What should families expect at storytime?

Library staff is often asked about storytime and questions are usually accompanied by a nervous laugh and the phrase, “My child just doesn’t sit still.” Our philosophy is based on learning while having fun in a relaxed environment. So what should the grown-ups expect? Movement. Music. Mayhem. Ok, well maybe not full-on mayhem, but there will be a lot of action. Toddlers are not known for sitting still or long attention spans and toddler story time is geared to them. Youth Services Coordinator Elizabeth Argo often says that storytime is not for sitting still. However, some of you are still wondering, “but what are the rules?”

  1. Be safe.
  2. Enjoy books.
  3. Love being at the library.

What are kids gaining when they don’t seem like they are paying any attention at all?

  1. Books are important
  2. Language skills
  3. Social skills
  4. Key concepts during play and learning activities

After songs and stories, we have some learning and play activities. All of our activities are based on Every Child Ready to Read’s curriculum which indicates that kids who talk, sing, read, write and play are more ready to learn to read when formal instruction begins. Finger painting? It gets little fingers ready to write. Doing puzzles and matching? These activities help kids to recognize small differences similar to what they will need to notice in letters when they begin to read.

For kids attending for the first time, it is very normal for them to want to look around, explore and pay little attention to the songs and stories. They are curious learners and want to know what is going on in the world around them – especially when it’s new. Don’t worry. They will settle into the rhythm of storytime and are learning more than you think. As long as they are staying within the three rules of storytime, relax and have a great time participating with them.

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