Fun at Storytime

One of my favorite parts of my job is sharing stories with the kids at storytime. Storytime has been something that I’ve enjoyed since I was little. My mom will tell you how I asked her to read Green Eggs and Ham again and again when I was a preschooler – and I had the book memorized, so she couldn’t skip a page, lest I complain. There’s also a picture of me in preschool playing “teacher,” reading (or pretending to read) a story to the rest of the kids. Fast forward a couple of decades, I remember when I worked in childcare, I loved when I got the chance to read to the kids one-on-one. The kids would ask for one book again and again – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. There’s just something about the rhythm and the part where all the letters fall off the tree that makes kids love that one, and I loved being able to read it to them.

dooby dooby mooNow that I’m a Children’s Librarian, I get to read to kids three times a week. We have Storytimes where all ages are welcome on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 11:15 am, and Tuesday evenings at 6 pm. The kids get to experience the fun of hearing a few stories, but that’s not all! They also get to sing some songs (often with actions, for added fun) and make a craft that relates to the theme of the week.

Believe it or not, these activities have been shown to be beneficial for children’s learning. Even before they can read, children are learning that letters make up words – and we can reinforce this lesson by reading books aloud to them. Songs are a good way for younger children who are still learning to talk to learn more words. Songs also help older children gain awareness of the individual sounds (phonics) that make up words. And crafts help children remember what they have read about.

So, if you make an ice cream craft, you can later look at it and remember reading and singing about ice cream. And of course having fun at storytime helps kids learn that books are fun, and this will hopefully encourage them to read once they learn how! Even if a child can’t quite pay attention to all of the stories or even a whole story, they are still learning that books are fun. This is one of the most important things to learn about books at a young age, since a background of positive interactions with books will make kids more willing to do the hard part of sounding out words later.

Turns out that this week is “National Farm Animals Awareness Week,” so at storytime this week we’ll be reading about one of the most popular farm animals that you see in the fields of Kansas, the cow! I don’t want to give away all of my secrets, but the craft will also be cow-related. Bring your ability to “moo.” Join us at the library on Tuesday or Thursday morning at 11:15 or Tuesday night at 6 for fun with cow stories, songs, and a craft.

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