Spring Break @ Chapters

Sometimes I think Chapters acts more like a library than some libraries. This is a great things for bookstores to do. Offering fun activities and getting kids to like book stores is always good in my book.

Free Spring Break Activities In-Store - Join us at participating Indigo and Chapters stores for free activities, Monday to Friday at 11 am*


Have fun with vocab!

I’m a word nerd, and my boyfriend takes this to a whole new level, so part of my gift to him today was the board game Syl-la-bles by Cadaco. This isn’t really what I expected, but  it’s still an awesome game for a variety of audiences.

How It Works

The board is basically the alphabet with a few “spelling bee” and “thesaurus” squares. When you land on a letter you need to make a word that starts with that letter. You get points based on the letters you use and how many syllables are in the word. If you make a spelling mistake you get 0 points for that turn, which sometimes discourages you from going for the big ones. If you land on spelling bee you need to spell a specific word instead of choosing your own and if you land on thesaurus you need to come up with a synonym for the word provided.

How this applies to the classroom or library

Ages 8-12:

  • This is a way to make using vocabulary words from class more fun
  • Learn what a syllable is
  • practice spelling
  • learn what a synonym is and practice finding them
  • reinforces knowledge of the alphabet
  • practice addition, adding up your points
  • the game is so flexible that you can start off playing with words like “cat” and “boot” so everyone can be included, even if they don’t have a fabulous vocabulary yet.
  • it’s open-ended, so kids aren’t put on the spot to know a specific answer like in many games, and they can be proud of what they do know

Ages 12-18

  • Use more challenging vocabulary words
  • there is a more difficult option on each spelling bee and thesaurus question, so teens can challenge themself with the harder question or choose to stay at the easier level
  • this could work with learning a second language. Challenge them to write a French word beginning with the letter they land on. Then get them to translate the word they get for spelling bee or thesaurus (I’m making this up, there are no French instructions or options in the game)
  • If you’re doing a unit on science, get them to just use scientific words, same could work for geography or any subject

The beauty of this game is it can be as challenging as you want it to be. I was trying for 5+ syllable words, and often ended up misspelling them. Challenge yourself or your kids to push to the boundaries of your/their vocabulary.

Games Are Episodic Reading

princess peach reading

my sketch


Games are episodic reading, they give kids a different kind of literacy than books. Being able to interact with technology helps kids with school and will someday help them find work. Inspired by the reading Yoshi picture my friend Elise drew me a few months ago (that’s been on the blog for a while) I sketched some Mario and Peach ones. I am by no means an artist but I thought I’d share and say that I think we could have a gaming in libraries campaign with this concept (maybe with support of Nintendo?)mario reading 

Do games have the same public performance rights issues as movies where a library needs to pay to have people play games? I don’t think so, but I am interested in comments as I will need to look into this soon.

My first official Story Time

I had my first scheduled story time today (other than a class visit) and I have mixed feelings about how it went.

The plan I followed was:

  • Introduce the topic: Facing Fears and Moving
  • Read Scaredy Squirrel (I had my own “emergency kit” and pulled out rubber gloves, soap, ect. as it was mentioned in the book)
  • Give the option of filling out the scaredy squirrel emergency kit handout where they come up with what they would want in your kit OR a colouring page of a penguin to go with the next story (90% of kids took the penguin picture)
  • Read Augustine explaining that I just moved so I feel like Augustine, and showing on the globe where he starts off and where he moves. When they have a suitcase I show off mine and when there is a ball in the story, I bring out my ball
  • Hand out Scaredy squirrel stickers
  • Read Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend using a mirror, toothbrush, comb, ect. in the story when he does.
  • Explain some contests we have going on and say goodbye

The good: The 4-5 year olds seemed to enjoy it, and the parents laughed at my props.

The bad: the 2-3 year olds were not interested and did not want to sit down/ stole my ball (which was kinda funny)

So I need to work on including the very young kids more. Next week my theme is the big bad wolf’s version of fairy tales and I have a wolf puppet and 2 songs, I hope that will do the trick.

I think they need a puppet/singing class in library school, it seems to be a huge focus in the storytimes and it’s not something that 6 years of school has prepped me for.

Dogs in the library?

A cartoon of a dog readingUntil fairly recently I would have been surprised to see dogs (other than those helping the visually impaired) in the library. Lately I have been hearing a lot about a program where reluctant readers practice by reading out loud to dogs. It’s interested because it gives the child someone to interact with who will not judge them for their difficulties in reading and pronunciation. It’s apparently great as a confidence boost.

My worry is that without someone there to help them with difficult words they may skip over them or not realize their mistakes and will therefore take less out of it than they would reading to an adult or one of their peers.

In any case it is a program to watch, you can look it up at Librarydogs.com. It is already found at London Public Library, Garden City Library, Tom Green County Library, Keshen Goodman Library and many more libraries.

Spend March Break at Your Library

Many Public Libraries have great programs for kids during March Break. I am posting some of the examples from the two cities I live in.

