Welcome to the Library!  There's a lot for your little ones to do and discover in the Kids & Teens Department, and it's all educational and fun:

Discovery Play Center | Early Literacy Stations | Puppet Stage | Marble Wall | Activity Centers | Fun House Mirror


Discovery Play Center

One of our favorite features in Kids & Teens is our 3-sided Discovery Play Center, which includes a LEGO wall, a felt wall, and a magnetic art board.



lego wall2 300wLEGOs are a wonderful, popular toy that have been around since 1940.  One side of our discovery play center is a LEGO wall.  We have several bins of LEGO pieces with which children are invited to build and create to their heart's content.  LEGOs can help improve your child's STEM (Science, Technology, Engeineering, Math) skills:

  • Kids develop lateral thinking in a fun environment
  • It teaches kids to think in three dimensions
  • Kids develop problem-solving, organization, and planning by construction
  • It improves creativity
  • It enhances communication and critical thinking
  • It boosts kids motor development

And LEGOs are just, plain fun!  Even adults still love play with them (go ahead, we know you want to).


felt wall 300wFelt Wall

Our felt wall provides fun, educational opportunities to build important, basic skills in readiness, reading, math, and understanding spatial concepts. With our assortment of Velcro blocks, shapes, letters, and numbers, children can make designs, match upper and lowercase letters, form words, build short sentences, and even create simple equations, as well as more.

 magnetic art board 200w

Magnetic Art Board

Kids can have even more fun with our magnetic art board.  With magnetic shapes, gears, and building blocks, children can explore spatial concepts and pattern matching to create fun mix & match animals and people, as well as simple to complicated structures and designs.



AWE Early Literacy Stations

The Early Literacy Station™ (ELS), designed specifically for ages 2-8, and features over 4,000 localized learning activities, providing hours of education and fun.

awe early literacy station 300wThese stations are engaging and full of child-friendly images, sounds, songs, and videos. It is also a safe environment, as these stations are self-contained computers not connected to the Internet, keeping children away from unwarranted websites and content.

The fun, interactive, and engaging content spans all seven curricular areas: math, science & nature, social studies & geography, reading, art & music, writing & computer skills, and reference. The award-winning content is also aligned to STEM/STEAM and correlated to academic standards. These stations are ideal for all learning styles: auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic learners.

View the Content List of our AWE Early Literacy Stations.™



Puppet Stage

You and your child are invited to make use of our puppet stage in the Picture Book Room, along with our large selection of animal and people puppets.

Learning through play is an important aspect of childhood. Puppets are a fun way to help promote language, social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development:

  • puppet theater 400wLanguage Skills - As your child makes the puppets talk and interacts with other puppet players, they are developing their language skills: making the puppets talk back and forth; making the puppet ask and answer questions; imitating words and language patterns your child has heard, which practices annunciation and sentence structures; your child talking with other kids helps increase their vocabulary and even encourages a shy child to open up.
  • Social-Emotional Development - When playing puppets with a friend, your child must learn to share, take turns, be patient, and share space. Puppets are used by your child to recognize and relate to their feelings and the feelings of others.
  • Cognitive Development - Stories can be told and ideas acted out with the puppets. This kind of play helps foster creativity, imagination, abstract thinking, and sequencing. Hand puppets even help your child make the spatial connection between their hand and how it fits inside the puppet.
  • Physical Development - Fine motor skills are worked as your child moves the puppet’s head, arms, and body. Gross motor skills are strengthened when moving arms around, crouching below a puppet stage, and standing back up again. Balance and hand-eye coordination are learned as your child moves the puppet where they intend it to be located.

Our puppet stage was a generous donation made by the Friends of the Elmwood Park Public Library.  Thank you!


 marble panel 200wMarble Panel

Cool glass, sparkling light, gentle noise! You get it all with this Marvelous Marble Panel. Your kids will be entranced with this sensory panel, with more than 1,000 iridescent marbles illuminated by diffused lighting. As your kids turn the marbles, they receive visual, tactile, and aural sensory input, and experience a calming sensation.


Tabletop & Floor Activity Centersactivity centers 300w

Built for kids 18 months and up, these activity centers in our Picture Book Room have no loose parts, and encourage cooperative play with different activity panels.  Your child can practice color recognition, hand-eye coordination, and even counting.

Our activity centers were a generous donation made by the Friends of the Elmwood Park Public Library.  Thank you!


