Preparing Your Child For Preschool

The summer can be a busy season for most preschool teachers and parents.  We’ve been cooped up with the kids all winter long and even in the spring (as I write this April, 15th there is snow on the ground). As the mom of 4-year-old and 8-month-old boys I know how much energy has been stored up through the winter and needs to be released. My 4-year-old Aiden wants to run, play and get as dirty as possible outside so I have to get creative about reading and preparing my son for preschool.

Five Tips to Prepare Your Child For Preschool

1. Take Reading Time Outside – We read in our yard and at the park so we can get our outside and reading time in. I try to select books that are about nature, animals or include a summer activity…..like riding a bike. One of our favorites to take outside is “Froggy Rides a Bike” by Jonathan London.  My son was ready to learn to ride his bike after reading about how Froggy gets his first bike.froggy rides a bike

2. Take Advantage of Down Time – Early childhood literacy skills can be taught through activities, not just reading. We take advantage of our time when going for walks or driving in the car. I ask Aiden what different things we see are so that he can learn new words and associate it with an image. Our favorite game is saying the letters on street signs. Aiden says the letters, I tell him what the word is and he repeats it.

3. Sing – We sing a lot.  Songs and rhymes can help build vocabulary and develop sound discrimination. Both skills are crucial to the development of literacy. The size of a child’s vocabulary and his or her ability to discriminate sounds are predictors of how easily a child will learn to read when exposed to formal instruction. Aiden and I have learned  how to say “hello” in many different languages through the song “Hello to All the Children of the World.” One of Aiden’s favorite songs to sing to his baby brother is “Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes.” “Itsy Bitsy Spider” can be a fun song to sing outside.

itsy bitsy spider

4. Dramatic Play – Let your child be the narrator of his favorite stories while you both act the story out outside. Dramatic play allows children to recognize that different tasks require different texts, to produce a wide variety of texts, and to act out stories they have heard.

5. Library Storytime – Whether it’s at childcare through the Racing to Read program or at the library, storytime is great for children. They will learn through stories, play, songs and much more. Plus, they get to be with other kids.

My son will participate in the Kenton County Public Library’s Racing to Read early childhood literacy program this summer. The Racing to Read team brings library materials and Summer Reading Club to the classroom. Classrooms at each center will read together and earn prizes.  This is one way we encourage the centers we serve to continue to read to their children during the summer months.

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Racing to Read serves 1,500 children ages 0-5 and visits 35 preschools and childcare centers monthly in Kenton County.  The goal of the program is to introduce children to books and reading so they are prepared to learn how to read when they enter kindergarten.  Children are able to check out two items with their Racing to Read library card. In addition the van offers teacher resources that can be used at the preschool/child care center.

Racing to Read staff members put together a lesson plan each month and adjust the lesson plan to meet specific center needs.  The picture below represents a lesson plan for April.

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Not too long ago the Racing to Read staff received a lovely thank you note pictured below.  The note is from Julie Learning Center located in Park Hills.

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The Read Racer has a few afternoon spots available. If your childcare facility or preschool is not currently receiving visits from the Read Racer the director of the center can call Kari Jones at 859-962-4061 to schedule a visit.  We also currently have a waiting list for centers that require a morning slot.

If you would like to learn more about Racing to Read services or all Outreach services, please visit us at http://www.kentonlibrary.org/outreach.

Check out the library Early Literacy Pinterest page and suggested books to prepare your child for preschool. Visit the Kenton County Public Library Facebook page to enter to win preschool books and a movie!

Written by Kari Jones – Outreach Coordinator —Covington Branch

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Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day!

Join the party!  On Sunday, April 27, the Erlanger Branch Library will host our annual celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros – Children’s Day/Book Day.  This event is a celebration of children and literacy, with an emphasis on the diversity of families and languages in our community. Día is a daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures.  This daily commitment culminates each year in a community wide celebration on or near April 30th .

