Thursday, October 16, 2014

Character Day: Celebrate Great Characters and Build Empathy

Children love to talk about characters, whether it be from a book, movie or TV show. They make those great connections to themselves, others, books and the world.Conversations about how characters face problems helps children to build empathy. Not just any book will do this, it needs to be quality literary fiction with complex characters . 

Sharing quality books with characters experiencing a range of emotions reassures a child that challenges in life happen to others and they are not alone in feelings. Topics that seem frightening shouldn't be shied away from, but rather embraced since it helps children to realize and be prepared for the emotions that come from life's little upsets. There's a theory that raising children to be readers will result in a more peaceful society. Seeing the world through a character's eyes helps children to have a broader picture of the world than their own personal community.

Librarians have various tricks to help students explore great literature and good characters. My latest venture is to have a character day. The idea is students choose a great character, find a book and talk about it with others. Character Days aren't a new idea, but they are fun, effective and great way to bring a school community together.

My Top 10 Favourite Books to Build the Attitude Empathy


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Books that All Kids Can Enjoy

A while ago I attended an IB webinar on International Mindedness. Webinars are a great way for teachers to get some quick professional development from the comfort of our living room. And, you can join them even if you're not currently at an IB school.

The course I attended was run by a fabulous PYP Coordinator/ Vice Principal / Friend Andrean Holmberg Strachan and her elementary librarian, who I forget the name of (forgive me!) and the work at the Canadian International School of Singapore. The librarian generously shared her list and I've since added titles that I found in my current library.

These titles create great discussion during knee to knee or think pair share chats. Students of all ages can relate to the different perspectives and learn that inclusion and appreciation of differences is important.

My Top 5 Favourite International Mindedness Books 

(in order of age appropriateness)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Showing Off Our International Community

In honour of the UN's International Day of Peace our English as an Additional Language team helped our students to create a great Museum of Culture.  The students discussed aspects of their country and culture and many brought in items from their home to share and display.

As a librarian, I helped by getting some books and the books aren't limited to books about countries or maps, there are cookbooks, craft books, fairy tales and celebrations.

It was a great way for students to really delve into 'Who We Are' and to feel pride about where they are from. Well done AISB!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Benefits of Audio Books

Audio books are a great way for children to expand their vocabulary, especially for students who are learning English as an additional language, as well as improve their listening skills. Comprehension is another area that improves since the child can focus on the story's structure rather than focusing on reading or decoding the words themselves.

We have many new books with CDs available in the library. Children get the benefit of hearing a fluent English speaker, and  it is a professional story teller who reads the book in a very engaging manner. Children also begin to understand how to read with expression. And many are song books so you may find your child singing along. Audio books will help your young reader become more fluent.

Visit us in the library and check out our great selection!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Read Aloud: It's Powerful

Reading Aloud

Sit down
Curl up
With a book
With a puppet
With your tiny little muppet.

Take a breathe
Let the stress
Easy away
And enjoy
This special moment
of your day.

Do you love reading aloud to children as well? Are you a parent at AISB and have some free time? I would like to start mother tongue read aloud sessions during the students morning nutrition break. Children from different classes and grade levels could come listen to a story read in their mother tongue. If you want help support this initiative, please contact me at

Do you want to try a new way of reading aloud. See below for some online books:
1. Tumble Books
2. Multilingual books
3. International Children Digital Library
4. Symbaloo - National Geographic,
5. Symbaloo - Barnes & Noble Online Stories

Monday, September 8, 2014

Nonfiction - more than just animals and space

The library has many new titles available, especially in our nonfiction section. Nonfiction books have much to offer children, and they are much more than books on planets, history or animals.

Children love creating. In the library we have many different kinds of 'How To' books: cooking, crafts, origami, drawing, music, magic and sports. Featured below are some new titles in the library: click the link to find out more about them.

There is a wealth of research out there that encourages children to read nonfiction books for pleasure since the reality is as the move up in grades more and more of their reading will be nonfiction. If they develop good nonfiction reading habits now, it will improve their comprehension later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Creating a Happy Reader

Enjoying entertainment is a component of being human. We are born to laugh, cry, learn and connect. Reading is one of form of entertainment that requires some teaching, and not just the mechanics of it but the enjoyment. Even pediatricians acknowledge that loving books make for a happier healthier child. Also, it is important that children read in their mother tongue, as well as practice their English. Parents should encourage their children to read and/ or discuss books in their home language. As children learn English, they often still think and comprehend in their mother tongue and then translate to English. Students also benefit from reading in their mother tongue language since they understand how grammar and language structure works, and then they can transfer these skills to understanding English grammar and structure.

Here are some tips to help your child become someone who loves literature!

Below is a short video about some 'Back to School' books that are available in the library. There's a little something for everyone!