Let’s Prevent Summer Reading Loss!

  Summer reading loss refers to the decline in children’s reading skills that can occur during summer vacation when children are away from the classroom. Not just a perception in the minds of educators, the reality of summer reading loss is well documented. Research involving 116 1st-3rd-graders from a school in a middle-class neighborhood found that the decoding skills of nearly 45% of the participants and the fluency skills of 25% declined between May and September. Lower-achieving students exhibited an even sharper decline than higher-achieving students.

Why does summer reading loss occur?

Access to reading materials has been consistently identified as a vital element in enhancing the reading development of children. Of all the activities in which children engage outside of school, time spent actually reading is the best predictor of reading achievement – the more students read, the better readers they become. The research indicates also that students, on average, spend pitifully little time reading outside of school – about 10 minutes.

What can be done to curb summer reading loss?

The value placed on literacy in the home, time spent reading with children, and the availability and use of reading materials have been identified as important elements in children’s reading success. Supporting reading development over the summer months can be done in ways that tap into children’s own interests and imaginations.

Adapted from Mraz, Maryann, and Timothy V. Rasinski. “Summer Reading Loss.” ReadingRockets.org. http://www.readingrockets.org/article/summer-reading-loss

This would be a wonderful time to coordinate with the local public library on its summer reading program!

Literacy tips for early readers

  • Sing songs, say short poems or nursery rhymes, and play rhyming words games with your child.
  • Point out print in the child’s environment: on cereal boxes, food labels, toys, restaurants, and traffic signs.
  • Tell stories to your child.
  • Read aloud to your child. Point to the words on the page as you read.
  • Read a short passage several times to your child until your child can read it with you. Then encourage your child to read the passage to you.
  • Encourage older children to read with younger children.
  • Encourage your child to read (or pretend read) to you. Make this reading enjoyable. Don’t worry if your child does not read all of the words correctly but, rather, applaud your child’s efforts to read.
  • Go to the library together.
  • Have books, magazines, and newspapers around the house. Let your child see you reading.
  • Encourage your child to write messages such as grocery lists, to-do lists, postcards, or short messages to family members or friends. Don’t worry about conventional spelling at this point but, rather, encourage your child’s first efforts at authorship.
  • When watching television, have the captioning feature enabled so that the children view the words while hearing them performed aloud.

Literacy tips for more advanced readers

  • Talk to your child about what he or she is reading. Ask open-ended questions such as “What do you think about that story?” “What would you have done if you were that character?”
  • Make reading and writing a regular part of your daily home activities. Let your child see you using reading and writing for real purposes.
  • Visit the public library. Help your child to get his or her own library card.
  • Read to your child regularly, even after your child is able to read some books independently.
  • Listen to your child read. Use strategies to help your child with tricky words. For example, when your child comes to an unfamiliar word, you might say, “Skip it and read to the end of the sentence. Now try again – what makes sense and looks like the word that you see?”
  • Praise your child’s efforts at reading.
  • Play word games such as thinking of different words to describe the same things.
  • Support your child’s writing. Have writing materials such as paper, markers, and pencils available. Read what your child writes.
  • Set reasonable limits for television viewing.

Adapted from Mraz, Padak, & Baycich (2002).

Shared Reading Books Offer Fun Together Time!

Youth Services Blog


Kids love being read to, so when they’re ready to begin reading on their own, it’s fun to read together.

Mary Ann Hoberman has picture books called You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You. Her books use traditional reading teaching techniques (imagery, rhyme, short sentences, and repetition) to encourage young children to read along with an adult while improving their reading skills. Hoberman’s books are clear, color-coded and include short stories, short Mother Goose tales, and short Fables.

National Geographic Kids also has a collection of non-fiction Easy Reader books that follow the same shared reading format. They are called You Read, I Read and include Farm Animals by Joanne Mattern, and Plants by Kathryn Williams. These books offer bright, gorgeous photos that delight readers each time the page is turned and bold text.  Come on in to the library and see what else we have to offer for your beginning reader!

Word Pedometer

Youth Services Blog

Starling Word Pedometer helps parents embrace their role as their child’s first teacher by keeping track of the number of words they say to their child throughout the day.  Similar to how a FitBit keeps track of the number of steps that a person takes throughout the day.Why is this important?  Babies learn language by hearing it. The more they hear, the faster their brains get.

It’s All About Sharks!

Youth Services Blog

This year’s Livingston Reads book pick is the 1974 classic thriller Jaws. We have created some fun and educational programs for families to enjoy!

Shark Jewelry! – Ages 9 & Up Mother-Daughter / Father-Son /Family Craft

Wednesday, April 12, 6:30 to 8:00pm, Pre-registration is required, Space is limited.

Tonight as part of our 2017 Livingston Reads program series, we’ll be creating shark teeth jewelry, perfect for both men and women, boys and girls, ages 9 and older. Limit of 20 participants. Register online beginning Wednesday, March 29 or by calling 810-229-6571 x227.

Sharks, the Ocean & You – Thursday, April 13th, 6:30-8:00, Free, all ages, Pre-registration required.

Kim Parker from Aquatic Adventures will share her experiences with these incredible creatures of the deep. Despite their terrifying reputation, sharks play an important part in their ocean environment. Come learn about the ocean, sharks and how scuba diving can give you a chance to share their world. Register online beginning Thursday, March 30th or by calling 810-229-6571 x227.

Aquariums 101 – Wednesday, April 19, 6:30-8:00pm, Free, All Ages, Pre-registration is required.

