Summer of Learning: Get Ready to Read!

Did you know that you can help your child get ready to read? One of the most important things you can do to make sure your child is a successful reader is to read with them every day for at least twenty minutes. Reading to your child is so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics recently created a new policy for pediatricians to recommend reading aloud to infants from the time they are born. Reading to your child every day will help develop their early literacy skills.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

What are early literacy skills? These are the skills your child needs in order to read successfully. Experts have identified five activities that will support the development of your child’s early literacy skills. The five best ways to help your child get ready to read are:

READING: Shared reading is the single most important activity you can do to help your child get ready to read. Share a wide variety of books with your child such as nursery rhyme books, books with animal sounds, books you can sing, and books with rhyming and alliteration.

PLAYING: Children learn how to express themselves, the meaning of words, and other early literacy skills by playing.

SINGING: Singing slows down language so children can hear the smaller sounds in words. Sing the Alphabet song, songs with letters such as BINGO, and sing songs that highlight shapes and colors.

WRITING: Reading and writing go together. Writing activities help children learn letter names and sound out new names.

TALKING: Conversations help a child express thoughts, learn what words mean, and gain new information about the world.

Kitsap Regional library has an abundance of resources available to help you learn more and develop your child’s early literacy skills:

Visit  our Birth to 6 section of our website!

Check out books about developing early literacy skills!

 Attend one of the many storytimes we offer here at the library. Our Youth Services Librarians present fun storytimes that model many different activities that include Reading, Writing, Singing, Playing, and Talking!

Check Out an Early Literacy Kit!

Photo: Kitsap Regional Library

 Our early literacy kits consist of ten picture books, a parent resource book, and a toy. Each kit has a different theme such as shapes, colors, letters, and numbers. There are also kits that contain a selection of books from our book list, “100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten.”

Developing your child’s early literacy skills is a fun and amazing experience! If you have any questions about early literacy, stop by the library and talk to one of our knowledgeable Youth Services Librarians.

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #8: Yarn Art

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at the Kitsap Regional   Library.

This blog post is by the Bainbridge Island Library intern, Morgan!

The word yarn, to many, suggests warm, cozy sweaters or fuzzy mittens, and during a summer with highs of 80 degrees crafting with it might sound a little undesirable. Lucky for you the yarn-projects we are sharing have nothing to do with that overheated yarn- stereotype!
yarn                                  Yarn Bridport by Lex McKee on flickr

Yarn has been in existence for roughly 20,000 years, and that means there has been a lot of time for people to create traditional or out-of-the-box uses for it! Here, we have collected the best mix of yarn art projects for your summer.

Transform a glass bottle into a yarn vase! Fill your vase with flowers or possibly your own yarn sticks!

yarnbottle           a perfectly pretty gift to make by Jessica Wilson on flickr

Using wood, nails, and yarn you can create a piece of string art to display in your home (you can even make Washington State)!

yarn butterfly                                   Butterfly  – Detail by Manu on flickr 

Use any design you like and be careful with your hammer!

Here are some additional ideas that you might try:

Draw a simple picture and outline it with yarn!

Start with a simple drawing and “paint” over it with yarn!

Make a yarn-block print! Try as many different styles of wrapping your yarn-block as you can. After stamping, hang your art on the wall or use it as a print in your next art project.

You can also explore a more traditional usage of yarn: knitting! First, learn how to cast on. After you can start knitting! It is fun to start with simple projects like scarves or headbands.

yarnheadband                                  100_9162 by verylisa on flickr

Once you know how to knit you can get involved with our “Yarn Bomb the Library” event:

What is Yarn Bombing? Search ‘yarn bombing’ on Pinterest or Google images for ideas and inspiration. Kids, teens and grown-ups: artists and creative types of all ages are invited to come turn the library into a gallery of yarn art. Knit, crochet, wrapping, pom-poms, macramé, etc.- any style of yarn art is welcome. Knitters and crocheters will be on hand to help teach or refresh skills. Monday we look at the phenomenon of ‘yarn or knit bombing’ and develop our design concepts. The rest of the week is dedicated to working on our projects. Children under 8 must attend with a parent. Friday evening the library will be open for a show of the work from ‘Yarn Bomb the Library’ as part of Bainbridge’s First Friday Art Walk.

yarnbomb                  Yarn Bomb – bike IYBD by Twilight Taggers on flickr

Check out “Extra Yarn” by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen for more examples of yarn bombing.

extra yarn

For more yarn crafts check out the book “Kids Knit!” By Sarah Bradberry or “Kids Learn to Knit” by Lucinda Guy or  any of the other yarn books at the library!

kids knitkidslearntoknit

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.

The Library VS Kindle Unlimited?

Last week Amazon released a new service for getting ebooks for Kindles called Kindle Unlimited and the web immediately exploded with expectations.  What is it, how does it work?  What does it mean for readers, writers, publishers, libraries, and bookstores?  Tim Worstall, an opinion writer for Forbes suggested mischievously that it might be a good idea to shut “down the lending libraries and buy every citizen an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription.”  But we here in library land know that there’s room for both of us in the world of ebooks.

With a subscription of $9.99/month Kindle Unlimited provides access  to  ebooks and audiobooks. All ebooks and all audiobooks available to all subscribers at all times (aka no waiting list.)

