Kids Blog: 1St Through 3Rd Grade

Five Finger Rule: Selecting the Perfect Book for YOU!!

The Five Finger Test

Often it's difficult to know if a book is going to be too easy or too hard just by looking at the cover. The Five Finger Rule is one way to "test" a book before you spend too much time with it and get frustrated.

Try these steps to pick the perfect book for you:

1.  Select a book you’d like to read.

2.  Open to any page in the middle of the book.

3.  Begin reading aloud, so you can hear the words you have difficulty pronouncing.

4.  Hold up a finger each time you come to a word you don't know right away.

5.  If you have all five fingers up before you get to the end of the page, this book may be too difficult for you to read on your own.

Note: You may only have one or two fingers up. However, if you are sounding out most words on the page, this book is still too hard for you. Try an easier book.

 Use this graphic as a guide:


Here are some suggested Award Winning titles that you may enjoy:

Caldecott Medal Winners


Newberry Medal Winner & Honor Books


Spring Break Puppet Bonanza

We are excited to officially announce the details for our first ever SPRING BREAK PUPPET BONANZA!


March 7 @ 10:30 a.m.: Where the Wild Things Are Puppet Show...and other WILD Adventures

March 10 @ 6:30 p.m.: Shadow Puppet Play

March 12 @ 2:30 p.m.: Marionette-Inspired Hip Hop Dance (by Studio 74)

March 14 @ 10:30 a.m.: Rockin' Sockin' Puppet Palooza 


Hope to see you all!





Got Strings?


Debate time. Who is the world’s most popular puppet?  I can almost hear a chorus of people shouting over each other, “ELMO!”  “ERNIE!” “KERMIT!”  “LAMBCHOP!” But Shari Lewis, Sesame Street, and even Jim Hensen might have to bow down to a certain wooden boy without strings. 


Italian writer, Carlo Collodi, led his own thread of adventures before breathing life into the ever-famous Pinocchio. After graduating from primary school he was shipped off to study priesthood but wound up working for a bookseller. He jumped into political journalism, took on the position of magazine editor, and ended up translating Charles Perrault’s fairy tales from French to Italian. It was this new world of fairy tales that set him into thinking of writing his own. Much like Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist, Pinocchio was first introduced to the world through a weekly newspaper serial.


Yet Collodi’s Pinocchio is far more selfish than the wide-eyed character Disney created. The moralistic Cricket gets squashed in the original tale…by the puppet himself! "...I am a heedless Marionette--heedless and heartless," Pinocchio says. "Oh! If I had only had a bit of heart..."  

Whichever version you prefer, one thing is certain: something about this wooden boy has captivated generations of readers. Explore the literature and decide for yourself. Then mark your calendars for this spring break when we will be hosting a series of lighter-hearted puppet events for families to enjoy. (hint hint hint: If you happen by East Branch on March 12, you might have the opportunity to see some awesome marionette-inspired moves by Studio 74 dancers). 

Until then, here is a fascinating video of a real-life modern Geppetto who works in an Italian toy shop.



Puppet Crush

To get you in the proper mood for our upcoming SPRING BREAK PUPPET BONANZA, here are some lovely Valentine's-inspired puppets.   



                                         Chomp, chomp went the tiny red heart one day....




                                                     What did fox say on Valentine's?

                                                       (Or the whale?  Or the owl?)




                                                  Even skunks have their sweet spot.



2/11/2015 by Shannon H. Add a Comment Share this:

Story Play

It seems every moment you blink, a new smart phone is born, yet even in this buzzing world of gizmos an appreciation for hand-made craftsmanship has soared. A sort of renaissance for simple dedicated nostalgia. Here is one such mother who built a ship to go along with reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

Indeed, parents all over the world are gleefully assisting their children in playtime. But having so much fun is serious business! According to a report done by the American Academy of Pediatrics, play “allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.” 

Did you ever stop to think that when children play, they are actually storytelling? And what better way to tell stories than with toys and puppets!  Coming this March, the Arlington Public Library will host our first-ever SPRING BREAK PUPPET BONANZA. Information regarding this event will be available soon! Until then, try your hand at one of these fun DIY puppet-inspired toys. 

Holiday Pajama Storytime

This past week children came to the library dressed in their favorite pajamas for a special holiday pajama storytime! After reading some festive holiday books and singing everyone's favorite holiday tunes, we finished the night by constructing reindeer hats and feasting on cookies and hot cocoa. 

We will be taking a break from storytimes for the rest of December but we will start back up the first full week of January 2015. Due to the Central library's closing there have been some changes to the spring storytime schedule so please check out our storytime page to find out more information on those times and locations .

Happy Holidays from the Early Learning Team

Mayor's Holiday Party for Children









You are invited to join us this Saturday, December 6 at 10:00am, as we celebrate the holidays with the Mayor’s Holiday Party for Children at the Central Library. There will be music, refreshments and a storytime hosted by Mayor Cluck.

Symphony Arlington will be at the party to share a fun, engaging performance that will have the children laughing as they learn more about the symphony and even how to conduct a musician.

CATS (Creative Arts Theater and School) "Caleidoscope" Touring Group will also be joining us to share a special musical theater Christmas performance.

Don’t forget to support both community groups by attending their performances this holiday season. Symphony Arlington will host their Holidays With the Symphony on December 8. CATS also starts their performance of  ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on December 5. 
















Make sure you stop by the photo booth for a family picture with our book themed trees. You can share your pictures with us by using the #APLHoliday hashtag!

Fun Monster Crafts

This week in story time we did a fun and easy monster craft that you can make at home. All you need is some colored pom pom balls, an assortment of Googly Eyes, and foam hearts. Any of these materials can be found at the local craft store.

I was able to find foam hearts that were sticky on one side, making it easy to attach them as feet to the monster’s body. Some googly eyes can also be bought with an adhesive on the back, making it easy to stick onto the monster. If you aren’t able to find the materials with the adhesive, using Elmer’s glue or a glue gun will work just as well.

Have fun mixing and matching colors and eye sizes to make the monster extra cute!


Here are a few other cheap and easy Monster Craft ideas:

Celebrate Family Literacy Week and Read!

September 22nd - 26th is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week



Literacy starts in the home. Children benefit from an early introduction to reading even before literacy begins. And parents are their child’s first teacher.

Celebrate this important week by reading. Read for yourself. Read to your children. Ask your children to read to you! Early encouragement and excitement can positively affect how children view reading.

In honor of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, the World Education Photo Blog is hosting a Literacy Week Challenge. Test your literacy skills with one quiz for each day of the week.

But don’t stop there! Read to your children every day you can. Visit one of Arlington Public Library’s 19 story times happening every week. More information and the Storytime Schedule can be found here.


Second Saturday Storytime

Our Second Saturday Storytime is this Saturday!

Come join us at the Southeast Branch this Saturday for our Family storytime all about Animals.

This special storytime starts at 10:30 and is for especially for families.  We will have fun music and crafts for all ages!

A visit to the Library is the perfect way to begin your Saturday!