What is Storytime?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2020
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A storytime is a program where a children's librarian reads books to children. The program often involves simple songs, finger plays, puppets, and crafts. A parent takes children on the designated day to the public library so they can participate in the program. Storytimes promote literacy and the love of books. In time, children come to associate the library with exciting activities.

When parents take their children to storytimes, they essentially introduce kids to language and reading. The goal of every storytime is to get children excited about books and help inspire their imaginations. Children develop a variety of useful tools, including phonological awareness, listening skills, and motor skills.

Most libraries host a storytime at least once a week. Others provide several weekly programs for a variety of ages. For example, typical storytime programs include a baby lap-sit, a preschool program, and a school-age program.

Baby lap-sit programs are geared toward babies, toddlers, and their caregivers. Simple board books are used as a basic introduction to stories. Babies sit on their caregivers' laps as the librarian reads them short, sturdy books, sings songs, and interacts with them in a gentle manner.

Preschool programs are for older children between the ages of three and five who can sit and listen to short picture books, participate in activities, and sing simple songs. The children's librarian will often provide them with a basic theme-based craft at the conclusion of the storytime.


School-age programs are library events usually held in the evening. Families with children of all ages are invited to these storytimes where the librarian may choose to read more complex picture books or selections from a children's chapter book. The librarian may also choose to have a school-age program that does not permit smaller children in attendance.

Local bookstores may host storytimes for their customers. They might even invite children's authors to read their books at the program followed by a book-signing event. Bookstores often include a simple craft at the conclusion of these programs as well.

When a children's librarian plans a storytime, she must decide which books to read at the event. She must keep in mind the ages of her audience, avoiding long books if her listeners are preschool age or younger. Most children's librarians like to follow monthly and weekly themes to make the storytime planning easier.

In the spring, a librarian may plan storytimes focused around rabbits and flowers. In the winter, she may devise storytimes featuring winter holidays, snowmen, toys, and gingerbread men. Programs for older children may revolve around Caldecott medal winners or specific children's book authors.

Visiting any public library or traditional bookstore will enable book lovers to locate a program for their children. Storytimes are educational programs that provide entertainment for young people of all ages. They promote language and literacy skills in children. They foster a love of books and helps kids to see that libraries are places that encourage discovery and fun.


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