El día de los niños/El día de los libros has its roots in the observance of Children’s Day, which began in 1925 as a result of the first “World Conference for the Well Being of Children” in Geneva, Switzerland.  All over the world, countries adopted official dates to celebrate Children’s Day.  The United States is one of the few developed countries that did not designate an official Children’s Day observance!  Our neighbor Mexico selected April 30 as their day to celebrate children, and they named it El día de los niños – Children’s Day.  This day is quite a huge celebration across Mexico!  Schools have carnivals, towns have parades, and children receive special treats.  Mexican immigrants in the American southwest brought their observance of Children’s Day into their communities in this country, and in 1996, a children’s author named Pat Mora noticed (www.patmora.com ).  She thought it was a wonderful idea to celebrate children, but her background as an educator and author led her to think that it would be even better to celebrate children’s books!  That was the beginning of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). Over the years, with the support of children’s librarians and teachers, Pat Mora’s idea has spread across the country.  This year, hundreds of libraries and schools will celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day sometime near April 30.

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For a decade now, the Kenton County Public Library has partnered with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (www.cincinnatilibrary.org ) to present one community Día celebration.  We alternate locations each year.  This year, the celebration will be held at the Erlanger Branch on Sunday, April 27 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  We will have book related crafts to enjoy, as well as face painting and mascot meet-and-greet opportunities. At 2:30, enjoy Family Zumba with Deb Yaeger of Deb’s Fitness Party (www.debsfitnessparty.com ).  At 3:15, there will be a demonstration of Korean Martial Arts with Mr. Kim’s Martial Arts, a local Erlanger organization (www.kimskoreanmartialarts.com ).  At 3:45, join us for International Storytime.  This is always a highlight of our celebration.  We will gather as many as 10 individuals who speak different languages, and read the same book in all those languages!  Our celebration ends at 4:00 with our Mascot Macarena dance party.  We will also provide a free book for every child ages 12 and under who attends our celebration, while supplies last.

Please contact Lise Tewes at the Erlanger Branch Library (859-962-4000 X4109; lise.tewes@kentonlibrary.org ) if you have questions or want more information.  We hope to see you on Sunday, April 27 to enjoy El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day).

DIY PROM

It’s prom time, so let’s talk about hair and makeup!

If there’s one thing I (Jessy the Librarian) love as much as stories, it’s probably lipstick. Or maybe eyeliner. One of the best place I’ve found for (non-video) makeup/hair tutorials is The Beauty Department. I love the idea of a metallic eye, especially if your dress is more of a matte texture, like tulle.

Last month, OPI released 4 sheer tint polishes. Look at all the pretty ideas Phoenix Beauty Lounge came up with!

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When it comes to pretty hair, my own personal taste is basically “shove it all up behind your head in a messy chignon or at the nape of your neck in a messy bun with lots of pretty bobby pins.” But this isn’t a blog about what Jessy the Librarian would dress up like; it’s full of tips and tricks and DIYs for all sorts of tastes!

If you have straight hair (or want to straighten your hair for prom), Martha Stewart has lots of guides.

If you have curly hair, there are guides for pretty updos here and here.

If you want complicated pretty braids (and really, who doesn’t), what about a waterfall braid? Here’s a tutorial video I found on youtube.

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Want more ideas for prom hair and makeup? Check out our prom-related pinterest board!

This post was written by Durr Young Adult Librarian Jessy.

100 Years Ago, Latonia Jockey Reached Horse Racing’s Pinnacle

Latonia Boy Wins Great English Race, 27 May 1914 cropped

The Kentucky Post headline the evening Matt won the Epsom Derby. The win marked a first for anyone from the Cincinnati area in the race and one of the few times to that point an American owner and jockey took the event.

