Welcome to the Children's Department! My name is Miss Lauren, and I am the Children's Librarian. Miss Kristina is also here to help whenever you have any questions. Our goal is to make sure that you leave the library with the materials you need to help your children succeed in reading, learning, and fulfilling their curiosity with the world.
Within the Children's Department there are a variety of books for every age and reading comfort level. There are picture books (also called "Easy Books") for many reading levels. There are also "Easy Readers" that help beginning readers and strengthen reading ability for children already reading. Beyond our books for beginning readers, there is also a large fiction section to continue strengthening children's reading skills and build their interest for reading. The nonfiction section can help answer questions your children may have about the world, its people, and every other subject you can think of! This section is also a fabulous resource to help your child succeed in school assignments and projects.
There is a great selection of audiobooks and books-on-tape located within the Children's Department. The children's DVDs and CDs are located just outside of the department near the CDs and DVDs for adults.
All books on top of the shelves or on display anywhere in the Children's Department are for you to check out, so don't worry about asking if they can be checked out. In fact, we display them to encourage you to check them out!
There are also many other materials, such as bibliographies, book award lists, and other brochures and handouts that will help you and your child fulfill all your information, educational, literacy, and entertainment needs. All brochures and handouts are free for you to take and keep for future use, if you like.
There are computers in the department for children 11 and under to use (if under 8, a responsible person 14 years old or older must be with them any time they are in the library).
Please feel free to visit the Children's Department or call us at (409) 643-5983 if you have any questions. We're here to help and are glad to answer any questions you may have. Also, check out our Children's Corner blog for news and reviews.
Kids' Homework Sites
Kids' Fun Sites
Children under 8 years old must be accompanied with someone at least 14 years old or older.
Children age 11 and under may use computers in the children's department by showing a photo ID or library card.
MMPL Reading Recommendations
Other Book Lists
Early Literacy Information
Early literacy (sometimes called pre-literacy or pre-reading) is what children learn about reading before they actually start reading. Parents are the first and most important teachers in helping their children get prepared for reading before kindergarten and it is never too early or late to start. You know your child better than anyone and can help them learn reading skills in ways that are uniquely right for them. You may not realize this, but early literacy is already part of the fun you have every day with your child while you are reading, talking, singing, writing, and playing together. As you spend time on these practices together, it stimulates growth in your child's brain and helps build the foundation in the brain needed for reading.
As you're doing those 5 practices everyday, keep in mind the 6 early literacy skills researchers have found that children need to do well at before they can learn to read successfully. Make sure to add the following skills in when you read, talk, sing, write, and play with your child and they will be on their way to reading readiness (they're the perfect combination!) There are unlimited ways you can come up with to add these skills into your child's daily life that work for them.
If you'd like suggestions on more ways beyond the ones we've listed with each of the following skills, please ask the Children's Department staff, along with any other early literacy questions you may have.
The Six Early Literacy Skills
- Narrative Skills: Knowing how to describe things and tell stories
One way to build this skill: Ask your child to tell you a story about something that happened to them, like when they went to the park or to visit a friend.
- Print Motivation: Being both interested in and enjoying books
One way to build this skill: Let your child see you having fun reading on your own.
- Vocabulary: Knowing the name for things
One way to build this skill: Throughout the day, ask your child to help you name all of the things you see, from flowers to pencils.
- Phonological Awareness: Being able to hear and notice the smaller sounds in words
One way to build this skill: Separate the syllables of a word and ask your child to put them all together and guess what word you are trying to say.
- Letter Knowledge: Knowing the names and sounds of letters and their difference from each other
One way to build this skill: Point out letters on signs, labels, and other things you see every day, from stop signs to cereal boxes.
- Print Awareness: Noticing printed words and how to follow them on a page
One way to build this skill: Follow words on book pages with your finger so your child follows along and sees the connection between the print words and what you're "saying."
Tips for reading to your child
- Let your child help pick the book.
- Make sure you are energetic while you read. Act out the different characters by using voices, expressions, and changing the volume of your voice. This helps engage your child in the story.
- Bring your child into the story by asking them questions or changing the name of a character to their name!
- Make sure your child is in the right mood to hear a story and is not too tired or distracted. Maybe set a reading time for everyday, like before bedtime.
- Prepare before you read: if you haven't read the book before, try to look it over beforehand, so you know what to expect.
