DCL has introduced a new, more focused approach to storytime. The approach is based on early literacy research and accepted “best” practices that drive everything from storytime structure for different age groups to the stories, songs, and activities that are shared with any given group.
“Storytime is a child's first classroom and testament to the library’s commitment to the value of early literacy,” said David Farnan, associate director of community services for Douglas County Libraries. “We do nearly 5,000 storytimes a year in our libraries and in daycare centers around the county. We introduce tens of thousands of children to the love of stories, the magic of books, and the wonder of reading.”
While still being great fun for young kids, library storytimes will encourage parents and provide skill-building exposure to children in six key areas. Items in the library’s children’s collection will be designated to help with the same key skills.
• Print motivation. Children who are read to often will understand that books are fun, and be eager to learn to read for themselves.
• Print awareness. Young children can begin to understand that words are everywhere, and that they are important.
• Letter knowledge. To read words, children need first to learn letters and their sounds.
• Vocabulary. Exploring new words will help children be ready to learn to read.
• Narrative skills. Retelling stories teaches children about beginnings, middles, and ends.
• Phonological awareness. Hearing rhymes and syllables within words helps children sound out words.
“A two-year-old learns nine new words every day,” said Farnan. “What better image is there for the explosive creativity, imagination, and potential of children?”
All Douglas County Libraries locations offer multiple storytimes each week.