Mommies and children: building better readers through word, music, fun

May 10, 2009

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Retired children''s librarian Hope Ellis is passionate about making great readers out of today''s children. The Columbus resident, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in library science from Mississippi University for Women and a Masters degree in library science from the University of Mississippi, has amassed a treasure trove of educational resources in her 21-year career. 


"I must stress how important reading is to a young child," said Ellis, a former library director in Fairport Harbor, Ohio and children''s librarian for Broward County Public Library System in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Doing songs and finger plays with eye-to-eye contact also helps your child become a more successful reader." 


Ellis was one of the first librarians in the country to introduce "Babies Need Books" programs, beginning with 3-month-olds and progressing into Toddler and Parent Story Time before graduating to Preschool Story Time.  


This Mother''s Day, she shares a few suggestions valuable to moms everywhere -- suggestions of age-appropriate books, sing-alongs and activities designed to help develop efficient readers. 


"Reading is such an important and essential part of growing up. So are great role models, like mommies!" she encouraged. "Children of all ages can find joy in these heart-warming books about moms." 




Recommended reading  


Baby to Preschool: 




    "Mommies!" by Kate Spohn -- This little book shows baby an array of types of mommies that exist in the world. From fashionista moms to bookworm moms, they''ve got them covered. 


    "Mommy''s Best Kisses" by Margaret Anastas -- An adorable little book that shows how different animal moms kiss their kids. 


    "Mama, Do You Love Me?" by Barbara M. Joosse -- A little girl asks questions until she is sure her mother''s love is unconditional.





    Ages 4-8: 




    "The Mother''s Day Mice" by Eve Bunting -- Mice search the forest for the perfect Mother''s Day gift.  


    "Emily" by Michael Bedard -- A young girl gets to meet Emily Dickinson when her mother is invited to play the piano for the author.  


    "Jonathan and his Mommy" by Irene Smalls-Hector -- A boy and his mother take an unusual journey through their neighborhood.





    Ages 9-12: 




    "A Gift for Mama" by Esther Hautzig -- Sick and tired of making presents for various holidays and occasions, Sara decides to do something different for this Mother''s Day.  


    "Sarah, Plain and Tall" by Patricia MacLachlan -- A frontier family searches for a new mother. 


    "Anastasia on her Own" by Lois Lowry -- Anastasia is in charge of the housekeeping when her mother takes on a new job.





    Mother''s Day sing-alongs 


    Ellis suggests singing this one to the tune of "Frere Jacques" with your little ones: 


    "I love mother, I love mother. 


    Yes, I do; yes, I do. 


    All I want to say is 


    Happy Mother''s Day! 


    I love you; I love you." 




    Or, to the melody of "Mary Had a Little Lamb": 


    "Mommy takes good care of me,  


    Care of me, care of me. 


    Mommy takes good care of me, 


    Because she loves me so."




    Mother''s Day craft 


    Looking for a bouquet of flowers that will never wilt? Ellis suggests helping youngsters make a bouquet of photo flowers. 


    Items needed include construction paper of various colors, glue stick, photos, scissors, tape and green chenille stems, one for each flower. Patterned paper is optional. 




    Cut photos into circles to be used as the center of the flower. 


    Cut simple flower shapes out of construction paper. 


    Glue photo circle to the center of the flower. 


    (Optional step: Glue construction paper flower to a piece of patterned paper. Cut around the flower, giving your construction paper about a half-inch border of patterned paper.) 


    Tape a chenille stem to the back of your flower, making sure the tape is secure. 


    Trim ends of the chenille to desired length. If making a handheld bouquet, don''t trim the chenille; simply tie a ribbon bow around them all.

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.