Children can’t wait to gather for outdoor reading. The Kingsessing Branch starts a regular Storytime at 51st and Regent St. on Saturday, April 10
“Get Ready to Read” starts April 10
By Rachel Robinson
Get ready to Read! That long-awaited announcement from Kingsessing Library is exciting youngsters throughout the community. Storytime outdoors will begin on Saturday, April 10. The program then continues on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month – socially distanced, of course!
The sessions will be held in the park area behind the library at 1201 South 51st Street at 10:00 a.m. The 2nd Saturdays will focus on stories and games for 0-24 months aged children; the 4th Saturdays will be for big kids 2-5 years old.
Actually, kids of all ages are welcome either week.
Have you ever wondered why libraries love providing Storytimes? And why Storytimes for babies and toddlers specifically? It’s because very young children are, from birth, building the skills they will need to someday learn to read. How? Through singing, talking, playing, and reading with parents and caregivers. Storytimes are great places to share not only stories but some games and songs that families can take home and continue to enjoy.
There are lots of practices that many parents could guess support early literacy skills. Reading a few books before bedtime comes to mind. But what do you do with a little wiggle worm who would rather throw a book across the room than sit down and listen to it being read aloud? It’s okay, there are lots of games you can play together that will both get giggles and grow your baby, toddler, or preschooler’s reading muscles. We’ll share some examples in this article to give you a taste of what you can expect at a Storytime.
So back to the example of the kids who like to throw a ball. Focusing on it, then following it as it flies through the air, and tracking it as it bounces on the ground actually builds eye muscles. When the child is in kindergarten and asked to read a sentence across a page, they have the control necessary to focus without straining their eyes.
So the high-energy activity of playing catch is part of your child’s road to reading.
Children’s eye muscles are strengthened when reading is supplemented with objects or pictures that relate to the story.
At a storytime babies and toddlers, a storyteller might build eye muscles by blowing bubbles during a reading session. Bubbles are a lot of fun, of course, but when fascinated youngsters follow them as they float through the air, again, they are building strong eye muscles!
Or, a storytime reader for preschoolers might include puppets and other props to hold the child’s gaze throughout a story. Those hyperactive children might not want to slow down to read, but maybe they would enjoy looking at and talking about the pictures. Storytellers call this “taking a picture walk” and it’s a great way to interest reluctant readers and build even more than their eye muscles.
These are examples of all the ways our Storytimes leaders incorporate a series of small skills for getting ready to read.
Again, we invite you to bring children to the park in the area behind the Kingsessing Library at 10:00 a.m. on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month starting April 10. We’ll all have a great time together and learn even more.
(Rachel Robinson is the children’s librarian at the Kingsessing Branch of the Free Library)