Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Growing Wisconsin Readers Blog Update

Growing Wisconsin Readers was a 2013-2016 statewide initiative rooted in public libraries that supported Wisconsin caregivers of young children with information about early literacy in order to prepare children for learning at school and beyond.

The initiative has concluded; this is the final post on this blog.

Please note that the former URL for this blog was This URL is no longer in effect and you will be directed to the current URL which is You can find post archives using the search box on the lower right.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Parents Interacting With Infants Workshop in Appleton

Be sure to consider this professional development opportunity hosted by OWLS.

Parents Interacting With Infants (PIWI): Supporting Infant-Toddler Development Through Parent-Child Interactions

Parent and child
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Appleton Public Library

The PIWI training focuses on strategies and resources to enhance the social-emotional development of infants and toddlers through parent-child interactions that support competence, confidence and positive relationships.

OWLS will provide training binders and lunch at a cost of $5.00. It will be a working lunch.

Sandy Ellis developed Prevention Solutions, LLC, providing training, consultation and coaching, after over 18 years of experience in child abuse prevention and neglect. A member of Home Visiting Master Cadre training and consultation focused on Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Sandy's training repertoire includes a variety of Home Visiting curricula, Healthy Families America home visiting model, Basic Skills for Home Visitors, ASQ and ASQ:SE developmental assessment tool, Pyramid Model Teaching Strategies, HFA Parent Survey and Family Team Meeting model of practice.

Karen Apitz, NE Region Collaboration Coach Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners, has over 20 years of early childhood experience in classroom teaching, administration, home visiting, parent education, and professional development training.

Tech Contact Hours: 0
Total Contact Hours: 6

Thursday, May 5, 2016

NEW Growing Wisconsin Readers Screen Time Bookmark

The Growing Wisconsin Readers screen time bookmark
The Growing Wisconsin Readers
screen time bookmark
A new print and online piece has been added to the Growing Wisconsin Readers suite! The new bookmark speaks to the topic of screen time and young children. Suggestions for why and how screens might be used are offered. The bookmark is sized to work as an insert for the brochure or as a standalone piece.

Brochures, posters, and bookmarks are available to Wisconsin public libraries and their community partners. Regional library systems can provide additional quantities to libraries from the statewide supply via library delivery. Community partners should make contact with their local library or regional system to request materials.

The brochure, poster, and bookmark are available to download as PDF files in English, Spanish, and Hmong on the "Librarians" section of the Growing Wisconsin Readers website.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Early Literacy and STEM

Let's Talk about the World poster
"Let's Talk about the World" poster
promotes early literacy and STEM
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and Too Small to Fail have created a set of early STEM resources for families and educators of young children entitled Let's Talk, Read and Sing about STEM!These tip sheets provide fun, concrete resources and recommendations for families, caregivers, and infant, toddler, and preschool educators on easy ways to incorporate STEM concepts and vocabulary into everyday routines, and suggestions for activities to engage young children in STEM learning.
The tip sheets and "Let's Talk about the World" poster are available in English and Spanish. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's Not Too Late to SUPERCHARGE Your Storytime

The response to the Supercharged Storytimes online learning opportunity in late 2015 was overwhelming positive!  The host of the project, OCLC, has recently opened up the learning opportunity to all public library staff members and volunteers in Wisconsin.

Why might you take advantage of this free, high-quality, early literacy professional development opportunity?  Hear what one participant had to say:

As someone who took this course when it was first offered, I have to say I really loved it! Most librarians who do storytimes know about the early literacy skills, so those concepts aren’t entirely new, but VIEWS2 really does inspire you to think more intentionally about what you’re including in storytimes and why. It gave me courage to do more asides to the parents so they realize the rhythm stick activity we do weekly isn’t just fun (or as one dad jokingly put it “weapons training”), it’s helping kids understand syllables through play. I hope more librarians take you up on this opportunity!

