Every week children ages zero to five and their parents visit the closest library to participate in baby lapsit, tot and preschool storytimes. These storytimes are geared toward enhancing literacy, language and reading preparation for children from the earliest ages.
According to a study performed by the American Psychological Association, "Most parents know that reading bedtime stories to preschoolers is key to developing early literacy. But new research by psychologists suggests it takes more than nightly reading to foster a child's future reading success. Parents, teachers and others who read to children must also engage young children with lively, enthusiastic recitations that bring characters and plots to life, and pose open-ended questions that spark children's comprehension, vocabulary and interest.
"Libraries help parents achieve success by modeling fun activities that go along with reading. From fingerplays and songs to puppets and big picture books, children become excited about language and stories. We read aloud to children for the same reasons we talk with them — to reassure, entertain, bond, inform, arouse curiosity and inspire," says Adriana Chavira, librarian at the Delta Library. Chavira has had success with the program there for some time now and has averaged 30-40 children and parents in the weekly program. In the district, the program average about 180 participants per week.
The programs include age-appropriate reading aloud as well as fingerplays and songs, crafts or activities to reenact or reinforce the stories. The craft or activity can include everything from puppet shows to pop-up books. The goal is to promote the development of motor skills and creativity in the children, further expanding the experience. And, of course, parents and children check out materials to take home so that the fun continues after the visit to the library.
"Kids too often can think of books as a place of toil, and not delight. The storytime program instills an entirely different perception in the minds of its youngest patrons," says Richard Imhoff of Eckert. He is a patron of the Cedaredge Library and his grandchildren have grown up in the program. His 11-year-old grandson Ryan is often seen at home curled up reading a book with a smile on his face. He attributes this to his participation in storytimes at a young age.
Other parents have also instantly seen a difference in their children. Many of the parents have seen not only a difference in the engagement level as it pertains to literacy, but also in their social skills. "I bring my children to both tot and [preschool] storytime because it gives them an opportunity to socialize with children their own age," said Lacy Greenhalgh.
"The hope is that through these programs the children will grow up to have a love for reading," said regional manager Lea Hart. "We are competing with so many distractions today, and in many cases this is the only exposure to reading that young children receive prior to entering kindergarten."blog comments powered by Disqus