On May 27, 1914 a record crowd gathered at the historic Epsom Downs in England for the annual running of the world’s greatest horse race, the English Derby.  The dramatic death of suffragette Emily Davison on the track the year prior and the nearly unprecedented 30 horse field drew a large crowd who knew that quite anything could happen at the annual event.[1]  The tension mounted precipitously at the post line as the horses waited for the starter’s signal.  Matt McGee, an American jockey born and raised in Covington sitting atop of his fine colt Durbar II, stared down the track towards the outside rail and saw the crowd favorite Kennymore growing anxious for the start.  At 9-4 odds, and with Europe’s top jockey and future racing Hall of Famer Frank O’Neill aboard, the horse was thought to be shoo-in for victory, even with the crowded field.   The other rival for the title, Brakespear, owned by none other than the King of England himself, waited patiently close to the inside rail.  The 20 minutes standing at the line must have seemed like an eternity for the horse, however, as he frequently backed away from the starting tape.  The signal to go caught Brakespear off-guard and led to a poor start while the anxious Kennymore took off perpendicular to the rest of the field, racing directly towards the inside rail.

Matt on Durbar 27 May 1914

Matt aboard the winning Durbar II, with H.B. Duryea leading the pair into the winner’s circle.

At the half mile mark of the mile and a half race, McGee pulled Durbar into fourth place, a few lengths behind pace setter Polycrates.  MacGee had ridden Durbar to victory in France prior to this day, pulling out some minor victories in a couple of stakes races, before being placed by owner Herman Duryea in this day’s race.  At 20-1 odds, the horse took some light bets but was off of the radar of most enthusiasts in the build up to the race.  McGee saw an opening as the field approached the famous turn at Tattanham’s Corner and slipped Durbar in front at the rail.  He quickly pulled away from the field down the stretch and passed the finish line a full three lengths ahead of his nearest competitor.  The crowd fell into a hushed silence.  Two Americans with a French and American bred horse had taken the coveted prize, much to the chagrin of the proud English folks in the crowd.  Duryea likely fell into shock as well.  Not necessarily from the win, but rather from the payout on the $4,000 bet he placed on his own horse in addition to the $32,000 race prize.[2]  Matt McGee, the little jockey from Latonia, Kentucky reached the pinnacle of his racing career at this moment and calmly remarked to reporters, “I had never had an easier race in my life.”

Jockey Colony at Santa Anita

This photo from a March 1909 edition of the Los Angeles Herald shows the jockeys at Santa Anita during the racing season. Matt is second from the left in the bottom row.

Matt’s racing career began in his hometown, at the old Latonia Racetrack where many residents had strong ties to the horse racing industry.  Matt and two of his brothers, all of diminutive Irish stock, attempted careers as jockeys, but only Matt proved successful in the trade.  Beginning in 1908, he raced for four years in the United States.  He traveled about the country trying to find work while Progressive reformers cracked down on the racing and gaming industries in states like New York and California.  In fact, the closure of tracks in huge markets like California and New York were in some ways directly responsible for the rise of horse racing in Kentucky.  The Bluegrass State’s reputation for feuds, moonshine, and general lawlessness made many in the thoroughbred industry set their sights on the state as a refuge for continued racing.[3] After his first year on the courses, the American Racing Manual remarked that “McGee….gave indications that [he] may be challenging the leaders in a year or two.”  His contract was sold to a California stable where he enjoyed the last racing season in Los Angeles before anti-gambling legislation shut down the races.  In 1909, Matt finished fifth among the jockeys overall in wins, with 150 coming in a career high 862 mounts.  That year he also raced in his first Kentucky Derby, though he finished in ninth place aboard Campeon.  In the year 1911 he rode perhaps his greatest horse, a chestnut filly named Round the World.  The horse won many races in the buildup to the Kentucky Derby, including a huge prize at the Juarez Derby in Mexico that made her a favorite in the days leading up to the Derby.   The horse tired from overwork as she ran numerous tune-up races in Lexington in the weeks prior to the Derby, a far cry from the limited workload of modern thoroughbreds.  Matt led her across the finish line that year in sixth place in the seven horse field, an assured disappointment in one of the most thrilling Derby races to that point.  After the 1911 Kentucky Derby, Matt officially retired from American racing as the pressures on making weight finally became too much.  He had contemplated the move for a time, but waited until after the Derby to make his decision out of an agreement with his owner to race the special filly in the major events. Europe offered greater opportunity and with the closures of so many tracks across the United States a flood of jockeys and others in the thoroughbred industry made their way to the continent.  Matt joined those on the move in 1913 and began racing with Herman Duryea during that year.  Matt quickly became his top jockey and their two years together netted the pair steady profits in many of the large races around France.  The victory lap after the

McGee on Flowershop, Prix de Diane 1920

Matt aboard Flowershop after winning the Prix de Diane in 1920. The race is the equivalent of the Kentucky Oaks, run the day before the Derby, open to three year old fillies and run at the Chantilly racecourse outside of Paris.

