Guidelines for Family Storytimes
Family Storytimes at the library offer a unique group experience. Storyimes provide a rich literacy environment, engaging kids with music, movement, hands-on activities and games in addition to exposing them to delightful stories. Storytimes are often a child's first group experience. The first few times they come, they may yell, run, scream or display other normal behaviors.
Here are some tips for making this time happy and worthwhile for all:
1. When it comes to noise . . .
- Helpful: Verbally responding to the story, soft sounds (happy or unhappy), joyful reactions.
- Not helpful: Loud speech or shouting that is unrelated to the story, scolding a child loudly, private conversations between adults, ringing cell phones, crying that drowns out the story (ok to leave and return).
2. When it comes to movement . . .
- Helpful: Clapping, tapping, jumping, etc. when part of the story or song; going forward when invited to participate; toddlers toddling around close to parent or caregiver; quietly leaving and re-entering; joyful reactions.
- Not helpful: Running during the program, unsupervised toddlers in away-from-program areas, taking away books and materials that are part of the presentation, touching (tickling, poking, etc.) other children during a story, blocking the view of others by standing directly in front of the presentation.
3. When it comes to general behavior . . .
- Adults model good audience behavior for children by being attentive and participating.
- Sitting with a parent or caregiver helps a child under the age of three to focus upon the program.
- Arriving on time is important. It is a good idea to allow extra time for parking and visits to the bathroom.
- If you do arrive late, please wait for a break between stories, songs or acts before joining the group, otherwise you may replace the story presenter as the main focus and break the spell of the story.
- Please do not bring snacks, drinks or toys; their presence provides a diversion for all from the program.
- If the children in your care become upset please remove them until they are comfortable and ready to listen, then quietly re-enter and try again.
- It is not advisable to force children to remain in storytime while they are distraught or having a tantrum.
- If your child does not enjoy the program or you must leave, please do so in a manner that is least disruptive to others.
- Finally, parents and caregivers love to take pictures of their kids enjoying storytime. Please give a heads up to parents of other kids who may be in the frame before you click. This gives them a chance to move their child out of the frame if they would rather not be in the shot.
Please remember: Storytimes are carefully planned presentations that are neither school lessons nor stage performances, but completely unique literary experiences for the child. Each storytime is designed to incorporate pre-literacy skills with delightful children’s books to encourage children’s early love of reading. We appreciate your help in preserving an enjoyable and beneficial storytime experience for all.
Thank you! Oshkosh Public Library Children’s Department