Why We Love Storytime

♫ Storytime, huh yeah
What is it good for? ♫

The correct answer is not ‘Absolutely nothin”
And I’ll say it again! (Actually this is me expanding on a facebook post I made during the week so it’s almost like saying it again).

Storytime, like Pram Jam, is all about literacy and fun.

But unlike Pram Jam where our literacy is oral language; rhymes, songs, and the wonderful interaction between talker and non-talker (or early talker). Storytime is about taking the next step. It is about the development of further literacy skills. It is about the written word and how that differs from oral language. We still have a focus on talking, of course – talking to the Storytime presenter and talking to the adults when making the craft (just not talking during the book as everyone wants to know where that dratted green sheep is).
We move away from songs and rhymes (though we like to break up the stories with them) and develop the literacy skills that we started nurturing at Pram Jams.

There is more to Storytime than just that of course, it is the social skills of sharing, sitting and learning to listen in a larger group environment ready for Kindy, and it is about interacting with other children, adults, and the all important Storytime presenter.

It is about the social skills that come with a certain place.

In this case a library. And while the traditional view of a library with a terrifying librarian sporting a high bun and tweed, pencil skirt are gone it is still a place with a range of uses. We have computers, we have quiet areas, we have place for teens, adults, and kids. Anyone who has come in during a Storytime or Pram Jam session knows we don’t shush anyone though we have expectations on behaviour anyway. We do ask children to ‘sit on the mat’ as part of the preparation for Kindy (or a reinforcement for those who are already there) and we do ask for quiet from children, and parents alike, during the stories. Then we get up and move between stories so that the wriggles don’t take hold. We are still in a library though and there are things that are acceptable and there is unacceptable behaviour – this is why we completely understand when you need to leave in the middle of a session because your baby won’t calm down. We want everyone who comes to enjoy Storytime and that means that everyone, parent and child, has a responsibility to the other people attending Storytime but also a responsibility to the larger library. All of this is part of the Storytime experience and part of the underlying learning that is happening during a Storytime session.

There are some things we do at Storytime that might not have made sense before but here is why we do them:

  • We ask children walking across the front of the area to sit because those behind can’t see and when they can’t see they lose interest and then we lose the group.
  • We ask children, and parents, not to talk during Storytime because for small children, the age we’re dealing with, they often don’t have the mental space for anything past controlling their body and focussing on the story. As adult we can ignore distractions but as children it is so much harder to do.
  • We ask questions in the middle of some stories because they encourage comprehension skills and make the stories more interactive.
  • We read other stories straight through because it has the group so captivated (or it’s just better that way).
  • We sometimes ignore a child who is calling out because it is more disruptive to stop the whole group and this form of non-verbal cue is also something that must be learned. Though we are always happy to hear what the children have to tell us.
  • We pick a book we think will be great and then it doesn’t work.
  • We pick a book that we love and it will be wonderful and everyone will love it too and we silently pat ourselves on the back.
  • We pick books for a range of different reasons and they won’t suit every child but in most sessions we like to think that more than one of them will entertain every child.
  • We do craft that is aimed at developing fine motor skills and developing muscles: colouring and cutting are great for working the muscles in the hands that are needed for writing and along with gluing, stapling, sticky taping, and everything else, these actions nurture good spacial awareness and develop a child’s hand-eye co-ordination.
  • We talk about the first letter in our theme because the onset (the first sound in a word) is the easiest to identify.
  • We think it’s okay if you stand up in a session and come and grab your child – they don’t have to sit on the mat and we always appreciate the help in dealing with their behaviour.
  • We love having you and we want you to come back.

There is so much more to Storytime than the stories and we are so pleased that so many children, and their adults, join us each week whether they knew how much good they were doing for themselves or not.

We hope to see you at a Storytime session this term…

Storytime happens at:

Spearwood Library on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10.30am

Coolbellup Library on Wednesdays at 10.30am

Success Library on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9.30am.

No storytime sessions during school holidays. 


Author: Jessica

I was a teacher for six years before becoming a Young People's Services Librarian. I taught everything from kindy to year seven and I'm really excited to be working towards greater early literacy with the children of Cockburn.

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Why We Love Storytime

by Jessica time to read: 5 min




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