For Educators and Librarians

Reading Pictures: Visual Literacy and Young Children
In August 2017 we convened librarians from 50 Vermont libraries for a one-day training conference. The goal of the conference was to increase librarians’ knowledge and skills to help build children’s visual learning skills. VCB provided books and hands-on materials (including art materials) and information to librarians.

Children’s literature expert Grace Greene and art educator M.C. Baker presented visual literacy and hands-on art activities to librarians, respectively. Some of the topics discussed in the first section of the day included questions to consider when examining picture books with an eye to preschool children’s learning experiences: How does the illustrator use perspective? How would a particular book change if different colors were used? How do illustrators show movement? What techniques do illustrators use to convey a narrative in wordless picture books?

Baker led small-group art activities so that librarians could experience them first-hand. These activities included:

  • “Something Out of Nothing”: one person at the table draws a doodle and everyone takes turns adding something to the drawing until it becomes something else.
  • Transforming an ordinary ballpoint pen into a special writing and drawing instrument (using clay and other materials). This showed librarians how children can look closely at everyday objects and notice design.
  • Origami activities: using one square piece of paper and transforming it into something else.

Librarians were given a set of 11 picture books plus one professional book (Reading Picture Books With Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See by Megan Dowd Lambert and Laura Vaccaro Seeger; Penguin, 2015). The rest of the titles were published in 2016-17 and were selected for diversity in characters, genre, illustration, story and design. Librarians were each given an “art kit” so that they could replicate with children and families the activities they had experienced at the training conference.

Librarians received additional picture books in summer 2018, plus additional resources about wordless picture books and a wordless picture books bibliography.

The program was funded by the A.D. Henderson Foundation and the Vermont Department of Libraries.

What’s the BIG Idea? Math and Science in the Library

What’s the BIG Idea was developed with funding provided by the National Science Foundation. All of the content (activities, family programs, Discovery Centers) was first tested by 57 librarians from Houston Public Library, the state of Delaware, and the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System in upstate New York and new Vermont locations (Springfield and Bennington). These four systems provided a mix of libraries from large, small, urban and rural areas.

During the pilot phase these librarians engaged in four conferences focusing on ideas critical to children’s acquisition of basic math and science skills and concepts: Patterns and Relationships, Numbers and Operations, Change Over Time and Geometry and Spatial Sense. A National Advisory Panel informed the development of the program.

The participating librarians converted what they learned into hundreds of programs in local libraries using project-created informational resources, books, and hands-on materials. In addition, they enriched their circulating collections and outreach with kits for families.

 Available for purchase: What’s the BIG Idea? Librarian Starter Kit, Librarian Manual and family circulating kits.

Red Clover Award: Vermont’s Children’s Choice Picture Book Award

For Educators

We will offer STEM in the Early Years at the Early Childhood Institute at Castleton University, July 23-26. Register today for this three-credit (undergrad or graduate) course! In addition to three credits, students will receive training, picture books and hands-on materials to use with children in their care. This is an interactive, hands-on course.

We’re also conducting four two-day STEM in the Early Years trainings in the Middlebury, Bradford, Manchester/Arlington and Milton areas in the Summer/Fall of 2018.

If you have questions about any of these trainings, please email Wendy or call 802-875-2751 ext. 107.

Mother Goose Cares About Math and Science

Do you work as an educator with groups of young children? Are you a child-care provider, homeschooler, librarian or science museum educator? If so, Mother Goose Cares About Math and Science will help you to:

  • Use math, science and literacy in your interactions with children.
  • Use picture books and investigations to promote conversations, language skills and higher order thinking.
  • Engage children in hands-on investigations that help them explore math, science and literacy skills and concepts.
  • Find diverse ways to use picture books for all kinds of learning.
  • Learn how to use math, science and language and literacy standards.

Course participants receive a full set of picture books, curriculum manual and hands-on learning materials for use with children ages 3-7.

More Than Feelings: Social-Emotional Development in Young Children

Everyone knows how important reading and talking to infants and toddlers is. It not only helps develop early language and literacy skills, but it can also be a powerful way to support the early development of the social-emotional skills all children need to be successful.

In this training educators practice hands-on activities and strategies for using books not only to build language and literacy skills, but to directly support relationships, emotional vocabulary, belonging and self-regulation in infants and toddlers. They will also learn to make explicit connections to help families support children’s development. In addition to receiving sets of books and hands-on materials to use in their practice, providers will also receive sets of books and informational materials for parents so that the learning may continue at home.

1-2-3 Read to Me: Math and Literacy in the Early Years

The goal of this program is to bring early mathematics and literacy learning experiences, knowledge and concepts to children ages 0-3 through the use of picture books, conversations and age-appropriate hands-on learning materials.

