Aurora Oberg mug

Aurora Oberg

Storytime has always been a standard program that libraries everywhere offer. It might bring up memories of childhood songs that get stuck in your head or maybe a favorite story that was read to you. Storytime is still happening at the library, which begs the question: what is so important and special about storytime?

At storytime we are helping teach both children and adults about early literacy. Storytime is structured to help show parents and caregivers ways they can help their child interact with books and develop early literacy skills; it is more than simply picking a book to read.

Reading, singing, talking, playing and coloring are all important pieces that help develop a child’s base knowledge needed when learning to read. When reading we are teaching basic skills that are second nature as an adult.

During storytime, and more important at home, children are picking up on how to interact with books based on how they see adults using them. Using a book properly by holding the book right side up, starting at the front of the book and following words along left to right are all skills that are being taught when reading a book to your child.

Bringing attention to the words printed on the page helps raise print awareness, connecting the words and sounds they hear with the print representation.

Reading stories introduces your child to new words they can use to help describe the world around them, it expands their vocabulary as well as shows different experiences in the world.

Talking to children about what they know of an animal or event that happened in the story helps them make connections in their brain, deepening their understanding of the world.

Singing songs with children slows down our speech patterns, making it easier to practice enunciation of words. Singing is also repetitive; children practice words and phrases over and over to remember and give meaning to the words they are learning.

Playing is important for children to learn about the world around them and practice how to interact. Playing over and over develops the connection pathways in the brain and gives children a chance to test out different reactions to the same situation and see the varying results.

Coloring seems like just a fun filler activity, but it is learning! Children are developing fine motor skills figuring out how to manipulate the crayon, getting them ready to hold a pencil and learn to write.

Coming to storytime gives children, caregivers, parents and grandparents a great social opportunity. Young children get to interact with others and practice social skills in a place where everyone is learning. Caregivers, parents and grandparents have an opportunity to meet and talk to others with children in the same age range.

We have thought about all these things when choosing what books we read at storytime. Are the pictures clear, is the language accessible, is the print large enough for children to see? How can we talk to the children and make connections between the story and what they know about the world? Does this song repeat the themes talked about in our stories? Is this song simple enough they can pick it up in a week or two? What action activities can we do to support learning the theme? What fine motor skills are going to be practiced with this craft?

At Roseburg Public Library we have three storytimes you can attend every week: at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11:30 .m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We have planned the learning experience. I hope to see you there.

Aurora Oberg is the Youth Services Librarian at the Roseburg Public Library. She can be contacted at 541-492-7054 or aoberg@cityofroseburg.org.

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