Blowing-Nose

Brrr! Did December 2014 lull you into the same winter apathy it did me? The unusually warm weather was a treat, but when 2015 swept in with its bitter winds and icy snow, it caught me off guard. I’ve been scrambling to get my winter knitting projects finished and ready to wear ever since.

At first, I was only kicking myself because I wished I had a super-warm scarf to keep my teeth from chattering. Then I read about a new study from Yale School of Medicine that uncovered the link between getting cold and getting a cold. This study has vindicated a bit of motherly wisdom once consigned to the rank old wives’ tale.

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Preschool-Blog

Are you searching for a preschool or daycare for your child, but you feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start?

Choosing a preschool for your child is an important decision, so we here at the Niles Library want to offer you all the resources you could need so you can make an informed decision. Join us at the Library on Wednesday, January 21, where we will be hosting the Preschool and Daycare Fair.

Stop by the KidSpace Program Room from 6-6:30 pm to talk with a social worker about choosing the right place for your child. Feel free to bring any questions or concerns you may have and receive tips on how to pick a preschool or daycare.

Starting at 6:30 pm, tour the Preschool and Daycare Fair in the Large Meeting Room to get the chance to talk in person with representatives from local preschools, daycares, and other early childhood centers all in one place. The fair will last until 8:30 pm.

For more information, please call 847-663-1234 or visit our website at nileslibrary.org/events.

Click here if you would like to see a full list of the preschools and daycares available.

 

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hobbit-movie

Are you a fan of the Hobbit movies? Here are some of my favorites that might hold you over until the Battle of the Five Armies is released (Dec. 17, but who’s counting?). These are my picks for live action fantasy/fairy tale/adventure/romance movies that are pure escapism. And don’t forget, you can catch up on the first two movies on the big screen here at the Niles Library over Winter Break: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug.

Alice in Wonderland (2010, PG)

The Borrowers (1998, PG)

The Chronicles of Narnia series: Lion, Witch and Wardrobe (2005, PG), Prince Caspian (2008, PG), Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2011, PG)

Ever After (2002, PG-13)

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Walt_Disney_Pictures

In the Oxford English Dictionary, a “classic” is defined as “something which is memorable and an outstanding example of its kind.”

Disney Masterpiece collections are just that, and the fact that multiple generations have watched these beloved classics proves that they can stand the test of time.

Today let the Niles Library take you on a journey to a time way before Frozen and High School Musical. Check out some of these Disney Animated Classics that we’ve been circulating in our catalog for decades:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Dumbo (1941)

Cinderella (1950)

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

The Aristocats (1970)

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Little Mermaid Book

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little-authors

There’s nothing I love more than a good story. Luckily, as a KidSpace librarian, I spend a lot of time reading & telling to kids of all ages. This summer, I’ve decided to give preschoolers a chance to sit in the storytime chair in a story dictation program called Little Authors.

For decades, preschool teachers have been using story dictation methods developed by early childhood education luminaries like Vivian Paley and Carol Avery to help children put their ideas, experiences, and fantasies on paper. Story dictation is a deceptively simple early learning activity. All you need is paper, pencils, and your undivided attention. Ask a child to describe an event, idea or person; and write down the words exactly as the child says them. Then read the story back to her, and watch her face light up in pride & triumph!

Here are some of the fantastic stories written by a few of Niles’ homegrown little authors:

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Once again, the Niles Public Library is asking patrons (especially our youngest ones) to make visiting the Library part of their summer routine. And it’s working!

KidSpace patrons are racing the calendar in this, the eighth of nine weeks of the 2014 Summer Reading Program, to read (or be read to) and get prizes, prizes, prizes… Readers (who read independently, usually chapter-book fiction) are plowing through books, as are pre-readers (whose families count how many books are read to them). Readers win tokens (“wooden money” redeemable for prizes), while pre-readers who’ve had lots of Picture Books read to them (four books earn one game play) are winning bushel baskets of prizes.

At any given time, dozens of kids are crisscrossing KidSpace reading, redeeming tokens, and playing their games, (Readers roll huge dice and move characters they choose, while pre-readers choose from several games which involve “a pup tent,” “Guess Which Animal,” and digging through sand for buried treasures.). It’s a busy place, tied together under the theme “Paws to Read” (pun intended, and in which various woodland and other cuddly animals feature prominently).