The library fish tank is so popular that perhaps you’ve thought about fish as pets. Come explore the world of keeping fish as Barby Newton of Fish Doctors will explain everything you need to know. Explore different kinds of fish (even little sharks for your tank), freshwater vs saltwater, how to start and maintain an aquarium and even find out if fish can walk! Register online beginning Wednesday, April 5th or by calling 810-229-6571 x227.

DINO-SHARKS! Presented by The University of Michigan Natural History Museum – Family Program

Saturday, April 29th, 1:00-3:00, Space is limited. Tickets available at 12:30pm.

Explore the world of prehistoric sharks, find out why sharks are called the ‘garbage can of the sea’,  touch jaws from different sharks, huge fossilized teeth and take a smaller shark tooth home with you! You may even see and touch a dissection of a shark specimen! Children 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Register online beginning Saturday, April 15th or by calling 810-229-6571 x227.


Creative Play!

Youth Services Blog


Fostering Creativity     

Adapted from ‘The Connection’ – a newsletter resource from Child Connect for Family Success at http://www.childconnectmi.org/

Many people assume that creativity is an inborn talent but is actually more a skill that can be nurtured. It is a key to success in nearly everything we do and is not limited to art and music—it is essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence.

Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes them more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as take advantage of new opportunities.

Researchers believe we have changed the experience of childhood in a way that impairs creative development. Children no longer need to imagine a stick is a sword in a game or story they’ve imagined: they can play Star Wars with a specific light-saber in costumes designed for the specific role they are playing.

Here are some ideas for fostering creativity in your children:

1. Provide the resources they need for creative expression. The key resource here is time. Children need a lot of time for unstructured, child-directed, imaginative play –unencumbered by adult direction, and that doesn’t depend on a lot of commercial stuff.








2. Space is also a resource your children need. Give them a specific place where they can make a mess – like room in your attic for dress-up, a place in the garage for painting, or a corner in your family room for Legos. Next time someone asks for a gift suggestion for your children, ask for things like art supplies, cheap cameras, costume components, building materials. Put these in easy-to-deal-with bins that your children can manage.

3. Foster a creative atmosphere. Ask for a lot of different ideas, but resist the urge to evaluate the ideas your children come up with. Brainstorm activities for the upcoming weekend, encouraging them to come up with things they’ve never done before. Don’t point out which ideas aren’t possible or decide which ideas are best. The focus of creative activities should be on process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.







4. Encourage children to make mistakes and fail. Yes, fail – children who are afraid of failure and judgment will curb their own creative thought. Share the mistakes you’ve made recently, so they get the idea that is okay to flub up. Laughing at yourself when you make a mistake is a happiness habit.

Preschool Open House Offers Options for Parents

Youth Services Blog

The Brighton Library will be hosting a drop-in Preschool Open House Saturday, January 21 from 10am – 1pm for parents who are interested in preschool for their young child.

Stop in and meet with local representatives and learn about preschool programs available in Livingston County. Businesses, local organizations, and agencies related to young children will also be displaying information.

Preschools Attending: LESA Early Childhood Programs, Magdalen’s Preschool, Pleasant Valley Day Care and Preschool, Brighton Montessori, Maple Tree Montessori, First Steps Preschool, Shepherd of the Lakes, Rosebrook Child Development Center, First Baptist Child Care Center

Businesses & Community Service Organizations attending: Children’s Center for Growth and Development – OT, Rollerama/Zap Zone, Brighton Community Education, Great Start Livingston, and SELCRA.



Youth Services Blog

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young children, and properly restrained children have a more than 50 percent GREATER chance of surviving a crash.  When driving with children, ALWAYS use the appropriate car seat or seat belt.  Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement, April 2011

On January 26th from 6:30-7:30 pm a car seat expert from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital will answer your questions and give you information about how to keep your child safe while you are driving.  Please register for this program by visiting the Brighton District Library website, and clicking on this event on the calendar.

Light refreshments will be served.  




Spooky Halloween Night

Youth Services Blog

It was a fun time at the fire station last Monday night! Each year on the 31st, the Brighton Fire Department opens their doors for an amazing safe alternative to trick or treating.

The party included pizza, donuts, lemonade, apple cider, games, prizes, face painting, balloon art, a beautiful scene for photos ops and of course, lots of candy!

There were also costume contests throughout the night for the Scariest, Funniest, Prettiest, Most Original, and Best Over-all.

And…Story Time by the Brighton District Library!!! Mary and I had so much fun singing and dancing with the little monsters, fairies, firemen, ghostbusters, policeman…list goes on and on…..

We read and acted out stories and rhymes, sang and danced to songs, and flew spiders through the air with a parachute! We crafted our own spider web with a big orange spider and handed out tootsie roll pop spiders to make at home.

Please consider this outstanding alternative for Halloween night fun next year and come celebrate with us!!!






Best Halloween Books

Youth Services Blog

Halloween is just around the corner and soon your little ones will want to read about pumpkins, ghosts and costume parties.    Here is a list of some of my favorite Halloween books to read aloud to kids.

Cover image for Biscuit's pet & play HalloweenCover image for Room on the broom     Cover image for There was an old lady who swallowed a bat         Cover image for The ugly pumpkin

Cover image for How do you know it's Halloween?


Cover image for The 13 nights of Halloween    Cover image for Big pumpkin  Cover image for Five pesky pumpkins :


Hope you enjoy reading these wonderful books with your children this fall season!