stop.” And so, you know, she can’t spell many words that much but she can spell stop.

 

Jane Dorfman: Mm-hmm.

 

Alessandro Russo: What are the elements of story times that are held at the library? Is it just reading out loud or there’s more activities involved?

 

Jane Dorfman: Well, there are a lot of finger plays. There are a lot of opportunities to move around because we do things to music. There are fun boards, which are taken from a book but it’s a bigger visual that the whole group can see it once and point to and there’s also that sort of pacing of putting up the final pieces one at a time.

 

And, you know, different librarians do different things but I don’t think you can expect infants and twos and even five to six year old to sit and listen to book after book for half an hour. It’s just not going to happen.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah, a lot of parents would come up and they’re like, “Oh, my child can never do that.” And it’s like they don’t understand. It’s like, “No, we don’t make them sit and be perfectly quiet the entire time because that’s not realistic.”

 

Yeah, we sit – we really like to stress reading, writing, talking, singing and playing in all of our story times. I mean, down to like, you know, how do you write in story time? Well, we do little finger plays that work on small motor movements which are kind of precursors to writing, you know, big motor movements. And I found that my story time for toddlers go a whole lot better when I just reserve several minutes at the end to shake our sillies out and do big jumpy sort of songs and just everyone is happier that way.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

David Watts: You know, I admire you guys for what you’re doing. And dealing with large groups of little children sort of frightens me, so maybe you can help the listeners understand the tricks of the trade? What are the secret recipes that you use that you could pass on to caregivers and teachers and other librarians who have to conduct story time on a regular basis?

 

Lauren Martino: One of the most useful things is to have something up my sleeves to get everyone’s attention when the grownups are talking and the kids are talking. My supervisor, Cindy Gil, taught me that – she likes to countdown the story times like, “We’re going to start story time in five, four, three, two, one.” And then, “We’re all excited to start story time.”

 

I’ve also resorted to it. I’ve got a little bunny puppet and sometimes I’ll be like, “I have a friend. My friend wants to come out and my friend is very shy. I really need everyone to be very quiet so my friend can come out.” And once everybody is quiet, then the little bunny comes out and waves and whispers in my ear all their expectations for story time. And I mean there are songs that you can put out there – you know.

 

I’ve never – every elementary school kid ever will respond to [MAKES NOISE]. They know what to do there.

 

Alessandro Russo: I remember that from elementary school.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah. I did it at school visits like yesterday. It worked like a charm.

 

So just have a way of bringing them back because sometimes you lose them. Also, just that big – like we said, building in the wiggle time like I tend to – you know, my formula is like a book, a song, a book, a song, and, you know, sometimes if you got older kids or kids that are going to be able to sit still a little longer, you can stretch it to two books but, you know, just understand that’s – you know, it’s not always going to work out.

 

And also just remembering the text to picture ratio and just making it appropriate for the kids that you have, it’s a good way of thinking about it. Like babies, you know, it’s like one sentence per page is plenty. You can, you know, work up to a couple of sentences for preschoolers, but I don’t know – depending – you got to know your audience. And I found that, you know, you get ambitious sometimes, you try something a little harder. You got to have an exit route if you do that.

 

Sometimes, just remembering kind of your lowest common denominator or the kid that’s going to have the hardest time sitting still. You can cater to that kid. Sometimes it works out a little better.

 

Jane Dorfman: I do think you have to break up the activities. You have two keep – have them just sit and read, do some finger plays, do a stretch. I also want the parents involved. And I say that, you know, in the beginning, this is the kind of story time that works best if you participate with your child. And then I will look hard at those people who are already on their cellphones, they have just sat down. And then sometimes I find it hard after we’ve done jumped around, move to – done some music. Then we’ll all take a big breath and sit down kind of like a flower. And just that feeling of taking in the air and letting it all out is just a naturally calming feeling.

 

Lauren Martino: That’s nice.

 

Jane Dorfman: But I think that you can’t expect children to act like adults. If they’re twos, they’re going to act like twos and, you know, you just have to expect that. And especially if you have a really large group – you know, sometimes you can’t get through all them and show – you got together, you can’t get through all the books.

 

Lauren Martino: It’s better to have more.

 

Jane Dorfman: It’s better to have more and some – fresh new things.

 

Lauren Martino: So you can adjust to new things.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: And at any time you find a book is not working, sometimes if you can just work a little bit more participation in there, like get the group doing something, that helps a lot like Caps for Sale is a really long book, it’s hard to do for a lot of groups, but if you can work in the part where they all stand up and act like monkeys, then it works a lot better.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

David Watts: What do you do with a precocious child who likes to ask a hundred questions, one after another after another?

 

Lauren Martino: That’s a good question.

 

Jane Dorfman: I’ll answer a couple, and then I would say, you know, we’re going to ask the rest of those questions at the end, we’ll talk about it then.

 

Lauren Martino: Because you don’t want to shut them down.

