Library Storytimes Benefit Brain Development
Who doesn’t love storytime?!?! I know we do! As an early childhood educator and now a mom, I know the importance of reading to and with children. Northern Kentucky’s county librarians also know the importance. All of our libraries have some great staff dedicated to instilling a love of reading in our children. Jennifer Timmerman, Youth Services Manager at Boone County Public Library’s Scheben Branch said, “Attending storytimes at the library exposes a child to different experiences and increases their knowledge of how the world works. Children with this background knowledge soar when they begin to read because they can connect their real experiences with stories they read.” Instill a love of reading in your children as early as possible!
“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” – Garrison Keillor
The Boone County Library recently described how important and necessary pre-reading and reading activities are to a child’s brain development:
“It’s true that kids have fun at storytime, but fun isn’t all they are getting out of these drop-in sessions. Boone County Public Library’s storytimes are full of pre-reading activities such as singing, dancing, rhyming and listening to stories. A study by Judy MacLean found that preschool literacy programs – like library storytimes – do make a difference: “There is evidence to support that such activities as reading, singing and playing with children, can impact a child’s brain development and subsequently help provide them with the pre-reading skills they need to start school.” (MacLean, Judy. Library Preschool Storytimes: Developing Early Literacy Skills in Children, 2008)
“Librarians have been reading stories to children for years,” said Greta Southard, Library Director, “but with advances in brain science and early education, library storytimes have become more than just a place to hear a story. Library storytimes today are actually early literacy classes.” Boone County Public Library’s storytime librarians have been trained on the Every Child Ready to Read Initiative (ECRR) through the American Library Association. ECRR takes the best practices from early literacy development research and applies them in a library setting for storytime. Because parents are the first and most important teachers in a child’s life, the initiative stresses supporting caregivers in that role.
Boone County Public Library’s enhanced Storytimes provide opportunities for families to experience literacy together. The format is practical for parents because the activities are based on things that parents can do with their children every day. Children, and their caregivers, read stories, play games, dance, sing songs and participate in hands-on activities. Each family goes home with a “Take Home Fun Card” loaded with activities and helpful early literacy tips that can be done at home.
“One of the most important practices we engage in during storytime is PLAY,” said Tyra LaVerne, Early Literacy Specialist. “Play is often dismissed as ‘just fun’, but play is how children learn about and interact with their world. Through play, they develop new skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem solving and collaboration.”
The Library’s storytimes are held year-round with three, month-long breaks in May, August and December. Library staff use the breaks to gather materials and plan for the next session of
Storytime. Storytime is offered at a variety of times throughout the week, in the morning, afternoon and evening as well as on Saturdays. Families are invited to drop in (no registration needed) to participate.
Boone County Public Library also offers two specialized Storytimes: Sensory and Spanish Storytimes.
Sensory Storytime is designed for children, of any age, with sensory sensitivities and it is held every Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, as well as the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Spanish Storytime (Tiempo de Cuentos) is for ages birth to five years and is offered every Friday at the Florence Branch, 7425 US 42, at 10:30 a.m. Spanish speaking families and families learning to speak Spanish are welcome to participate in this Storytime.” – Boone County Library Release. January 2014
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” – Emilie Buchwald