Library Corner: Story time at your local libraries
January 13, 2019
Where was your neighbor last Wednesday at 10am? If they live in Granby and take care of a child under six years old, they may have been one of the 474 participants at one of five weekly story times offered through Grand County libraries. Grandparents bring visiting grandchildren. Friends watching the neighbor's child are there. And of course, there's no shortage of parents with little ones in tow.
Grand County Library District starts early on its mission to boundless opportunities! We're here to help parents and caregivers prep children for success in life and school through positive relationships and caring interactions. How? Story time. We model reading strategies, talk through a book, sing some songs, imagine and create through play, as well as build on fine motor skills, coordination, memory, and organization of thoughts and movements. All that in just 45 minutes!
How does library story time impact child development? It is more than encouraging reading as a pleasure rather than a chore and building initial steps into literacy. Story time helps children develop skills to pay attention, be engaged in a public performance, and hear a wide breadth of books.
Don't get me wrong, story times are not a quiet affair with children sitting quietly on little stools raising their hands to answer questions. Rather, they are raucous events with young children engaged with the storyteller, reading along, sharing connections, commenting on the pictures. Sometimes they get messy with finger paints, shaving cream, and sidewalk chalk. Little voices sing in chorus and little bodies shake their booties as they transform into jellyfish and then quiet down as they stretch out into cat yoga pose en masse. It is great fun!
But, story time is not just about the kids. It is of great benefit to the caregivers who bring them. Notice we say "caregivers." Story time is not just for moms! First, it doesn't require much planning on the caregivers' part — just the ever-tricky "getting out the door." Second, library staff will model exemplary reading skills that caregivers can continue at home to help boost the child's reading skills before getting to school. And finally, and perhaps my favorite, story time is a great way to meet other caregivers in our community, it's a chance for kids to socialize, and it's a break from the cold outdoors, all free of charge.
Grand County Library District is committed to the education of our community. Join us Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. in Granby as we focus on writing skills and celebrate scribbling. All attendees will leave with some items to try out at home.
And, we heard the call from those of you caring for children over the weekend. Thanks to a grant from the Colorado State Library and Buell Foundation, we're adding a Saturday story time beginning Jan. 19, to offer parents, neighbors, extended families, and friends who watch children over the weekend.
Different story times have different story tellers and number of participants. Pick the one that works best for you and your child: Wednesdays: Granby 10 a.m., Hot Sulphur Springs 11:15 a.m.; Thursdays: Fraser 10 a.m., Juniper 11 a.m., Kremmling 10:15 and 11:15 a.m.; Saturdays: Granby 10am (starts Jan. 19).
Polly Gallagher is director of public services for the Grand County Library District.