This last week I was talking with some teen moms about what they can do to help their babies get ready to read. I had given them the full presentation about five simple activities - talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing - that help a baby, toddler, and preschool child be ready to read by kindergarten.
One of the teen moms said her favorite memory of libraries was all the storytimes she went to when she was a child. She and her parents went to libraries all over Oakland. Her face changed as she talked about the pleasure of hearing stories with her family. It reminded me that when I was young, I spent weeks one summer listening to my librarian read C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She talked about "being transported to a different world." Being a very literal child, I was disappointed when we all stayed in the garden of the library. But I still remember that summer and have reread the book over and over again.
There is something magical about being read to. The imagination can fly free to follow whimsy and visit different worlds. And the memories of those visits can last as long as a visit to a "real" place. As added benefits, children increase their vocabulary by hearing new words in context, and adults get to visit long-forgotten places, feelings, and memories.
Oakland Public Library has lots of storytimes. There are seventeen locations that serve children and families, and all of them have at least one storytime a week. We have baby bounces for children 0-18 months, toddler time for children 18 months to 3 years, preschool storytime for those who are getting ready to start kindergarten, and family storytime for the whole family.
Do you have a favorite memory of storytimes? Come make some with your child.