Fun House Mirror

fun house mirror 200w

An important aspect of your child's growth is developing self-awareness, and in a mirror your child can begin to recognize their self in their reflected image.  

Visit the fun house mirror along our upstairs balcony for a silly take on self-identity.  It captures the attention of both children and adults, as we laugh at ourselves and others with bodies that look short and round, long and tall, or twisted and squiggly. Life is so much better when you can learn to laugh at yourself a little.


Bulletin Boards

In our upstairs balcony area we also have two bulletin boards where we happily showcase little ones' art. Take a look and ask at the Kids & Teens Desk to see how to get your child's art on our boards. 


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early readers 400wFiction & Nonfiction Collections

Our Early Reader collection, located near the Kids & Teens Desk, consists of both fiction and nonfiction books for children learning to read on their own. All of the books in the collection are labeled with one of four colors to represent different levels of the Fountas-Pinnell guided reading level system, which is used in Elmwood Park's School District 401. See below for more information.

In the Early Reader fiction collection you can find Disney, LEGO, and other popular series and characters, as well as some of your favorite authors like O'Connor, Rylant, Seuss, Willems, and more.

In the Early Reader nonfiction collection, there are plenty of great introductions to nonfiction topics, organized alphabetically by subject, including:  Animals, Bugs, Careers, Celebrations, Food, Life Skills, People, Places, Plants, School, Space, Sports, Transportation, and Weather.  


Assisting Your Child

ready set read crop 200wOur colored labels are a guide for you to help choose the best books for your child. Try to take the child’s lead when starting on this new adventure. Everyone learns at different speeds. It is always okay to try books in other levels until you get the right fit or are ready to move up. It may also be helpful to try some challenging or easier books along with their current level to build confidence and reinforce skills.

Another way to decide if a book is appropriate is to have your child use the Five Finger Rule.

  • Read any page in a book.
  • For each unknown word, hold up one finger.
  • At the end of the page, if five fingers are up, the book is too hard.
  • If no fingers are up, the book is too easy.
  • If 2 or 3 fingers are up, then the book is just right! Give it a read.

What Letter is My Child?

Elmwood Park School District 401 uses the Fountas-Pinnell guided reading level system. While the Library does not indicate the exact letter for each book, our color coded labels align with the F-P system in the following way. Please use this as a guide when selecting books.  Click on a level to find out more.

early reader green   early reader yellow   early reader blue   early reader orange

Online Sources

These online tools can help to locate reading levels:

Just enter a book title or series. If it is included in the database, results will list all of the matching titles and reading levels. Other leveling systems will be included, but the Fountas-Pinnell system is often listed as “Guided Reading.”

Other Reading Level Systems

While the Lexile system is not used in our local schools, it may be referred to in parent guides, online sources, etc. Library staff can assist you in understanding other leveling systems and locating their Fountas-Pinnell equivalent.


Green - Getting Ready to Read

Green Level books help prepare kids to read. Recognizing letters, their sounds, and simple words, along with using pictures to decode text help new readers to become more comfortable and confident with books and reading.

These books are best when shared with an adult and include: early reader green

  • Matching letters and words with pictures
  • Clear visuals that give context clues to words
  • Large type with a lot of white space
  • Rhyming and word repetition

 Good examples of this level are:


Yellow - Beginning to Read

Yellow Level books help kids begin to read with assistance. They will pick out familiar words and use pictures to identify words and storyline.

These books include:early reader yellow

  • Sight words
  • Large type and a lot of white space
  • Simple sentence structure with a few words per sentence
  • Repetitive phrases
  • Illustrations to support comprehension

Good examples of this level are:


Blue - Beginning to Read on Your Own

In Blue Level books, familiarity and predictability are still important to young readers. However, they will begin to be more comfortable with unfamiliar words and rely less on picture support.

These books are a transition from beginning to more advanced titles and include:early reader blue 

  • Smaller print with less white space and several lines of text per page
  • Varied sentence structure, use of punctuation and verb tenses, with less repetition and rhyming
  • More complex stories with less picture support
  • May have short chapters

 Good examples of this level are:


Orange - Reading On Your Own

In Orange Level books, readers will be able to read on their own and comprehend most of the plot. They will not necessarily finish these books in one sitting.