Educators will:

  • use picture books and hands-on learning materials with children from ages 0-3.
  • to interact with children—read, have conversations during daily routines—using the books and materials.
  •  transfer information, books and a hands-on learning materials to the parents of the children in their care.

MothMother Goose Cares About the Early Years

Mother Goose Cares About the Early Years uses books and early learning materials to provide a framework to better understand all the developmental areas of children from birth to 36 months. The program provides early childhood educators, and other adults who work with infants and toddlers, with the concepts and skills needed to introduce language and literacy to infants and toddlers.

Do you work as an educator with groups of infants and toddlers? Are you a child-care provider, homeschooler or librarian? If so, Mother Goose Cares About the Early Years will help you to:

  •  Use picture books in all areas of your work with infants and toddlers.
  • Use many developmentally appropriate and stimulating activities for infants and toddlers
  • Review, refresh or discover basic concepts of infant and toddler development
  • Engage children in complex conversations.

Course participants receive a full set of picture books, curriculum manual and hands-on learning materials for use with children ages 3-7.

Mother Goose Cares About Social Studies

Do you work as an educator with groups of young children? Are you a child-care provider, homeschooler, librarian or science museum educator? If so, Mother Goose Cares About Math and Science will help you to:

  •  Identify and expand social studies themes and concepts in your interactions with children.
  • Use picture books and related explorations to promote conversations, language skills and vocabulary development.
  • Engage children in hands-on activities that help them understand social studies and literacy skills
  • Learn ways to communicate with families.
    Course participants receive a full set of picture books, curriculum manual and hands-on learning materials for use with children ages 3-7.


Mother GooseEducation standards help educators bring focus and intention to their work with children.  Any professional who works with children is now expected to know about standards and incorporate them into their practice.  When used appropriately, standards have a positive effect on children’s learning.  Standards are designed to answer these questions:

What should children learn?
When should they learn it?
What outcomes can be expected?

Young children need hands-on experiences that allow them to explore over and over.  They need to use a variety of materials and tools, talk about what they are doing, ask questions and try to find answers.

Children_NotesEarly Learning Standards
Several states have adopted excellent standards for children from birth to preschool. Vermont’s Early Learning Standards have just been released in Fall 2015.

Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics
The state-led effort to develop the Common Core State Standards was launched in 2009 by state leaders, including governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia, through their membership in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). State school chiefs and governors recognized the value of consistent, real-world learning goals and launched this effort to ensure all students, regardless of where they live, are graduating high school prepared for college, career, and life. (link TK)

Next Generation Science Standards
New K-12 science standards have been developed that are rich in content and practice, organized around disciplines and grades to provide benchmarked science education. The NGSS is based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council. (link TK)

About us

Giraffe_72_medVermont Center for the Book disseminates a wide variety of its Mother Goose Programs™ to increase children’s knowledge, school readiness, success and self-esteem by building the knowledge, skills and confidence of parents, librarians and educators. These professional development programs provide adults with picture books, guides, materials and training, transforming reading with children into multidimensional and powerful learning experiences.

As an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, we work within a network of 50 state-center affiliates to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries locally, regionally and nationally.

We also work closely nationally with public libraries, state libraries, child-care organizations, health and human services agencies, elementary schools, Head Start and science museums, among other organizations.

We still rely on grants and donations from private foundations and individuals who understand the importance of engaging education professionals and families in the early learning lives of children. That support directly impacts children’s opportunities and ensures success in school and in life.

Vermont Center for the Book was established as the Vermont Reading Project in 1985 by founder Sally Anderson, VCB’s Executive Director.  In January 1994 the Vermont Reading Project became the Vermont Center for the Book. VCB is a non-profit tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) corporation with a volunteer board. The name Mother Goose Programs™ was adopted as the public persona of the organization in 2003.

 Mother Goose Programs are used in more than 30 states and hundreds of professionals and thousands of parents have been introduced to these programs. As a private non-profit organization, VCB has a variety of funding sources: the National Science Foundation, Jane’s Trust, the Henderson Foundation, Verizon Foundation, the State of Vermont, the Agnes Varis Trust, the Turrell Fund, and private individuals. Most recently VCB has partnered with the Vermont Department of Libraries through Vermont’s Early Literacy Initiative (VELI) and a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (VELI-STEM).

Shapes_Parents_MGBoard of Directors
Sally Anderson, President, Ex Officio
James M. Alic, Chair , Ludlow, VT
Jeanne Davis, Pownal, VT
Bruce Farr
, Ludlow, VT
Grace W. Greene
, Barre, VT
Rachel Hunter, North Springfield, VT
Kristi Jemtegaard, Arlington, VA