1914 English Derby was cut short, however, when nearly one month to the day after the race Austro-Hungarian prince Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in what amounted to the sounding bell for World War I.  As nations mobilized for war, racing was shut down and many jockeys and horses were called to serve in the fight.  In late September, 1914, Durbar was smuggled out of the war zone draped in an American flag and declared “neutral” in the fight, as he eventually made his way to the United States.  Matt and his family left as well for a time, though they eventually returned amid the fighting when racing resumed on a limited basis in 1915.

 

Matt and his family stayed in France after the war as well and his racing career continued relatively unimpeded into the 1930s.  He perpetually finished towards the top of the list among winning jockeys, though most often finding himself in second place behind rival and friend Frank O’Neill.  Upon his retirement, he settled in to a comfortable life training and raising horses for the Rothschild family near his home outside of Paris.  The bellicose calls for war sent Matt home again in the spring of 1941 after the German army overran his town and reportedly used his home as officers’ quarters and as a base of operation.  He returned to Covington alone to a family he had not seen in nearly a decade.  His wife and daughter soon followed, though the family never reunited totally.  His wife Laura fell victim to cancer and died in Chicago in 1945.  Matt followed in October 1949 and was laid to rest in Mother of God cemetery in Fort Wright.  His daughter returned to France after the war and according to family lore, sought to reclaim the family’s lost fortunes.

Matt's Wife and Child

Numerous trips across the ocean meant lots of travel records. These passport records come from a 1920 request for residence in Lamorlaye, France. On the shows Matt’s daughter, Norma Frances, was born in Lamorlaye in 1915. His wife, Laura Brown, traveled alongside the the jockey until they left France for good in 1941. Passport photos courtesy ancestry.com

As we approach another Kentucky Derby this coming May, we are all reminded of the importance of the horse racing industry to the state’s history.  The Kenton County Library offer vast resources for those interested in learning more about racing history.  The Keeneland Racetrack library, in partnership with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Virtual Library, has digitized nearly the entire run of the Daily Racing Form.  In addition to form charts, race results, and general racing news the paper also covered political activity relating to national issues, like the interruptions of the World Wars, and local issues like the battle over the annexation of Latonia to the city of Covington.  The Latonia Racetrack’s prominence in the industry also made it a popular topic in local papers.[4]  Digital editions of the historic Cincinnati Enquirer and the Louisville Courier Journal are available for access in the library or at home with a library card.  The Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index also has coverage of some local figures and events and patrons can access the newspapers on microfilm in the Covington library.  Finding information outside the United States can be much trickier and may require some language fluency, but information is available.  France has a wonderful collection of digitized photos, periodicals, and books available through their national library and keyword searches can reveal a wealth of information in addition to offering a different perspective on events in the United States.    Contact the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Covington Branch of the Kenton County Library if you would like help researching anything related to local or national racing history.  Also stop by the branch for a display with more about the history of Matt McGee’s racing career.

Written by Nate McGee, Library Associate, Local History and Genealogy Department, Covington

[1] Davison, the suffragette, threw herself in front of the King of England’s horse as he approached the finish line and became at martyr for the suffrage cause in the British Isles.  In 1914, a policeman was shot by Ada Rice, a presumed suffragette, but no serious injury occurred.

[2] The prize money alone would be valued at close to $1 million today.

[3] See Maryjean Wall’s great book, How Kentucky Became Southern, for more on this process and the rise of racing overall in the state.

