There’s a new sort of normal that’s developed at my house in the last two months. Every other week, I ask my kids to play outside or upstairs while I talk, sing and read to a camera in my living room.
I use my imagination a lot. I imagine that there are kids and parents and caregivers in the room with me. They answer my questions and sing along. They even smile and laugh with me when I accidentally use the wrong word in a rhyme.
I’m imagining you!
When our library buildings closed, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh librarians hustled to move our in-person storytimes online. You can check out the fruits of our labor of love here where our virtual storytimes are archived.
While some things are different with this online format—I can’t really hear families responding to questions—the goals of online storytime are the same as the old-fashioned face-to-face ones. By sharing five simple early learning activities—talk, sing, read, write and play—we’re helping families to develop their children’s early literacy skills.
Just as we do in our in-person storytimes, each librarian uses the same welcome and goodbye songs each week. This serves as a signal for kids who tune in regularly. They can better understand, prepare for and participate in the beginning and end of our time together.
Each session includes two literacy tips that the librarian shares with caregivers. For example, after sharing a fingerplay (a rhyme with finger motions) the librarian might explain how moving their finger muscles helps children develop fine motor skills needed for writing letters in Kindergarten. They might explain the link between reading and writing, then share easy ways families can develop fine motor skills at home.
Although how we are delivering storytimes has changed, one important thing remains the same. Caregivers are still the key to success.
Parents and guardians are their child’s first and most important teachers. And research tells us that young children learn best from direct, responsive interactions with caregivers.
We hope that parents and caregivers like you will enjoy our online storytimes and find ways to unlock the learning shared on the screen to bring stoytimes to life for your children.