Librarian Secrets: STORYTIME IS AWESOME!
Have you ever taken a child to library storytime? At the Bay County Library System, we currently offer morning and evening storytimes for children under 6 years old. At BCLS’s free storytimes, you can expect to hear stories read by one of our trained presenters, sing some songs, and participate in activities with a group of similarly-aged children. Storytimes are a great way to get out of the house and make friends while also practicing early literacy skills. And did I mention they are FREE?!?
If you haven’t tried BCLS’s storytimes yet, here are some tips:
Find a Schedule and Register:
- Check our online Calendar of Events to register for a storytime near you. We will be starting our spring session the week of March 11th and it will run for 7 weeks. You do not have to be a resident of Bay County to come to one of our storytimes or have a library card (but we would be happy to sign you up for one!) You can also call or stop by the branch you would like attend for storytime to register.
What to Expect:
- Try to arrive a few minutes before storytime starts as each branch has a different procedure for beginning their program.
- Children coming to their first storytime session take a few weeks to adjust. Wide ranges of reactions to first storytimes are normal: children may cry, sit silently, or wander around the room. Storytime leaders are used to this! Some kids take longer to get used to the flow of storytime but after a few weeks of regular attendance, they will amaze you! Children are more likely to participate if their adult caregiver is enthusiastically demonstrating the songs along with the storytime leader—so sing along, do the hand motions to “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and clap when the stories are finished!
- Storytime leaders may share different types of storytelling: puppets, flannelboards, or oral storytelling methods may all be used, in addition to reading aloud from picture books.
- If your child would benefit from leaving the room for a break or a bathroom visit, please leave to attend to them and come back in a few minutes.
- After storytime, more social time is available to stay and play with the other families, either in the program room itself or back in the children’s department, depending on the branch’s schedule.
Extend the Fun to Home!
- Many storytimes feature repeated elements from week to week—a great way for your children to learn to participate is by practicing the songs at home. You can use a flat sheet or towel to practice parachute rhymes and fashion scarves can substitute for music scarves for at-home use. Many kids use FaceTime to show off their storytime knowledge to grandparents!
- Check out books or CDs featured in the programs! If your child enjoyed a particular item from the storytime, you can borrow it from the library. Some favorite musical artists you might hear at storytime: Caspar Babypants, Jim Gill, Raffi, and Laurie Berkner.
Anne Clark is the Children’s Coordinator for the Bay County Library System and the mom of two young children.
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