Sounds pretty good.  But, there are some limitations to the service.  There are many titles that won’t be available through Kindle Unlimited because the major book publishers like Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Hatchette are not part of the system.

overdriveHere at Kitsap Regional Library, we provide ebooks and audio books through two different vendors Overdrive and OneClickDigital.  Between the two you have access to a library of best-sellers, popular titles, and strong backlist titles  for free.  While with Kindle Unlimited you must use the Kindle format, our ebooks are available for a variety of tablets and devices.

There really isn’t any fight between Kindle Unlimited and the Library, both serve an important function in bringing different titles to you, the reader.  Together we all hope to enhance your reading experience, connecting you to education and entertainment in a way that is most convenient for you.


Ready Campers?

Research shows that without access to quality educational experiences during out of school months, kids and teens score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they would have at the beginning. Most students lose at least two months of math skills, and low-income students lose two months of reading skills. This is what has become dishearteningly become known as the “Summer Slide.”

The good news is that learning can happen anywhere, at any time, and you are already positioned as your child’s favorite teacher! Through the Activity Tracker and weekly Design Challenges, your Youth Librarians have created great starting points to inspire your child’s unique learning adventure. Did you make an amazing knight’s costume from as little as a brown paper bag? Experiment with catapults or medieval dueling techniques! Did you discover your inner fashionista with duct tape creations or rubber band bracelet creations? Learn how to sew or alter clothing and have an end of the summer fashion show! The possibilities truly are endless and we’re here to help with great books, online resources, and heaps of enthusiasm along the way.

CC Image Courtesy of Vancouver FIlm School via Flickr
CC Image Courtesy of Vancouver FIlm School via Flickr

One of my favorite activity tracker options is Google Maker Camp, a virtual summer camp designed to inspire a broad range of makers to “get their hands dirty, fix some things, break some things, and have a lot of fun doing it.” Campers of all ages (those under 13 will need to register with a parent) are invited to tinker around on a new DIY project each day, meet experts (including Buzz Aldrin!), and go on field trips through the comfort of their own computer. Check out camp FAQs for specifics.

This week’s field trips include a trip to the birthplace of LEGOS (Billund, Denmark) for a tour through the LEGO Idea House, as well as a behind the scenes look at Disneyland’s pyrotechnic displays. Campers will also learn about the evolution of Minecraft with Jens Bergenstern from Mojang as well as get instructions on building labryinths, mini foosball games, toothbrush timers, and a LEGO maze!

Daily instructions and videos are available throughout the summer, so investigate a project that speaks to you and have fun!

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #7: Cardboard Box

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at Kitsap Regional Library.


Berry flat boxes on Greta's table. Photo by Greta.
Berry flat boxes on Greta’s table. Photo by Greta.

These boxes held yummy summer blueberries last week and I’ve been pondering what else I could use them for this week. I remembered one of my favorite picture books, Antoinette Portis’ Not a Box!


The bunny in this book creates all kind of cool things with a box:  a rocket ship, a pirate ship crow’s nest, and more.  I bet you have a cardboard box lying around on the recycling pile or in a closet somewhere – it could be as simple as a shoebox lid or as big as a washing machine box! What will you make out of your box? The possibilities are endless!


A cardboard box of any size

(You can use any other materials available to you as well – glue or tape might come in handy! – but the base of your creation should be just the box. )


1) Take some time to look over the box you have and think about what you could create.

2) Create it!

3) Share it! Show off a little bit and tell your sister, brother, friend,  grandpa, or aunt about what you made.  You could also bring your not-a-box to the library and share it with us, we’d love to see what you made!

You can also share your creation with us by taking a picture! Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager Jean Charters at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please).

Seniors: The Library’s Got Your Number

What do yoga, investing overseas, eBay tips and environmental protection have in common? They’re all here for you at the library. Today’s library is as diverse as today’s seniors. Sure, we have medical test descriptions, exercise dvd’s to help you feel younger, and books on coping with grief for people over 55. But you’ll also find tips on mountain climbing, swing dancing, chutney recipes and knitting patterns, because you never know who you’ll be and what you’ll need, at any age.

The library works hard to bring you convenience and offer many ways to find what you want to learn, making your life both richer and easier. Try out our 24/7 Digital Branch at, explore genealogy or get a book idea from NoveList. Attend a program on estate planning or your next travel destination. Pick up films or download audiobooks and music for your next trip to the gym.

We have things you never thought you’d need (like how to raise your grandchildren) and things you always knew you’d want someday (like skydiving vacations and traveling in India). Serious or silly, coping with tragedy or new love, we are here for you.

Summer of Learning – Alternatives to Traditional Reading

By now hopefully everyone is signed up for Summer of Learning and well on their way to completing their 10 hours of reading. For those who haven’t quite reached their 10 hours, or are looking for more options on their way to the 100 hour mark, KRL has plenty of alternatives to traditional reading:

Graphic Novels
You can call them comics, graphic novels, or illustrated books, just don’t call them less than normal books. A study recently showed that a graphical representation can help users retain knowledge at a higher rate(1). From Manga to Garfield, and Superheroes to Pokemon, we have all of the bases covered for graphic novels.

Audio Books
KRL has thousands of Audio books on CD, you can search for them specifically in the catalog by limiting your search to Audio-Book

Audio Books
eBooks and eAudio Books
In addition to physical audio books, KRL also offers digital eAudio books, which can be downloaded to a computer or digital device. Simply go to the downloadables section of the KRL website. And don’t forget about our eBooks as well, nothing beats the satisfaction of finishing a book, and downloading another without getting up from your seat.

(1) Graphic Presentation: An Empirical Examination of the Graphic Novel Approach to Communicate Business ConceptsBusiness Communication QuarterlySeptember 2013 76: 273-303


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