Parent and Professional Resources

Toy Library Language and Literacy Resource

Parent and Professional Resources

Diversity and Kinship Literacy Play

Toy Library Diversity Kinship Literacy

With funding from a Bloomsburg University Margin of Excellence Award, Mary Katherine Duncan, Sheila Dove Jones, Yanhui Pang, Nancy Edwards, and Jean Downing in consultation with Nina Edgerton of the James V. Brown Library (Williamsport) identified children’s books that celebrate human diversity and highlight human kinship.

Mary Katherine Duncan's revised and updated booklet encourages children to reflect on experiences of human kinship and diversity by considering their unique profiles of positive traits. This revised booklet includes a list of recommended titles whose main characters or themes highlight character strengths related to each of the six human virtues: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

This booklet also includes suggestions for story-related activities aimed at honoring the different ways that people process information (Gardner, 1993, 2006). The recommended activities are intended to facilitate children’s reflections on their positive traits.

Most of the resources needed to engage children in the suggested activities are available at the BU Toy Library including:

  • books and puppets (linguistic intelligence); puzzles and science materials (logical-mathematical intelligence)
  • die cuts and craft supplies (spatial intelligence)
  • movement props (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)
  • instruments (musical intelligence), materials that allow for social interactions and independent activities (interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences, respectively)
  • and resources that facilitate outdoor experiences (naturalistic intelligence)
  • Sensory Literacy

    Toy Library Sensory Literacy

    This booklet highlights books and toys that can help children explore their sensory processing capabilities, sensitivities, and preferences through play. Laurie Ganey and Dr. Mary Katherine Duncan have compiled a list of sensory literacy and play resources available at the BU Toy Library. Resources include books and toys specific to vision, audition, olfaction, gustation, tactile sensation, proprioception, and the vestibular sense.

    The resources profiled in this booklet were purchased with funds from a Teaching and Learning Enhancement (TALE) Center Teacher-Scholar Award presented to Mary Katherine Duncan (Department of Psychology).

    Because some of these resources are rather pricey, Laurie Ganey (with support from fellow psychology majors, Ashlie Hess and Emily Haines) has identified similar Do-It-Yourself resources that can be fashioned in little time and at a nominal cost.

    Do You Sense What I Sense?

    Toy Library Sensory Literacy

    This workbook summarizes some of the most up-to-date information about brain structure and function. More specifically, the workbook focuses on how the brain makes sense of the world by using information that it receives from your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin.

    The workbook also includes simple, low-cost neuroscience-inspired hands-on activities, self-tests of your knowledge about the brain and how it works, as well as links to interesting online resources. Checklists embedded throughout the workbook encourage you to think about how you perceive the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches that surround you each day.

    Health Literacy Play

    Health literacy refers to the ability to read, understand, and act on health-related information. Individuals with low functional health literacy (e.g., children) are less likely to understand health-related information and to act in accordance with health professionals’ recommendations and instructions. Access to developmentally appropriate reference materials on childhood physical morbidities (e.g., asthma and obesity), psychological morbidities (e.g., ADHD and anxiety), and developmental conditions (e.g., learning disabilities and pervasive developmental disorders) may advance children’s knowledge about common health conditions, encourage children to take a more active and positive role in safeguarding their health, and promote children’s sensitivity and responsiveness to those affected by a broad range of health issues.

    Funded through the Bloomsburg University College of Liberal Arts’ Curricular Enhancement Fund, Mary Katherine Duncan, Ph.D., and students enrolled in Developmental Psychopathology (PSYCH337) created a reference library of health literacy materials for families, children, and youth. All titles are published by Magination Press, an imprint of the American Psychological Association.

    As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback! Please send your comments to

    Well Child Check Up

    BU Bibliotek

    With funding from a Bloomsburg University TALE Teacher-Scholar Award, Mary Katherine Duncan, Ph.D., developed BU Bibliotek to provide a resource for the children and youth in our area who experience traumatic events that threaten their psychological well-being. The selection of books was informed by Janoff-Bulman’s cognitive theory of traumatic stress. Briefly, Janoff-Bulman posited that basic assumptions such as ‘the world is a safe and predictable place,’ ‘others are benevolent and trustworthy,’ and ‘the self is competent and worthy of love’ are learned and confirmed through early and ongoing interactions with caregivers.

    Over time and with experience, these assumptions are gradually modified into more guardedly optimistic beliefs such as ‘the world is a relatively safe, place but unexpected things happen,’ ‘others are generally kind, but not everyone and not always,’ and ‘the self is competent at many things, but incompetence is also a reality.”

    In contrast, traumatic events elicit an abrupt shattering of these basic assumptions and yield maladaptive beliefs such as ‘the world is unsafe,’ ‘others are malevolent,’ and ‘the self is incapable of doing anything about it.’ Children’s literature provides a safe and familiar medium with which parents, professionals, and paraprofessionals may begin restoring children’s more guardedly optimistic perspectives on the self, the world, and others. Jump over to Amazon to view book descriptions and images.

    As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback! Please send your comments to

    Book List