Stories, puppets, music, crafts, special guests. No, it’s not the newest show on PBS Kids and it's not day camp. It’s storytime at the public library!
Since the first
library storyhours were held in 1906,
storytimes have been the cornerstone of public libraries’ program
offerings. Yet, those simple storytimes are not as simple as they appear.
Today’s programs are much more than reading books out loud to a group of
children. They are designed to promote a love of reading and the library and to
encourage the development of literacy skills. All of the activities are
developmentally appropriate so a lapsit for babies and young toddlers is very
different than a preschool or all ages storytime.
Sessions for our little book lovers
are designed to engage children, while modeling early literacy activities that
parents and caregivers can continue at home. They include short interactive
books, songs, finger and bouncing rhymes, and play time. Sessions for older
children or mixed age groups are planned around popular themes and often
include craft projects.
We also bring in special guests from the community share information with families. Recently, Kathleen Demien from the North Shore Health Department visited a summer storytime to talk about health and nutrition. Members from the North Shore Fire Department are annual visitors to the preschool storytimes.
Obviously, we want kids to associate books, reading and the library with fun times. Behind the entertainment, storytimes are building and strengthening the six basic skills needed to become lifelong readers: interest in books, narrative skills, enriched vocabulary, phonological awareness, print awareness, and letter knowledge. All activities are carefully chosen to stimulate early literacy development - from using nametags to promote letter recognition to chanting "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on The Bed" to develop a sense of sound and rhythm, as well as teach simple counting.Of course, we know that none of that will have an impact if kids aren’t interested in what is being presented. They don’t ask if storytime has educational value; they want to know if it’s fun. We make sure it is!
The Shorewood Library’s schedule of fall/winter programs will be available in mid to late August.
-Heide Piehler, Youth Services Librarian