Blogger Katie Salo, Storytime

Engaging Parents After Storytime

We all know about the importance of engaging parents in storytime. We encourage them to sit with their child, to sing, to stand up and move, to pay attention while we read our books.

But engaging parents shouldn’t end in storytime! We need to engage parents at home as well.

Here’s a few ideas for how to help parents keep up literacy practice at home:

    Rhyme cards, picture courtesy of the author.
  • Create extension activities to send parents home with. My library doesn’t do crafts at our Pajama Storytimes like we do in Storytime. So I came up with these rhyme cards, which re-enforce the rhymes we do at each session. We’ve been adding a card in both languages every month. By the end of the year, parents will have a treasury of songs, fingerplays, and rhymes to share with their little ones.
  • For our preschool science program, I’ve been sending parents and kids home with a packet of information: a simple worksheet for parents to do with their children to talk about the concepts we’ve just learned about, a booklist, and a coloring page. You can see a sample packet here, on Color Science.
  • A book display, image courtesy of the author.
  • And the easiest of all take-homes — books! Make sure to have display space in your programming room. I love this little table because it puts the books right at the child’s hand. It’s also located right by the door which is a great reminder for parents to grab a book or two on the way out.

What ways do you or your library try to engage parents outside of your storytime room? Share your suggestions!

– Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library
http://storytimekatie.com

5 comments

  1. Alison Francis

    LOVE the rhyme cards! Thank you for sharing this idea, Katie!

  2. Jennifer

    I give out take home bags (brown paper lunch bag with a craft and handout that lists what we did in storytime and early literacy suggestions) http://inshortbusy.blogspot.com/search/label/Preschool%20Interactive (handout below the fold)

    However, when I saw the title of this…I thought it was going to be about connecting with parents after storytime – the whole social/chat thing which was really hard for me to learn and I’m still working on it. Can we have that next? (-:)

  3. Awnali Mills

    I agree with Jennifer that I thought your posting was going to be about something else! I send home sheets that say “Taking Story Time Through the Week” and have about 5 to 6 activities that play off of the theme I’ve done in story time. I try to include something math related, science related, and literary.
    As to engaging with parents after story time (as Jennifer asked), I try to learn the parent or caregiver’s name as well as the child’s. I greet them by name if possible and tell them I’m glad to see them because I want the parent to feel as welcome and comfortable as the child–I think it makes me more accessible, and that parents will feel more comfortable asking me questions and emulating my example.
    I also take the time to introduce new parents to “old” parents because I think moms are just as anxious to interact with other adults as they are to enrich their children’s experiences. I ask them if they’re new in the area (many of them are), talk about whether they’ve tried any other libraries, what they’re doing for their vacation, if they have older children, etc. I compliment their children to them whenever possible, avoiding comments about appearance. I say things like, “Johnny did great with the colors in the flannel game–you must have really been working with him!”

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