Why My Family LOVES Storytime (And Yours Should Too)

By Katie Blakeslee, Service Center

Your local storytime offers a range of activities geared toward helping your child and you fall more in love with reading and learning — together!

Storytime Engages Learning through Movement and Play.

Children learn best when they can use their brain and their body at the same time. After all, the brain is a muscle too! My 18-month-old son and 4-year-old daughter love storytime because they associate it with dancing, singing and other sensory activities. Some storytimes even have a bubble machine dance session at the very end. Our favorite!

Storytime also gives children a safe place to explore how to socialize with other children. From sharing toys and books to following directions, storytime is one of the first places my children began to see themselves as part of a larger group. I have seen both of my children become more self-aware — and more aware of others — through cooperative play at storytime.

Storytime Encourages a Lifetime Love of Reading.

Storytime forms positive foundational memories with reading and the library, memories that may foster a lifelong love of reading. Why is this important to me? Because more and more studies show that reading is one of the better coping mechanisms for regulating emotion, reducing stress, improving cognitive performance and building empathy. A love of reading is one of the most important gifts I can give to my children. The good news is, it’s never too late to start giving it.

Storytime Won’t Send You Home Empty-Handed (Literally).

Most library storytimes end with a special craft based on the stories read that day. In my home right now, we are especially attached to a paper plate version of the hungry fish from Lo Cole’s Ten in a Hurry. My daughter loves to use the plate to reenact how the big fish gulped all but one of the little fishes down and then burped them back up! In doing so, she is demonstrating important thinking skills like comprehension and retention. When she brings the “fish” into her play and has it eat (and burp up) her other toys, she is demonstrating application. These are skills she will build upon throughout her schooling and use for the rest of her life!

Storytime Is Economical.

My local library is one of the few places I can go with my family and not be expected to spend money. Storytime is and will always be free and fun! Not to mention, it gives this tired mama a small break while my children are fully engaged in something other than a screen.

Storytime also expands our literary horizons by introducing us to new subjects, stories and authors we may never have discovered otherwise — and we don’t have to break the bank to indulge these discoveries, either. Thanks to the library, we have been able to check out books en masse and read them over and over again and return them when we’re finished. Whenever my child moves on to something new, I feel good knowing these books are being read and enjoyed by other children in Kent County, rather than sitting idly on a shelf in my home.

Storytime Is for Everyone.

Yes, everyone! It’s OK if your kids are a little wiggly (or a lot). It’s OK if you’re a few minutes late or if you don’t have a library card yet (get one!) or if your child woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. New this fall, KDL will also begin to offer select storytimes in American Sign Language. For more sensitive participants, KDL offers Sensory Storytime content, available online. That’s the beauty of the library: it accepts everyone where they are and as they are. The library says, “You belong.” And where we find belonging, we find joy. Storytime is joy.

Check out kdl.org/events to see when and where there is a storytime near you!