By Katy Searcy, Children’s Department
Here at WCPL, we host a variety of story times for young children: Snuggle Bug Lapsit Story Time for infants through eighteen months, Toddler Time for eighteen months to three years, and Preschool Story Time for three to five years. These story times are carefully planned and conducted by our children’s librarians using current early literacy research, and each story time is jam packed with fun and engaging age-appropriate stories, rhymes, songs, and aspects of play. And we absolutely LOVE story times! For me, story time is one of the highlights of my week, and I probably get way too excited about certain songs, rhymes, and books.
But why don’t I let you in on a little secret? As much as we love story times, we don’t do it because we love it so much or because that’s just what libraries are supposed to do. Actually, story times aren’t about us at all. Story times are all about YOU! Literacy begins at birth, and we know that it can be difficult to find time to figure out exactly what you’re supposed to do to help foster your child’s development. Hence, story times! We’re here to show you how you can introduce these early literacy skills to your little ones.
Still need convincing that story time is as awesome as I think it is? Luckily for you, I’ve listed several reasons why story time is important for children and parents.
- Songs and rhymes are a great way for children to hear the sounds of language. Singing slows down language and allows children to hear the smaller sounds and syllables of words, which helps children sound out words when they learn to read.
- Children learn how books work as they listen to stories being read to them. They learn how to hold a book and turn the pages. Even when babies play with board books in ways we find unconventional (chewing, pulling, pushing, etc.), they’re developing print awareness, a skill research has shown is an important part of a strong foundation for reading.
- Books, songs, and rhymes help develop children’s vocabulary. The language used in books, songs, and rhymes is richer and uses different words than we use in conversation.
- Children can learn and develop their communication skills by interacting with other children and by watching their parents interact with other adults.
- As children have fun in story time, they learn to enjoy books. Children are more likely to stick with learning to read, even if it’s difficult, if they find books enjoyable.
- Children are exposed to different cultures and countries during story time, which broadens their horizons and adds to background knowledge that helps them understand what they read as they get older.
- Sitting still and listening to books during story time boosts children’s listening skills and helps them increase their attention span.
- Story time is great way to meet new people and make new friends.
- I’ll admit that libraries can be intimidating to navigate sometimes, and many older kids—and even adults—struggle to find what they’re looking for, ask for help, and check out books. Exposing children to the library when they’re younger ensures that they will know how to use a library.
- Story time can be a great way to simply get out of the house. We don’t mind if you use us for a change of scenery.
So what are you waiting for? Come join us for story time!
Toddler Time (18 months to 3 years): Tuesdays, 10:00 am and 11:15 am
Preschool Story Time (3 to 5 years): Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 am
Snuggle Bug Lapsit Story Time (birth to 18 months): Fridays, 10:00 am
By Emily Anglin, Leiper’s Fork Branch Head
Cowboys and Cowgirls gathered from all over the Leipers Fork area in July to hear cowboy and horse stories at Leipers Fork’s Cowboy Story Time. I read one of my favorite stories to the children, Are You a Horse? By Andy Rash. It’s about a cowboy who gets a saddle for his birthday, but he doesn’t know what a horse even looks like! We also enjoyed an award winning book about miniature horses: Bucky & Bonnie’s Library Adventure, written by our very own director Dolores Greenwald and library staff.
Now we’ll get down to the real reason so many kids and parents were here. To see our very special guest Buddy the miniature horse from Angel Heart Farm. He was such a sweet little fellow. The children enjoyed getting to pet Buddy and have their pictures made with him. Yes, we had a horse inside the library!
What makes Buddy such a special horse? He works with children that have chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Buddy’s human Tracy Kujawa, founder of Angel Heart Farm says that “it’s our mission to bring horses and children together for healing.” “We have created a safe and caring environment where children can experience the warmth and peace of bonding with animals, which has a positive effect in the healing process.” And that is why Buddy is such a special little guy, along with all the other horses on Tracy’s farm. Angel Heart Farm is a non-profit organization. If you’d like more information about this organization visit angelheartfarm.net, if you’d like to see some books about cowboys and horses visit your local library branch.