[4] Check out James Claypool’s fine history of the Latonia Racetrack, The Tradition Continues:  The Story of Old Latonia, Latonia, and Turfway Racetracks for a good comprehensive history of Racing in northern Kentucky.

Turning Clutter Into Cash

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Many people have trouble decluttering because they see their clutter as piles of cash that they spent. I know that I am less of an impulse shopper now that I have given away items that I had to have but then never used.

Decluttering is humbling. You realize you have more than you need and often wish you could have a “do over” and get that money back.

Before the great recession of 2008, I could make a great deal of money back on my used items through garage sales, eBay sales and consignment stores. But since the recession – many people have joined the resale community and driven down the price people are willing to pay for used items.

This spring as you are decluttering your house, set up a selling and donation staging area. You can earn some summer fun money by taking your items to various resale shops.

1. Garage Sales

If you have a LOT to get rid of, you may want to consider a garage sale. I have had good luck with selling furniture, children’s items and craft supplies. If you are going to have a garage sale – set up an area of your home NOW to start collecting your “treasures.” Set a date and work like crazy to have all of your decluttering done by that date. {NOTE for 3 years I had garage sales in the spring and fall. It took me 6 garage sales to get my clutter to a manageable level!}

Set up EARLY and be prepared for people to come even earlier. I usually have mine on a Friday from 8-2 and Saturday 8-12.

I don’t even price my items anymore. You can have a blanket and say everything on the blanket is $1.

Market your garage sale by putting pictures and descriptions of popular items on Craig’s List. Have change and grocery bags for people to take their treasures home.

Plan for Saturday at noon – where is the rest of this stuff going? It is NOT going back inside! 🙂 Divide what you have left and try these options:

Organizing Your Home Library | Optimistic Mommy

2. Half Price Books

Normally, I earn between $6-10 at Half Price Books. The pay is ridiculously low. I was tempted to take my last banker’s box full of books straight to Goodwill, but decided to stop by Half Price Books first. I was SO glad I did; I earned $22.50!

40 Weeks 1 Whole House: Week 27: Organizing Board Games, Video Games and Puzzles | Organize 365

3. Game Stop

These games are really old; they wouldn’t even take 3 of them! But I did make $29 on this stack of games. Let’s not do the math on how much I PAID!

4. Consignment Stores

Each season, I take a few clothes out of my closet and stop by the consignment store before I hit Goodwill. I make about $75 per season selling old clothes. I turn right around and buy about 6-8 items with that money at the same consignment shop. For the past 6 years, I have spent very little on my clothing outside of consignment shops.

Time To Change Out Your Closet | Organize 365

5. Child resale shops

If you have kid’s clothes, old toys or furniture, the kid’s resale shops are the way to go. You will earn even less than you will get at a garage sale, but you will get something.

6. eBay

eBay is a great way to sell name brand items that you can sell for $20 or more. I say $20 because the fees and shipping eat up a lot of cost when selling on eBay. The best way to tell if an item is worth selling on eBay is to search for that item and see how many are being sold and at what price.

7. Craig’s List

Craig’s List is similar to eBay in that you are selling on line, but instead of shipping the item, you meet the buyer in real life. I have had success selling furniture this way.

You need to know how much you want for the item and know people will haggle with you AFTER they come to your house. I find this annoying.

For safety, I list items with the Craig’s List fake email that forwards to my email. Then, I reply with my cell phone number. I have never had a problem selling on Craig’s List, but as I mentioned above, there are “deals” for buying, but selling has been harder since 2008.

Goodwill

8. Goodwill

I know you will not “make” money by donating to Goodwill, but you can get a tax deduction. I have always liked the convenience of dropping off my donations at the Goodwill drop off center. But last year I listened to this podcast about all the donations Goodwill takes and what they do with them. Then I went to a meeting and learned all about the amazing resource that Goodwill is to the special needs community in my area.

Now when I have a donation, I feel like I am really giving and not just “getting rid of” my old stuff.

So, what about you? What do you do with items you no longer need?

Check out our Pinterest board on the topic!

 

This guest post is written by Lisa Woodruff with Organize 365