For my first Extended Play Storytime Posts, I am just going to talk about the basics of how we do storytime at my library district. Every library is different, but each library often has the same types of problems (registration, arranging space, prep time, etc), and it’s always good to look around and see other ways of resolving those issues. I hope you will share in the comments your thoughts and experience!
At my district, we have embraced literacy-based storytimes. This means we have made a commitment to making sure every storytime helps build one or more of the six pre-reading skills, as outlined in the Every Child Ready to Read initiative.
In addition to including books or activities in every storytime that help build pre-reading skills, our providers deliver an early literacy tip to the adults. This tip names one of the skills, describes why it is critical to later reading success, and gives the grown-ups an idea for an activity they can do at home with their kids to help build that skill. (You can see the type of tip I deliver, and how it fits into my storytimes, by looking through some of my baby storytime plans.)
We highlight one skill every month across the district. This way, families who don’t come every week will still hear about each skill in a fairly consistent manner, no matter which branch they go to for storytimes, or how often. We have a handout every month that talks about the skill and gives three different activities to support that skill, one idea each for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
While we require that every storytime provider deliver the early literacy message every week, we don’t dictate a certain agenda or lesson plan for storytime. Providers are free to choose their books, activities, and plan their storytimes in the manner that best suits their individual style.
We encourage adult participation in storytime because we are so committed to spreading the word about the importance of early literacy!
Does your library offer literacy-based storytimes? Do you have any required elements for your storytimes? What are your goals and objectives for storytimes at your library?