Tune in for Storytime Success

Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2018 by Melissa Howison

Seven pairs of eager eyes are glued to the open book in front of them. Behind the book sits Joe, the designated reader at this Tots Tuesday Storytime.

Joe is reading Estelle and Lucy, a children’s book about the friendship between a cat and mouse, to a group of riveted youngsters. They sit in a semi-circle, legs crossed, each of their young faces a picture of anticipation: what will Estelle and Lucy do next?

Joe plays into their curiosities; turning the pages slowly, inflecting his voice, and asking questions about what they think will happen. The kids follow his every move; excitedly sharing predictions and jumping to their feet when the plot twists.

The energy in the children’s section of the Village Learning Place is palpable during Tots Tuesday Storytimes, which take place every Tuesday from 10:15–11:15 am. The books and activities are geared toward children ages 2–4, but siblings and other family members are welcome. While Joe reads Estelle and Lucy to the children surrounding him, infants sleep in car seats on the floor and older siblings work on the library computers.

Joe wraps up Estelle and Lucy, only to be bombarded with questions, thoughts, and opinions from the little ones. Once he satisfies them, Joe begins talking about the upcoming holiday, Valentine’s Day, and its underlying cause for celebrating loved ones and all types of relationships. Then, it’s activity time.

The children spread out on the floor with markers, crayons, and printed pictures of hearts and flowers to begin coloring their valentine’s cards. Every Tots Tuesday Storytime has an interactive element that connects to the story—a craft, song, or dance—to aid the development of gross and fine motor skills.

Storytimes are all about fun, but they also set young readers up for lasting success. Research shows that reading aloud to children during early childhood increases vocabulary, improves language acquisition, and builds life-long readers. One study, conducted by a University of California, Santa Cruz psychology professor, found that picture books are two to three times as likely as parent-child conversations to include a word that isn’t among the 5,000 most common English words.

The VLP also takes the excitement and enrichment of early childhood storytimes on the road, to local preschools, kindergarten classrooms, and Head Start centers, with our Books2Go program. Eligible learning centers can request a Books2Go session and a teacher from the VLP’s nationally recognized after school program will visit their site for an interactive storytime.

During classroom visits, Books2Go teachers introduce a story to the children, read the story out loud, and discuss the significance of different aspects of the book. At the end of the visit, classroom teachers receive a bag of activities related to the book that align to state and city curriculum standards. Classroom teachers can use the extension activities to supplement the students’ understanding of the text, build their literacy skills, and keep them connected to the story. Each student in class will also receive a free copy of the book to take home.

Books2Go teachers incorporate drama and other literary and visual art techniques to deepen students’ appreciation for the story and provide them with an opportunity to practice important social skills, such as cooperation, self-control, kindness, and empathy.

Tots Tuesday and Books2Go storytimes are unique opportunities for parents and caregivers of young children to share in the joy and nourishment of storytelling.

Join Mr. Joe and Ms. Laura, our other Tots Tuesday Storytime reader, every Tuesday morning at 10:15 am in the library or apply to have a Books2Go teacher read aloud and work with your students by emailing Annie Malone at annie.malone@villagelearningplace.org.