Library story times are geared toward developing young minds and building skills that children will need for school. However, story time at the library is only a small part of a child’s week. The rest of the time a child’s development is up to parents and other caregivers. As a librarian, you can help by equipping parents to support children’s development at home.
Vroom is an app based on research and developed with funding provided by the Bezos Family Foundation to help parents support their child’s brain development during the crucial first 5 years of life. The app provides daily tips and is free to download from Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
Of course not all parents have smartphones, so the tools and activities are also available on the website, including flyers you can download and print to hand out to parents. Each activity is labeled with an age range and includes background on why the activity is important to a child’s development.
It is easy enough to pass out flyers at story time, but there is also a playbook you can use for ideas to help bring Vroom to your entire community. There is a whole Dropbox folder of materials and tools, including low-ink versions of the flyers for printing in-house.
What do you do to encourage parents to work with their children at home? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Each week you spend time imparting early literacy skills to children at story time. But what happens when the children go home? Are they going home to environments that support early learning and development? Do their parents realize the importance of interacting with their children? Do parents feel prepared to work on early learning skills at home?
Love Talk Play is a resource from Washington state that “aims to surround parents of children birth to age 3 with simple messages about three key things all parents can and need to be doing with their children every day: love, talk and play.”
Love Talk Play offers handouts you can share with parents on the importance of interacting with their children. They also provide a list of suggested activities parents can do with their children. You can print the activity sheets to pass out to parents. Parents can also sign up to receive a weekly tip via email.
In North Dakota libraries, many story times focus on the 3-5 year old pre-school age group, rather than the 0-3 year old baby and toddler age group. However, kids never get too old for attention from their parents, and many of the 3-5 year olds at your story time may have younger siblings.
If you have a lot of children attending story time with a day care provider instead of their parents, perhaps the day care would be interested in sending home information with the kids. It would be a great way to remind parents that their child visited the library that day and to encourage them to visit the library with their kids.
What resources do you share with parents at story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Following up on last week’s post, another potential resource for early childhood education tips you can provide to parents is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC “is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children.”
There is a section of the site specifically for educators of preschool age children. Even if you don’t subscribe to their publication Teaching Young Children, you can access online features from current and past issues. There is a section called Message in a Backpack, which provides PDFs designed specifically to be sent home with children for continued learning during the week with the support of the parents. They cover a wide range of topics that could be integrated into story time themes you already have planned.
There is also a site for families called NAEYC for Families. Learning and Development Topics on this site are grouped into Child Development, Reading & Writing, and Music, Math & More.
Sample topics in the Child Development section include:
Sample topics in the Reading & Writing section include:
Sample topics in the Music, Math & More section include:
If you like to include music in your story times, there is also a page on the site devoted to music resources, including songs and information on learning with music.
There is also a blog, with useful posts such as, Low Cost Learning Materials for Infants and Toddlers. These posts were written by families sharing their “learning moments.”
What kinds of child development or early childhood education tips do you share with parents at story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Back in July, BreAnne wrote a post highlighting the usefulness of the resources on the NDSU Extension Service website.
Today I want to highlight a few of the resources on the Family Science page. They offer “a new parent education curriculum focused on parenting young children” called “Bright Beginnings.” The publications that go along with the ten lesson modules are available online.
While the resources are geared towards parents and cover topics such as physical, emotional, and social development, the publications related to play and reading are particularly well suited for use as story time resources as well.
If you are looking for resources you can provide to parents to take home so they can continue building on the skills learned in story time throughout the week, check out these publications.
The reading resources include (in PDF format):
The play resources include (in PDF format):
Do you currently provide take home resources for parents at story time? Tell us about them in the comments!
Reading Is Fundamental “is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States.” Their mission is to encourage children to read, and their website has a number of resources to help parents accomplish this at home.
The Kids section of the site has three great resources:
- Leading to Reading – this site has early literacy activities for pre-readers, with sections for ages 0-2 and 3-5, and resources for parents
- Reading Planet – this site is designed for kids ages 5 and up and features a Game Station, Activity Lab, and Book Zone
- Let’s Read as a Family – this is site has literacy activities parents can do with their children at home and also has lots of tips for parents
For use in the library, check out the Literacy Resources, which include:
The Activity section is probably the most useful resource for library programming, including:
You can also search for activity ideas by category, age, and other factors. These activities could be used in conjunction with story time, or for additional programming throughout the year.
The latest report from the the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading” outlines their findings on the usage and views of libraries by parents with children under age 18. Some of the highlights of the report:
- 94% of parents say libraries are important for their children; 84% of parents of children under age 6 indicate that libraries are very important.
- 97% of parents express the opinion that it is important for libraries to offer programs and classes for children and teens.
- 30% of parents say their library usage has increased in the past 5 years because of their children’s involvement at the library.
- Parents of children 17 and younger are 14% more likely than other adults to have a library card, and 15% more likely than other adults to have visited a library in the past year.
- Mothers are 10% more likely than fathers to read to their children every day (55% vs. 45%), and 10% more likely than fathers to report that their children have visited the library in the past year (74% vs. 64%).
These findings highlight the importance of cultivating active, vibrant children’s programming in public libraries, not just to benefit the children of the community, but also to raise interest in the library among the parents of young children. The report indicates that parents of young children are more likely than other adults to utilize the entire spectrum of library services, from browsing shelves and checking out items, to utilizing the library’s website and technology resources. Parents are also more likely to support new and expanded library services, such as library services for mobile devices, e-books, and digital media labs.
Parents represent a group of ready-made library supporters on which we can rely to help promote existing library services, and to help build support for new and expanded library services. Because libraries have a great tradition and reputation of providing quality services to children, we’ve also gained a great group of library supporters in parents. This report further emphasizes the importance of focusing promotion of all library services to parents, and of looking to parents to help advocate for your library to help build and cultivate support in your community.
View or download the full report at http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/05/01/parents-children-libraries-and-reading/.