And, for those readers who earn the right to play their game at least nine times, there is a prize package that includes fun coupons and a free book in a cool tote bag. All kids who visit 9 times by August 8 can enter the drawing for a grand prize.

GRAND PRIZES ARE HOT: a scooter, a bicycle, and a Family Pack of 4 passes to Six Flags Great America

Okay, to summarize, let’s do this by the numbers:
∙ Way over 1,000 kids signed up
∙ Thousands of fiction chapter books, pre-reader Picture Books, and other reading experiences generated
∙ Hundreds of books featured in readers’ “Share a Book” sheets (think of these as very simple, user-friendly book reports)
∙ Thousands of tokens won in the readers’ game or earned (from readers’ turning in completed “Share a Book” and “Reading Challenge” sheets)
∙ Thousands of prizes and toys purchased with tokens (by readers) or won outright (by pre-readers)
Impossible to calculate: improvements to kids’ literacy as a result of summertime reading
∙ Tons (number impossible to know) of fun had by participants, staff, and the teen volunteers without whom the Summer Reading Program could not take place

For more photos of our Summer Reading Club for kids, click here!

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Like many people, I struggled with math throughout most of my education. I say “most” because I got very lucky in seventh grade when my mother found an awesome tutor for me. His name was Ken. He was math professor who took a three year sabbatical to write the “great American novel.”

Ken was a fantastic storyteller, and he used stories to explain math concepts to me. In the context of a good story, the concepts came alive. Under his engaging tutelage, my grade in algebra went from a D+ to an A in the course of several months. More importantly, for one glorious year, I loved math. I realized math is a language I could apply to problems in the real world. He showed me fractals, and encouraged me to doodle them in the margins of my homework when I got bored. He is the one and only person who ever said that I had a great mind for math.

Recently, however, with the push for better STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) a number of math teachers and mathematicians have been urging their colleagues to find new ways to explore this critical subject in the classroom.

Conrad Wolfram is a mathematician and founder of computerbasedmath.org. In his 2010 TedTalk, Conrad Wolfram, discussed why it’s important to rethink math education and how adapting it to computers is the future. If you think math is all about terrifying tests and endless calculation give this dynamic video a chance to show you that math is for everyone.

Here is a list of library materials that will get you and your family excited about math: Let’s Be Math-People!

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Summer Reading at the Niles Library is a big deal! We work for months and months to get ready for kids to come in and play our giant-sized games. Now it is up and ready to play! Here’s how it works.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step One: Come to KidSpace and sign up. You will get a reading folder.

Step Two: Take a free turn on the game! You will already have earned your first Glummy token to spend at the store.

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Younger kids play our Read-to-Me game, where they can play animal games with our volunteers. They win a prize every time!

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You might be thinking, That sounds like fun, but there’s a lot of other fun stuff to do over the summer. But kids work hard through the school year to improve their reading and pre-reading skills, and if they stop reading over the summer, they will lose what they learned. Studies show that kids who participate in summer reading programs do better in school. So take some time to read this summer, and come to the library and play.

For more information about our “Paws To Read” Summer Reading Clubs for adults and teens, click here!

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Are you constantly picking up after your kids? Do you trip over toys when you walk down the hall? Do your kids’ bedrooms often look like the Tazmanian Devil just snuck in the door and out the window? Do they whine or freak out when you ask them to clean their rooms? If so, you are not alone. Learning to keep a place neat and tidy is a lifelong struggle for many families. That’s why it is important to get kids accustomed to participating in the day-to-day tasks that keep your household running smoothly.

More importantly, chores teach children the importance of community and responsibility. Kids who have a “job to do” feel a sense of purpose and competency. When kids do their “jobs” they are, in a very real sense, becoming productive members of the family. This sense of self-worth bleeds into other aspects of their lives.

That said, kids will be kids. And getting kids to do their chores without protest is all but impossible.

Here are a few tips to help you win the chore war:

1) Choose age-appropriate chores. Here is a Montessori chart of “Age Appropriate Chores for Children” that offers a few ideas of what kids can handle at various developmental stages:

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