 

Jane Dorfman: No, you don’t want to shut them down.

 

Lauren Martino: Use your good instinct, and you model for the parents, you do answer the questions.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, yeah. But you can’t – I mean – if you ask the kids a question, you know, that’s always a dangerous thing to do, you know, because you’re asking – you see the dog – I have a dog at home, do you know what he did last week? And it just – we just gets –

 

David Watts: You open the door.

 

Jane Dorfman: The group gets away from it. Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: And you want that one on one, you really want that one on one, but with 50 kids, it’s –

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah –

 

Lauren Martino: It’s a different ball game.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Alessandro Russo: Maybe a good additional story time policy would be no phones for parents –

 

Lauren Martino: We have cellphone song in my library.

 

Alessandro Russo: Nice.

 

Lauren Martino: I put my cellphone up high, I put my cellphone down low, I wave my cellphone around in the air and then I silence it and I put it away.

 

Jane Dorfman: It doesn’t rhyme.

 

Lauren Martino: It’s okay, they laugh, they do it.

 

David Watts: Go back to tot tot titi tot.

 

Lauren Martino: There you go. It’s also helpful to think about the size of your group. If you’ve got five kids in front of you, there’s a lot more books, you can look at books with more intricate pictures that you can get right up on top of rows. If you have a big group, either – if you have big books, so much the better, if you can project your book on a screen, so much the better. Otherwise, you got to think about books that – very clean lines that are easy to see from far away.

 

I really like Jan Thomas’s books for that reason, the really thick lines, and very bright colors, and you can see them from, you know, they’re not that big, but you can see them from a mile away.

 

Jane Dorfman: The library has a lot of big books which are like 3 feet tall, but I think a good test is to put your book up front and go stand where that child is going to see. And you’d be surprised how little you can see. And children’s vision isn’t even 20 – especially with the infants and toddlers, it’s not 20-20 for a long time.

 

So you’re waving this tiny book up there, and they’re just not seeing it.

 

Alessandro Russo: Is there any online resources that listeners can use to find read-out loud books?

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah, our website has lots of lists that are age-appropriate for preschools, and toddlers, we have some electronic sites. I would rather the parents read, but that will read to a child, you know, you can log on to our websites, we have a lot of lists. And there’s a nice service, what do I check out next, and we don’t get a whole lot of questions for kids, but it’s available.

 

You can say, my child likes this, this and this, they’re 5 years old, and somebody will give you a list of suggestions, and there’s Beanstack which is the summer reading software that will send you a weekly book for your child.

 

Lauren Martino: If you want to get really in-depth and you have a particular subject and you need to find a book on that subject, we have something called, Novelist, I think, it’s a K-12 –

 

Jane Dorfman: There is a K to 12.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah. And for your slightly older kids, but you know, you can – we use it a lot when we’ve got the random question – I knew a book about a bunny, and a duck, and I can’t remember the name. But you can get really specific on the kind of topics you want in there too.

 

David Watts: Well, just off the top of your head, who are the famous authors that a parent could look to?

 

Jane Dorfman: They could look to I think Mo Willems.

 

Lauren Martino: Oh, Mo Willems.

 

Jane Dorfman: I like – some on the class – because some of these things like Madeline, children should just know that, you know, and it’s a longer book, that little picture, it looks a little old fashioned, but kids still love it, and the words rhyme.

 

And I really wish they would do some of the basic folk tales. It’s another cultural legacy, especially for parents who – this is not their native land, and this is not their first language. The Little Red Hen, Three Bears, Three Pigs, Billy Goats Gruff, you know, and some of the folk tales for the folk tale collection, this should be kind of in everybody’s –

 

David Watts: My kids love Clifford, anything that had Clifford, they were good to go.

 

Lauren Martino: I like Bill Martin Jr., and I think a lot of people – he’s got a lot of classics, but people tend to associate it as books with the illustrators.

 

Jane Dorfman: Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino: So you know, that’s where you’re going to find, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and a lot of really well-known things.

 

Jane Dorfman: That have really good rhythm, and nice – they have great pictures, but they sound good too.

 

Lauren Martino: I like the one called – an author called Susan Middleton Elya for books that kind of – she incorporates Spanish words in this sort of rhyming ways. So if you have any interest in exposing your children to different languages, like when the line ends with a Spanish word, it’s a lot easier to remember. I was amazed reading like [Spanish Language] [0:20:20] and you know, it’s like my daughter suddenly remembers the Spanish word at the end because it comes to mind.

 

But there are so many of them, it’s kind of hard to limit it to one. I like Carmel Wilcox too, just for the rhyming, Ashley Scott – Bears Snores On, and Hilda Must Be Dancing.

 

Jane Dorfman: That’s a sweet book.

 

Lauren Martino: Yeah. I think I memorized that one at some point.

 

David Watts: So do you have a go to favorite?

 

Lauren Martino: Of an author?

 

David Watts: That’s sitting on your desk that you constantly just grab and go with?