- Hold the book facing your child so they can see the pictures and printed words.
- If your child asks a lot of questions during the story, answer them and be proud because it means you're doing a great job reading and they're engaged in the story!
- It's usually nothing to worry about if you child moves around while you're reading or plays with a toy. A lot of times, they are paying attention. Ask them questions about the story to check in case you're unsure. If they answer your questions well, you'll know they are indeed paying attention.
- Encourage your child to participate by letting them say a phrase the book repeats regularly when you get to those parts in the book.
- Read at a pace that's comfortable for your child. If you read too fast, they may become confused because they don't have enough time to understand what's happening. Too slow, and they might become bored.
Early Literacy Recommended Sites
- Department of Education's "Help My Child Read": several resources, from early literacy tips to recent research results.
- Get Ready to Read: various resources, including early literacy tips and activities.
- Reach Out and Read: an initiative that works with pediatricians to promote early literacy and provides tips, a developmental milestones chart, and more for parents.
- National Children's Literacy Website: provides information about the importance of the first five years of a child's life and has topics about reading to children.
- PBS Kids "Between the Lions": themed pre-reading information, video, tips, and online games for kids.
- Center for Early Literacy Learning: several activity guides to view and print with everyday pre-reading activities.
- Reading Rockets' hour-long video about early literacy
- Story Blocks: videos and lyrics for popular and lesser-known songs and rhymes.
- Reading Is Fundamental: early literacy information, tips, songs, and online kids' games.
Kids' Homework Sites
I know that homework can be frustrating sometimes, and I wanted to take the time to share some websites that can help you with the process.
- CIA World Factbook: The CIA World Factbook is a great source for information on individual countries. You can find maps, flags, and other information on the countries, such as population, religions, languages, and much more.
- Fact Monster: This website has maps, tables, archives, biographies, and much more. There is lots of information to be found on this website that can help.
- How Stuff Works: There are videos, pictures, and information on many topics (not focused on homework topics), but you can learn a lot about specific topics. This website is a how to for everything from how to install a sink in the bathroom to how math works.
- IXL: This website helps with math problems and studying. There are practice equations, and the website breaks up the website up in order to help students by grade level (from pre-K up).
- KidsHealth: There is lots of information about staying healthy and safe, and there is also plenty of other information to be found on the human body.
- National Geographic Kids: This website has a lot of information about animals and people (cultures). There are facts, pictures, and videos to aid learning.
Kids' Fun Sites
- PBS Kids: Games are based on the different shows and include coloring games, music games, dress up games, and other learning games (letters, numbers, shapes).
- Nick Jr: Games are divided by shows and include adventure, art, dress up, letters & spelling, and matching games, and puzzles.
- Disney Junior: Games are divided by shows and include bowling, racing, drawing, and more (good for getting used to a mouse).
- Monterey Bay Aquarium ( Ages 4+): Games that have the age and grade level listed; games, coloring sheets, crafts, etc.
- Kids Games (Ages 4+): Lots of different educational games in alphabet, math, geography, memory, vocabulary, and there are also some puzzles.
- Build Your Wild Self (Ages 4+): Create a character and then add parts to make them a wild animal.
- Sesame Street Games (Ages 3-5): Coloring, shapes, sounds, letters, numbers & other learning games.
- Knowledge Adventure: Divided by grade level from preschool to 2nd grade; arcade, memory, word, and board games.
- Starfall: Interactive phonics activities for pre-readers and beginning readers.
- Up to Ten: Puzzles, races, card games, mazes, and more.
- National Geographic Kids: Quizzes, puzzles, action games, and plenty of educational games.
- Primary Games: Mostly educational games with math, social studies, science, language arts, and arcade games and puzzles.
- Getty Games: Art games (matching, puzzles, detail-finding games).
- Fun Brain: Math, reading, and other learning games and some arcade games.
- Discovery Kids: Building games, puzzles, matching games, and quizzes based on the shows.
- Animal Planet: Quizzes, detective game, picking and making a pet games, taking care of animals games.
- Cool Math 4 Kids: Puzzles, coloring, and all kinds of math games (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and many more); there is also a section for 3-5 year olds.
- Time For Kids: Lots of trivia games and some puzzles.
- ABCya: Various educational games based on classroom lessons and approved by teachers. They help build computer, language arts, and math skills.