Why is Storytime Important?

Just sit right back and hear a tale, a tale from a wonderful book, that started at a storytime, held in the children’s room...

Hi, I’m Linda Clay, and I am the storytime librarian for the preschool group here at the Lawrence Public Library.  It’s my goal that everyone who attends my storytime, from the children to their parents/caregivers, will have a good time.  And while we are having fun, we will also be learning.  Learning is fun and I want everyone to experience that, too. 

At first glance, storytime seems like a simple thing to do—get some books and read them, right?  Well, not so fast.  What do you do when you have a large group of kids, say 40 or more?  How do you keep them all focused and engaged?  Or what about a small group with one very active child—what do you do?

Planning is key.  First, book selection is very important.  You want a story that has the elements you believe in and one that will interest children.  In other words, you should love the book yourself.  Then you must throw in some action rhymes and songs, puppets to enhance the story, colorful flannel pieces to help tell the story, etc.  These are all tools designed to keep the child’s attention.  Research has shown that when children are engaged, they are open to learning.  Early literacy skills are vital at this age. 

What is early literacy?  Early literacy is everything a child needs to know about reading and writing before he or she can read or write.  This would include such things as knowing how to hold a book, letter recognition, hearing vocabulary, narrative skills and, most importantly, developing a love for books. 

Rhyming is essential when it comes to learning to read.  I love this quote of Mem Fox from her book, Reading Magic. She states: “Rhymers will be readers:  it’s that simple.  Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.”  Who doesn’t love “Mary had a little Lamb”, “Itsy, bitsy Spider”, and many, many more?

I want children ready to enter kindergarten with the necessary skills for success.  Early literacy skills are certainly one, but also being able to be in a group setting, follow simple rules, and listening are key to school success as well.  All these elements can be found in storytime!

Craft time comes after storytime.  I love to reinforce the theme of the week, be it dogs, farm, fall, etc.  I give an example of the craft, but I also tell them this is only an example and anything they create will be wonderful.  Fine motor skills are used: dexterity with using crayons and glue sticks, creativity is sparked by their imaginations, and pride at creating a piece of art all by themselves.  So with planning, storytime will certainly be fun as well as educational. 

The library offers a storytime every day of the week.

Please ask at the children's desk, check out our events online, or give us a call for more info. 

I am so proud of each and every child that attends my storytime.  They do all I ask them to do, such as watching me and listening.  They are all so very precious!  I am so thankful for the opportunity to get to know them and their wonderful families.  Thank you so much, Lawrence!!

So, please join us each week my friends, you’re sure to get a smile!  And some learning might be happening too!