The Mother Goose on the Loose Blog



Human parents often speak in “parentese” to their babies; a new study shows that dophins do the same thing!


Here’s another article:

Heading from article: Dolphin moms use 'baby talk" with their calves, rare among non-human species.
Heading from article: Dolphin moms use ‘baby talk” with their calves, rare among non-human species.


All About Play


I was recently introduced to a wonderful blog about called “Play Makes Us Human” by Peter Gray, a Boston college research professor.  It is hosted on Substack, which gives the ability for readers to comment.  There is a free option in addition to paid subscriptions.  Check out a few of the blog posts below!

I could not individually link each post, so click here to view the entire page of blogposts.


Link to Blog Post 11: Age-Mixed Play II: It's Benefits for Social Development
Blog post #10: The special Value of Age-Mixed Play I: How Age Mixing Promotes Learning
Blog post #9: Why Adult Directed Sports Are No Substitute for Kid-Directed Play
Blog Post #7" Beyond Groos: A Biological Theory of Education
Blog Post #6 Qualities of Play that Make It Idea for Acquiring Skills

Transforming Storytime Beyond the Book


It’s the first week of May, and I’m in Indianapolis, ready to present at the IAEYC Conference.  The first presentation , which will take place tomorrow at 3:15, is called “Transforming Storytime Beyond the Book.” It is a shorter, condensed version of my book Transforming Preschool Storytime (published by Neal-Schuman in 2013). 

Earlier this year,  I met Jennie Spencer at a “Conscious Discipline” training in Wicomico County, MD. The material she covered was impressive, she was charismatic and engaging, and I knew right away that I wanted to work on something together with her.  We are both committed to helping children be the best they can be by using gentle, loving, and fun techniques, This presentation is our first joint project.

Making a powerpoint for a presentation that explains and honors Conscious Discipline along withthe Mother Goose on the Loose philosophy has been lots of fun.

Available to everyone for free download is this hand-out that is meant to help planning a book experience that touches upon multiple intelligences and awakens all sorts of skills.

An additional hand-out, from an earlier workshop Transforming Preschool Storytime Workshop for librarians can be downloaded from here:  This focuses more on school readiness skills and social and emotional skills.

My other presentation will be on Saturday with Dana Antonelli, Mother Goose on the Loose at the Champaign Public Library in Champaign, IL. Dana rides the library’s Goosemobile around town,  bringing MGOL to a wide selection on people there. We will be presenting on Sharing Fun Early Literacy Practices with MGOL. It is also our first time presenting together and I’m looking forward to it. The hand-out for that presentation can be downloaded from:

If you are attending the conference and see this blogpost, feel free to come over and say hi!

Using the board book, Hello, My World in new ways


Last week, Dorothy Stoltz and I travelled to Cecil County, Maryland to observe their first Mother Goose on the Loose Hatchlings: Ready to Hatch program. Librarian Summer Rosswog presented the program to a sizeable group of expectant parents. 

Hatchlings uses the board book, Hello, My World as an example of a high contrast book that infants can see, and the facilitator models how the book can be shared with infants in different ways: talking about the pictures, singing a song about them, asking questions and reading the book aloud.

Taylor O’Bryan is “The Ginger Goose”, an antepartum & postpartum doula who attended the session to talk about the services she offers. (If you are interested, check her out on Summer had just finished describing the different ways to share Hello, My World listed above when Taylor contributed to the conversation. 

Taylor shared that she had used  Hello, My World almost every day with her daughter when she was young, and they created a routine that had a song  or activity for each page:

Hello Sun – Sing: “You are my Sunshine”
What’s going on, bird? – Ask: What does a bird say?” “Chirp, chirp, chirp…” (x3)
Bonjour, flowers – Count to three in French: “un, deux, trois” (x3)
What’s up clouds? – Sing: “Rain, Rain, Go Away” 
Hola, baby – Count to three in Spanish, “uno, dos, tres” (x3)
Hello, toys – Sing: “The ABC Song”
Good to see you, puppy – Ask: “What does a puppy say?” “Woof, woof.” (3x)
Ni hao, stars – Sing: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
Looking good, moon – Sing: “Skinamarink a dink…”

I thought this was a really cool idea and asked Taylor if I could share it with other librarians. She ready agreed, and even wrote out her schedule of activities for each page for me. 


Sylvia Hennessie, Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist,
Howard County Library System, Miller Branch shares “Hello, My World”
during a Hatchlings session.