Abby Bussen, MLIS
Children’s Librarian
Muskego Public Library


The Public Library Development Team at DPI is pleased to offer a new learning opportunity for all public library staff members and volunteers in Wisconsin who are interested in early childhood literacy and storytimes. Supercharged Storytimes in a dynamic online learning community where you can explore research-based early literacy concepts, and specific strategies for reinforcing those concepts for kids, parents, and caregivers with intentionality and enthusiasm. The Wisconsin Division of Libraries and Technology was selected to partner with OCLC’s WebJunction program to bringSupercharged Storytimes to local providers, given the demonstrated leadership and commitment to early learning by libraries in our state.
Upon joining the Supercharged learning community, public library staff members and volunteers in Wisconsin will have access to:
  • Recorded webinars that provide an overview of the significance of specific early literacy concepts, and strategies for enhancing interactivity in your practice;
  • Online supporting materials, such as videos, articles, tools and tip sheets;
  • Supercharged discussion forums, offering the ability to share ideas and collaborate with other public library colleagues around the state.
For more information on the learning available in this space, review the Supercharged Storytimes Orientation Outline. There is no cost for public library staff and volunteers in Wisconsin to join, and the space will be available through March 31, 2016. To sign up:
  • Go to and click on “Log in” in the upper right-hand corner.
    • Have a WebJunction account? Simply log in with your username and password.
    • New to WebJunction? Follow the instructions to create a new account.
  • After logging in, enroll in Supercharged Central – Wisconsin by going to the WebJunction Course Catalog and search courses by entering: Supercharged
  • At the enrollment options page, select the Supercharged Central community for Wisconsin, and then click on “Enroll me.”
  • After you select “Enroll me,” you will be see the Supercharged Storytimes community of practice page. Welcome to the community! The “Getting Started” information at the main page will tell you all you need to know to begin supercharging your practice! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Follow Up to "Toddlers & Tablets" Session at WLA 2015

Were you crammed into Salon A for the WLA session "Toddlers & Tablets: New Media in the Lives of Young Children, Their Caregivers and Librarians"? Or were you unable to attend WLA but hoped to attend this session?  Never fear!  Archived resources are here!

First, a review of the session description:
Parent child tablet

Toddlers & Tablets: New Media in the Lives of Young Children, Their Caregivers and Librarians

Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Youth and Special Services Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison; Carissa Christner, Youth Services Librarian, Madison Public Library
New media can be described as the ever-evolving software (e.g. apps) and hardware (e.g. tablets) that are radically influencing the childhood experience. 24 Wisconsin librarians participated in the Growing Wisconsin Readers New Media Training in March. Find out how participants have integrated new media into new and existing library collections, programs and services. This session will be facilitated by a trainer from the national Little eLit network, the DPI consultant and training 

NMT participants
Second, a reminder of what the New Media Training is all about: 

Growing Wisconsin Readers New Media Training 

The Growing Wisconsin Readers New Media Training is designed to build capacity within Wisconsin’s youth services librarian community to support new media offerings for young children and their families. By offering this statewide training, Wisconsin hopes to continue to be at the forefront of moving young learners forward in the digital age. The New Media Training is designed to assist the Wisconsin youth services librarians in the integration of new media into new and existing library collections, programs, and services. Professionals from the Little eLit network will facilitate the online and in person training hosted by the Department of Public Instruction.

Toddlers and Tablets screenshot
Lastly, some resources to help you find your way in the realm of public libraries, new media, and families with young children:

Still not enough information? Stay tuned for an online training in development by Tessa Schmidt and Carissa Christner slated for Spring 2016.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Media Mentorship and Using Apps in Storytime Video

What is media mentorship and why should I consider using apps in storytime?  If you are asking these questions, check out this video produced by the ILEAD USA Early Literacy Innovators Team.
During 2015 the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Division for Libraries and Technology partnered with state library agencies from Illinois, Delaware, Maine, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah to implement ILEAD USA, a nationwide leadership immersion program utilizing web technologies. ILEAD USA - Wisconsin expanded library staff members' leadership skills and their ability to use participatory technology to address an identified community need. The “Media Mentorship and Using Apps in Storytime” video was created by the Early Literacy Innovators Team.
Team Name: "Early Literacy Innovators"
·         Angela Meyers, Bridges Library System, formerly known as Waukesha County Federated Library System (Waukesha)
·         Kerry Pinkner, Waukesha Public Library
·         Christine Weichart, New Berlin Public Library
·         Christi Sommerfeldt, formerly of Muskego Public Library
·         Katharine Clark, Madison Public Library

·         Gus Falkenberg, Indianhead Federated Library System (Eau Claire), Team Mentor