Library Mary

Early Literacy Advocate, Champion of Diversity in Children's Literature

Many children’s librarians incorporate science books and activities into their story times. The goal is to help children develop the skills they will need for STEM careers. With this in mind, I planned a story time all about tools so little people could practice their building and design skills.

First we read Monkey with a Tool Belt by Chris Monroe for some silly building shenanigans. Then we read and talked about The Tool Book by Gail Gibbons, who writes excellent non-fiction for young children. Sharing Gibbons’ books, and other non-fiction titles, helps your child get ready to read. First, kids are building vocabulary that they will recognize when they start reading independently. Second, non-fiction gives children important background knowledge about the world. Such background knowledge will help children understand texts when they start reading on their own.

After we read the books, I gave the kids free play time with a tool kit. They built all kinds of amazing structures and contraptions. I strongly advocate free play for young children. Anna Ranson, who writes The Imagination Tree blog, explains the benefits of play in this post:

What We Learned:

Vocabulary: pliers, wrench, hammer, screwdriver, nuts, bolts

Background knowledge: what each tool does

Science: how tools work

Early literacy: imaginative play builds storytelling skills. Each child

told me what they were making, and how they would use their creation. Storytelling builds vocabulary, and provides a foundation for reading comprehension.

More Books to Read:

I Love Tools by Philemon Sturges

Let’s Build a Clubhouse by Marilyn Singer

Tools by Taro Miura