How to Help Your Preschooler Get the Most Out of Story Time

Research has shown that regular storytime attendance will help prepare your children for school. They are exposed to new stories and vocabulary and learn to make observations and predictions. They will learn new songs and fingerplays. They may dance. They will learn early STEAM skills like counting and math, colors and art, and basic science. They will learn how to share and return equipment, like shaky eggs and scarves. And they often have their first experience as a member of a group.

Our story times are developmentally-appropriate and standards-based. That’s why we offer story time for many age groups from birth to kindergarten. Our staff story time presenters plan their programs using their experience working with children, the principles of child development, their knowledge of children’s literature, and the PA Early Learning Standards. You’ll notice that, as your children grow older, story time changes with them. Parents are children’s first and best teachers, and, beginning when children are infants and toddlers, you can help to maximize the benefits of story time. Here are just a few things you can do:

• Arrive early – Allow plenty of time to find a parking space and visit the rest room before story time begins.

• Prepare – If you are attending for the first time or moving up to a new age group, talk about what you’ll be doing, how you expect your children to behave, and how much fun it will be.

• Avoid distractions – Never bring toys or blankies to story time. Never bring food to story time. In addition to being a possible distraction, food can be a problem for children with allergies, who could have reactions if exposed.

• Be a good role model – Listen to the stories, sing the songs, and participate in fingerplays and activities. Story time is an activity for you and your children to do together. Enjoy it! Turn off your phone and keep it in your purse.Save conversations with other parents until  story time is over.

• Be attentive and realistic – There has never been (nor will there be) a roomful of twoyear- olds who sit with their hands folded and listen. We know that, but please watch your children and keep them focused and safe. Keep them away from equipment and outlets, doors that pinch, etc. Encourage them to listen to the presenter.

• Go with the flow – If your children are having a bad day or become upset, it is just fine to leave the room and then come back when they are calm again.

• Follow up – Check out lots books, especially any that your children liked in story time. Talk about the books that you heard and reread them. Books and stories are great conversation starters for real conversations with your children. Sing the songs and do the fingerplays at home, in the car, at bath time. Except for our Bedtime, Saturday, and Summer Family Story times, our preschool programs require registration for each session, online via the calendar of events. We register our participants for a number of reasons:

• The presenter knows how many children to expect and prepare for.

• The presenter will provide nametags and be able to get to know your children by name.

• The presenter will be able to admit children from the waiting list if there are dropouts. Please, be considerate of your story time presenter and fellow participants. Let us know if you are going to miss a single program. But, if your schedule changes and you find you won’t be able to attend the majority of programs in a session, please drop out and allow a child from the waiting list to attend. Then, we’ll look forward to seeing you and your children at the next session. Happy Reading!

On-line registration for the Winter 2019 session of story times will beginin January.