Thoughtful Parenting: Reading crucial to a child’s language development | SteamboatToday.com

Thoughtful Parenting: Reading crucial to a child’s language development

Sarah Kostin/For Steamboat Today

Thoughtful Parenting First Impressions

As a parent, you know that reading to your child is crucial to his or her language development and preparation for school. If you're already reading to your child, what are the benefits of attending storytime at the library?

Exposure to new books, ideas and voices

At night, before bed, do you dread the moment when your sweet child hands you a book to read with three paragraphs of text on each page? Snore.

The librarians take special care to hand-select only the very best stories that often have audience interaction, repeating phrases, rhymes and lots of humor. We are constantly reading and reviewing the newest picture books to read and share with the kids.

Children benefit from hearing another adult voice reading to them. They learn to listen in a different setting, where they do not repeat the same book over and over again or ask to flip the pages. They gain exposure to books with a wide variety of authors, topics and writing styles.

Learn school readiness skills

Are you nervous your child will never be able to sit still for a storytime in the library? Don't worry. Sitting still and listening is a learned skill. Storytime is a perfect time to practice before a child enters school, with you there to guide him or her and role model good behavior.

We realize kids are squirmy and noisy and snacky. Start out small by sitting in the Storytime Room for five minutes, then quietly leave when your child has reached his or her limit. You will notice your child will stay in the room for a little longer each time.

Recommended Stories For You

By coming to storytime, children see other children listening and interacting with books and each other. It is a great way to start socializing your children to learn to play with other kids in a public setting. Kids learn how to take turns and share, to be (reasonably) quiet in a public place and to take care of a shared space by cleaning up after themselves.

Make it a special event

Storytimes help turn a trip to the library into a special occasion. If you treat storytime as a special family time you look forward to, your child will be just as excited about it as they are about going to the movies or the park. Not to mention, the programs are free and easily accessible, and most do not require advanced sign ups.

It's interactive

Movement helps children develop cognitively; studies have proven that kids acquire knowledge experientially — through play, experimentation, exploration and discovery. Our storytimes are much more than just reading a book aloud. The programs incorporate songs with movement, scarves, shakers, bubbles and interactive flannel or magnet board stories children can touch and feel. Our Little Crafters and Family Crafters Storytimes focus on a craft to help develop a child's fine motor skills.

Benefits for parents

Storytimes will help you learn skills to support your child's learning. At storytime, you will learn songs, finger plays and nursery rhymes you can use at home. The librarian will model good oral reading skills that you can follow — such as pointing to words as you read them, asking children questions about what they see on the page, letting them predict what is coming next in the story and so on. Most importantly, storytime is a lot of fun.

For all programs and events, visit the Bud Werner Memorial Library website at

steamboatlibrary.org/services/kids

Sarah Kostin is youth services librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library.