 

Lauren Martino: Oh, gosh, I really like Trashy Town. It’s one of those of very participatory because there’s so much repetition that at some point, the kids just catch on to the – damp it in, smash it down, drive around the trashy town. Is the trash truck full yet? And you look at them, and they all go, “No!” And Mr. Giley drives on.

 

Alessandro Russo: I remember my go-to book was, Where the Wild Things Were.

 

Jane Dorfman: Still well-loved.

 

Alessandro Russo: Yes.

 

Lauren Martino: Actually, I asked my daughter this morning, what her favorite book was, and she’s like, yeah, Where the Wild Things Are – and – but to – it’s Cinderella, okay.

 

And I think they did a survey a while back of like, all the children’s librarians, and picked the top 100 children’s picture books, and Where the Wild Things Are, was number one.

 

Alessandro Russo: Nice.

 

Lauren Martino: It’s a masterpiece. And I don’t know, it’s a little less well-known, but there’s a Japanese Illustrator called Komako Sakai, I really like. Her books were really, really quiet, but they’re just – you can just tell that she’s watched kids. And there’s just little details in there that you know, you would only know if you’ve sat and watched kids and just very into their lives, like she’s got a whole book about this little girl that gets a balloon.

 

David Watts: Say her name one more time?

 

Lauren Martino: Komako Sakai.

 

David Watts: Okay.

 

Lauren Martino: Every kid has that experience and every kid can relate to it, especially, you know, under 2, around 2 years old, that’s an important thing to remember as you know, you introduce books that they – measure their experience because they get really into that, they know it, and they can relate to it.

 

Alessandro Russo: Thank you Jane, and Lauren, for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm about reading aloud to children.

 

Listeners, remember this is Part 1 of 2. To continue to listen in on this discussion about reading out loud to children, make sure you tune in to Part 2. We will have two story time sample readings, as well as questions relating to reading and children, answered by our guests.

 

Keep the conversation going, by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast from iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast.

 

Also, please review and rate us on iTunes, we love to know what you think. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.

 

Jun 23, 2017

Recording Date: June 13, 2017

Episode Summary: Our guests this episode are Jane Dorfman and Lauren Martino. Both are children's librarians in MCPL branches who have conducted many storytimes for children of different ages. In part 1 of this episode, they discuss the benefits of reading aloud to children, how to choose the best books, and how to keep a child engaged with the book or story.  

NOTE: We had such a lively, interactive discussion that our recording was over 45 minutes. We've split the discussion up into 2 parts to make it easier for our listeners to absorb. This recording is part 1 of 2.

Guests: Jane Dorfman, Children's Librarian, and Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian

MCPL resources and services mentioned during this episode:

Booklists by Grade & Age

MCPL 2017 Reading Challenge: Expand your reading horizons. Over the course of 2017, read one book from each of 12 categories.

NoveList K-8 Plus: This kid-friendly database has recommended reading lists, read alikes, award winners, and other tools for find children's fiction and non-fiction books.    

Storytimes at MCPL: MCPL offers storytime programs for children of different ages, as well as special themed and bilingual storytimes.

Summer Read and Learn: This program offers exciting activities for children, teens, and adults to encourage reading and learning all summer long.

What Do I Check Out Next?: Tell us what you like to read and we'll e-mail you a personalized list of 3 to 5 books that our readers' advisory experts have chosen for just you. 

TumbleBooks (described in the episode as books that read to a child): An online collection of animated, talking picture books. Includes story books, chapter books, nonfiction, videos, and more. Also includes e-books in French and Spanish.

Authors mentioned during this episode: 

Susan Middleton Elya. This picture book author is known for her rhyming stories written in a mix of English and Spanish. 

Komako Sakai. Author mentioned by Lauren Martino as a writer of more quiet books for children. 

Jan Thomas. Picture books with big, clean, lines.

Mo Willems. Author of beloved picture book series including Elephant & Piggie, Knuffle Bunny, and The Pigeon. 

Karma Wilson. Picture book author known Bear Snores On, Hilda Must Be Dancing, and many other fine children's books. 

Books, and other media mentioned during this episode:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr. Readers see a variety of animals, each one a different color. 

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. Mischievous monkeys steal all of a peddler's caps. 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. What happens when the whole alphabet tries to climb a coconut tree? 

Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell. Tales of Clifford, the giant red dog, and his owner, Emily Elizabeth. 

Little Red Hen. No animals want to help the hen bake, but they all want some of the fruits of her labor. 

The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Classic tale about goats that trick a troll living under a bridge.

The Three Little Pigs. The classic tale of 3 little pigs and the wolf who tries to make each pig his next meal. 

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha. Mr. Gillie, the trash man, rides through town, picking up the trash. Our guest Lauren Martino noted this book as one of her go to favorites for storytime reading. 

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. A naughty boy sent to bed without supper sails off to an island inhabited by fantastic beasts and becomes their king. 

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