These books include:early reader orange

  • Less illustrations
  • Rich vocabulary and more complex plots and themes
  • Detailed phrases and sentences, including contractions and conversations in quotes
  • Divided into chapters

Good examples of this level are:


 Transition to Chapter Books

While kids are successfully reading books at the Orange Level, they may express interest in reading longer chapter books and novels.

Chapter books are located in the J Fiction collection and include many popular series and characters. Other standards are:

  • Organized into chapters
  • Higher reading comprehension
  • More complex sentence structure
  • Full text filling the page without much white space
  • Limited pictures
  • Depth of ideas

Good examples of this level are:

For more book suggestions for the higher levels of M-Z, take a look at our other Fountas-Pinnell page.

Additional Materials

TAG Readers kits are available for checkout. Each kit comes with an electronic pen that reads letter sounds, blend sounds (such as “pl”), and words. These touch and talk devices are one of Leap Frog’s interactive educational products.

Hooked on Phonics allows parents to work directly with their child on reading skills and move them along the path to independent reading. It takes a learn-practice-read approach and is based on current research. Sets are divided into pre-reading, Kindergarten, First and Second grade. Take your child all the way through the system or pick the set that will assist where they are now.

Other fun options are phonics or reading-based DVDs and playing reading games on the educational game computers in the Preschool Room.


A Gift to Last a Lifetime

A library card is a wonderful gift for your child. It might be one of the first things that your child gets with his/her name on it. Choosing and checking out library materials and being responsible for them builds self-esteem, confidence in one’s choices, and independence.

There are no age restrictions for getting a card, however, parents must sign a permission form.

For more information, please check with the Circulation Services Desk.

kids teens staff1 600wWelcome to Kids & Teens

Our department is here to serve the needs of Kids & Teens from birth through high school. We provide all kinds of materials for check out and for use in the library as well as a wide variety of programming for those of all ages throughout the month. We are proud to offer programming that is not only fun but that also meets STEAM educational standards (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). In addition to this, we also provide outreach services to schools and other community organizations in the area. 

We are a proud group of Librarians and Library Associates who love what we do. We are thrilled to work with our patrons whether it's helping pick out the perfect book, finding the right research for a project, or teaching a new game or skill. We truly enjoy working with the families of Elmwood Park, and love the sense of community and encouragement we receive in return.

Test Preparation

While you search for the right college, the first step is to make sure you've taken the necessary tests to get in once you've picked your school.  These resources will help you prep for those tests:

  • ACT - The official  ACT site provides free practice test questions and tips for you to help prepare for the ACT, as well as a test day checklist and descriptions of the different portions you’ll encounter on the test.

  • AP - AP Students not only has practice test questions for numerous AP subjects, it also provides important dates to keep in mind leading up to the test to help you have a successful testing experience.

  • Kaplan Test Prep - Kaplan Test Prep offers you free practice tests for the SAT, ACT, and PSAT all in one place!

  • SAT - The College Board SAT Practice site provides you with free SAT practice tests and tutorials, study plans, tips, and the latest information on the test’s design and scoring.


Are you thinking of going to college to further your education and career paths?  Try out a few of these resources for finding the college or university that's right for you:

  • The College Board: College Search
    The College Board maintains an interactive search feature that provides you with various simple and quick ways to search for the perfect college for you.

  • Princeton Review: Colleges
    Whether you’re looking for a school based on factors like happiest students, party schools, by major or state, Princeton Review has many ways for you to do a college search.

  • US News: College Rankings
    U.S. News provides you with yearly rankings of the nation’s best colleges as well as tips on how you can pay for school.         


College is expensive.  Try these resources to find some help:

Try out our Explore-To-Go Kits collection! These kits contain books and exploratory activities for kids, families, and classrooms on a variety of topics. Our collection of kits include the following topics with even more to be added in the future:

  • Anatomyexploretogo spy 400w
  • Architechture
  • Astronomy
  • Bedtime Math
  • Braille
  • Computer Coding
  • Counting Money
  • Electricity
  • Engineering
  • Home Sick Kit
  • Knitting
  • Learn Spanish
  • Magnets
  • Motor Skills
  • Road Trip Kit
  • Super Spy Craft
  • Telling Time
  • Tying Shoes
  • Weaving

We are thrilled to offer these kits to parents and classrooms thanks to a generous donation from the Friends of the Elmwood Park Public Library.

Peter N. Silvestri Cultural and Learning Center | Serving Elmwood Park Since 1936