The Invisible Toolbox


During the first week of April, I travelled to England, to the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University. Literacy leaders from around the globe convened for three days in the historic university town to talk about the state of literacy, the projects that they have been running successfully, and what can be done to improve literacy internationally. I hope to use the blog for the next few entries to highlight some of the amazing people I met and projects I learned about.

Just before my presentation on Mother Goose on the Loose was a presentation by Kim Jocelyn Dickson on “The Invisible Toolbox.” She proudly proclaims that “Reading aloud to your child from birth is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give.” The Toolbox she refers to is the foundation given to children in the earliest years when their parents talk, sing, share books, and play with them . As a former elementary school teacher, she writes,

“Those who have been introduced to the world of books by being read to show up with a Toolbox overflowing with language, stories, and virtual experiences that provide a foundation for understanding the world of school and learning. They are motivated to learn to read because they already know there is something in it for them.” (p.14)

Much of what Kim spoke about directly supports MGOL. I was so impressed by her presentation that I made it a point to introduce myself to her afterward.  She was selling copies of her book, The Invisible Toolbox, and I got one to read on the plane.  Not only is it written in an engaging way, but the language she uses is perfect for developmental tips for parents.

Here are few of my favorites:

  • “As parents, we all — regardless of where we come from — want the world for our children. We do everything we can to help them develop fully into who they are meant to be so that they can have meaningful lives. Reading to them from birth – or even before- is a powerful place to start.” (p.17)
  • “The neural connections that begin to form in utero set about building an internal infrastructure that is the foundation of a child’s future social, emotional, and intellectual growth. Their inborn drive to connect means that they not only desire our touch, they also want to hear from us.” (p.20)
  • “When we speak, sing, and read to our child from birth, this loving way of engaging builds neural pathways in the brain that become the physical infrastructure for all future learning and loving. Learning, therefore, is connection, rooted in relationship.” (p.22)
  • “Speaking, singing, and reading aloud honor our infant’s drive to bond with us and nurture the emerging internal infrastructure that will carry them into future learning and life.” (p. 24)
  • “The child who has been read to arrives at school with not only a greater knowledge base than their peer who has not been read to, but a greater experience base, an expanded capacity to imagine, and the crown jewel: intellectual curiosity, or the intrinsic desire to know more.”(p.43)
  • “The brain networks that are used to understand stories are the same networks used to understand social interactions with others….A capacity to understand others who are different from oneself and to empathize with them is an important tool that is essential not only for school but for life.” (p.44)
  • “Reading fiction develops the capacity for empathy. As we enter the world of the story, not only the experiences, but also the characters become real for us. In short, children who have been read to learn how to think and feel and express themselves.” (p.45)8
  • “Reading aloud nurtures the parent-child connection. When reading aloud is part of a daily family routine, it provides a steady point of connection both parent and child can look forward to and count on. practicing this daily ritual communicates not only that reading is important, but that the child is important. Snuggling and cuddling up together with a book creates feelings of warmth and can even provide a bit of an oasis from daily pressures and burdens.” (p.52)
  • “Your child does not have to be sitting in your lap in order for you to read to them. If they wriggle off your lap to explore a toy, you can keep right on reading.”(p.71)
  • “To encourage cuddle time while reading, it is best to catch your busy mover when they are in a less active mode. A great time for snuggling while reading is right after the evening bath before bed.  Just after waking from a nap is also a prime time for reading and cuddling, as it makes for a comforting transition from sleep to wakefulness.”(p.71)
  • “Be sure to introduce nursery rhymes to your child…Children of this age (older babies and toddlerhood) love the repetition, the rhyme, the wordplay, and the surprises of these classic verses and will want to hear them over and over. They will delight your child as they build critical pre-reading skills such as recognizing rhyming words. Elementary teachers everywhere can tell you of their despair that parents no longer share nursery rhyme with their children.” (p.71)
  • “Talk, Read, and Sing to Your Baby Right from the Start. Because hearing is the most highly developed sense at birth, your baby is tuned in to you right from the start. It may not look like much is going on, but the neurons in your baby’s brain are already at work, making connections and actively distinguishing sounds. And remember, the love you communicate through your sounds, touch, and good will in unequivocally understood.”  (p.85)
  • “While reading from birth doesn’t guarantee that a child will not be challenged in some way, it will build a foundation of skills and important emotional support that will prepare them for meeting the world of school to the very best of their ability.” (p. 91-92)


The quotes are just the tip of the iceberg!

If you are looking for more common sense advice for parents that supports the 5 practices of Every Child Ready to Read in simple language and is great for use as developmental tips, check out Kim’s book!