London Public Library

Dewey Decimal Challenge March 13 – 20
Play once a day during library hours. Are you up to the challenge? Drop by and pick up a Dewey
Decimal clue.  Find the matching book and you’ll win a small prize and your name will be entered in a draw to win our
giant “Dewey Bear”.

Dance Dance Revolution,   10 – 12 noon, Saturday, March 13
Do you love to dance? Step onto the dance pad and have a great time dancing your feet off.

Reading Rocks: The World of Science (Family)
1:30 – 3 pm, Saturday, March 13
Fun, interactive and hands-on activities for school-aged children and their families to celebrate and encourage
reading together.  There will be games, crafts, books, food and prizes, so drop in for this special event. Sponsored by
EDPRO Energy Group Inc. Call 519-521-5921 for more information.

Snake Lady (5+ years)10 – 11 am, Wednesday, March 17
Snakes, spiders, turtles and much more: meet Val the “Snake Lady” and learn all about her fascinating collection of creatures.  Pick up free tickets at the library starting on March 3. Due to demand we can’t set tickets aside.

Karen the Storyteller (4 – 6 years with caregiver)2:30 – 3 pm, Wednesday, March 17
Come and see Karen and her puppets perform a
magical storytelling show! Pick up free tickets starting
on March 3. Due to demand we can’t set tickets aside.

Drawing from Life (8 – 12 years) 10 – 11 am, Thursday, March 18
Learn to draw objects from life by using simple
geometric shapes, lines, shading, and hand-eye
coordination.  A fun and relaxed atmosphere for
children who would like to take their artwork to the
next level.  Use your library card to register in person,
by phone or online starting on March 4.
Plaster Dinosaur (8 – 12 years)9:30 – 10:30 am, Friday, March 19
Make your very own plaster dinosaur fossil.  You will also learn about and touch real dinosaur fossils.  A
craft session 65 million years in the making!  Use your library card to register in person, by phone or online
starting on March 5.

Dirt on Garbage (6 – 12 years)
2:30 – 3:30 pm, Friday, March 19
Take the first steps to saving the planet by exploring
the science of garbage, and find out what we can
each do to make a difference. Use your library card to
register in person, by phone or online starting
March 5.

Sault Ste. Marie Public Library

 A Series of Puppet Plays – Main Library March 15,1:30
Join us for an afternoon of fun as the library presents “Rhinos for Lunch and Elephants for Supper,” “The Case of the Disappearing Books” and more!

Everything Green-Korah Branch March 16, 2:00-3:30
Join us for a special St. Patrick’s Day program. Young leprechauns will listen to stories, create crafts, play games and enjoy delicious snacks!

Mr. MacDonald’s Mad Science – Main Library March 17, 2:00-3:30
Join Mr. MacDonald in his lab as he prepares some of the craziest experiments you’ve ever seen! Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, because children will have the opportunity to join in and do some of the experiments themselves!

Beach Party March 18th, 10:30am-12
Can’t wait for summer? Why not start it early with a beach party at your library! Young beach goers will have an opportunity to listen to stories, create crafts and play fun beach games. Don’t miss out!

Winter Reading Club Carnival March 19th 2:00-4:00
Visit the library as it puts on a kids carnival. There will games to be played, prizes to be won and fun to be had! This program is for Winter Reading Club Members, so join up today! We will also be accepting membership at the door.

What’s at your library?

Please comment and let me know what your library offers for March Break or what you wish it did.

OLA Conference!

a photo of me and my buddies Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper!

I nearly lost my hand in the excitement of meeting these characters 😛


This Thursday and Friday I attended the Ontario Library Association Super Conference in Toronto. It was great!  

I got autographed copies of   

  • All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine by Monica Kulling
  • The Adventures of Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy by D.J. Steinberg
  • A sample of Allison Dare: the Heart of the Maiden by J. Torres and J. Bone
  • Violet signed by both the author Tania Duprey Stehlik and illustrator Vanja Vuleta Jovanovic.
  • Mrs. Kaputnik’s Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium by Rona Arato
  • The King’s Taster by Kenneth Oppel

I also got some samples of audio books from Scholastic.  

I attended some fantastic sessions, learning about how Ottawa Public Library developed their kids website, and how Legoes, poetry slams, themed toy/book bins and reading to dogs can make children’s areas more successful.  

At the Youth Services expo I won The Adventure written by Susan Yost-Filgate and illustrated by Leonard Filgate.  

Two librarians from Oshawa hosted an entertaining session called the Tween Scene. They highlighted some fun programs for tweens that I would love to be involved in:  

  • Amazing Race
  • Anti-Valentines Day
  • Iron Chef
  • Mythbusters
  • Manga Mania
  • Harry Potter Potions
  • Evidence Hunter
  • Relic Hunter
  • Chocolate themed events
  • Urban Legends
  • The Price is Right
  • CSI

They kindly share their information to assist other libraries in quickly developing similar programs. http://sites.google.com/site/thetweenscene/  

I plan to review my beautiful new books ASAP.