What Exactly is a 'Storytime'?

Here's what you need to know about these much-loved library programs.

Here’s what you need to know about these much-loved library programs.

This classic library program has many names: story hour, storytime, Bookworms, and Time for Twos. Public libraries all over the United States offer programs where children can spend time listening to stories, doing simple crafts, dancing, playing with toys, socializing, stretching, and more. Every library offers something different, but here is what you can likely expect when you take your child to the library for storytime.

Do you want your children to be lifelong readers? Although taking them to a library storytime will encourage a young reader’s love for books, it will also do wonders for their long-term development.

The Benefits of Storytime 

While the term seems straightforward, “storytime” has more layers than you might think. In addition to being an educational activity that promotes early literacy skills, storytime also engages young children in developmental exercises and exposes them to different perspectives.

According to the School Library Journal, storytime is a vital element of young children’s readiness for school. Storytime introduces them to the essential aspects of reading and encourages a positive association with learning.

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Reading, Plus More

Public library storytimes use different modes of communication to engage young readers, such as singing songs or drawing pictures. While the former breaks down speech to help with word pronunciation, the latter can improve their motor skills and prepare them for writing.

Coming to storytime is also helpful for teaching children how to engage in a classroom setting. They get to connect with others in the same age range in a mutual learning space. They also learn from adults who initiate positive interactions with books.

Storytime Activities

Storytime has become much more than an exercise of early literacy skills and school readiness in recent years. In general, many libraries have begun to emphasize the developmental benefits of storytime by expanding their programs to include sensory, yoga, and bilingual activities.

Animal Helpers

For example, New York’s Scarsdale Public Library finds value in therapy dog-guided storytime. Non-judgemental canine companions make children feel more comfortable attempting to pronounce challenging words or expressing their thoughts. The experience eases the pressure to read aloud for inexperienced readers and develops communication skills.

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Diverse Stories

Bilingual storytimes are a considerable asset to early childhood development. Hearing stories or songs recited in a new language exposes young children to different cultures and perspectives and is excellent for multilingual families.

The Richland Library’s bilingual program incorporates a wide selection of Spanish books and cites another significant benefit of attending storytime: early awareness of being a global citizen. Diverse books can support more substantial relationships with peers brought up in different cultural environments and create more opportunities for social engagement.

In summary, the landscape of storytime is evolving to help children become much more than lifelong readers. Taking your child to storytime at your local public library allows them to develop social skills and learn about new perspectives in a unique, educational environment!