When I was a new mom, I struggled to start and maintain a daily reading routine after bringing our first child home. I knew it was important to do, but adjusting to this new little person — and all the changes that came with him — made a daily routine more hope than reality. After I began my career in library land, I saw firsthand how critical developing a love of reading and becoming proficient in it was to a child’s future success, not only in school, but in life.
I realized that if I had difficulties in the beginning, other caregivers probably did, too.
Families are faced with many changes after baby arrives, but implementing a daily reading routine with their newborn doesn’t need to be one of those things. Our library’s Stork Storytime initiative encourages expecting families to develop a reading routine before baby (and chaos) arrive, enabling parents to become more confident as their child’s first teacher.
Current early literacy programs focus on children after they’re born, but the Stork Storytime initiative delivers literacy before a child’s arrival by focusing on the expecting family.
Stork Storytime Reads encourages expecting families to do 100 “read alouds” before baby arrives. Adults become more comfortable reading out loud and children can practice their literacy skills. It’s a wonderful bonding experience and sets the tone and expectation that reading is important and valued at home. This program is also a great segue to the 1000 Books before Kindergarten program.
Our annual Stork Storytime Expo connects new and expecting families with valuable resources in the community. Non-profit organizations and businesses share their expertise with attendees and each other at this free event. Mini library programs and screenings are available for families with children.
The monthly Stork Storytime Talks, as we call our podcast, enables adult caregivers to listen and learn from local experts when it’s convenient for them, whether that’s during their commute, child’s naptime or a 2 a.m. feeding.
To help other libraries offer Stork Storytime programming, we’ve developed the Stork Storytime Librarian Toolkit. Libraries of any size can easily implement these early literacy programs without having to recreate everything from scratch. Currently, the toolkit includes everything you need to implement the Stork Storytime Reads program but will be updated soon with the other programs. Visit our website to access the toolkit and begin delivering Stork Storytime programming at your library.
(Photo of “reading to bump” image courtesy of Melanie Harrison.)
Our guest blogger today is Jennifer Jordebrek. Jennifer is a former children’s librarian and is currently the assistant director at the North Liberty Community Library. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager.
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group and III. Programming Skills.