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.
And so began my desire to develop the Stork Storytime programs to help prepare caregivers to start their child’s lifelong learning and love of reading, right from the very beginning.
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.
This is a crucial piece in the early literacy program. Thank you so very much for sharing. Have you heard of the Starling? It is tool developed by researchers at Stanford that tracks the number of words parents/ caregivers use with their children.
It supports the talk principle of early literacy. I would love to use your program and the Starling with teen parents.
Thank you for your reply. I have not heard of the Starling project but will definitely look it up. That’s a great idea to use the program with teen parents! Please let me know if you have any questions and keep in touch with me on how it’s going. Best, Jennifer
Susan and Jackie
Hooray for Stork Storytime!!! What a powerful mission it is to encourage young families to begin a literacy centered routine before baby arrives!
We are kindred spirits in our desire to inspire new moms and dads to start reading aloud to baby from the very beginning. It’s so exciting to see that libraries are launching an educational program which supports this powerful practice!
Our Belly Books are made just for this purpose; they are specially designed for mothers, dads and siblings to be to read to the expected little one. You can find them at Cottage Door Press: https://cottagedoorpress.com/collections/belly-books.
You might also enjoy our ALSC guest blogpost which celebrates the magic of library story-time.