Every Tuesday and Friday morning in the children's room, families gather to hear stories, sing songs and play together. Children's librarian Jen McKenzie designs a story time each week that supports babies' and young children's learning in many areas: literacy, math, social skills, and emotional development.
Jen draws on her training from the Vermont Early Literacy Initiative to provide evidence-based skills in a relaxed and comfortable setting. The programs are a fun and supportive way for families to explore reading readiness and social interactions with their child, and families can participate whenever it works into their schedule.
Jen weaves early literacy skills into each aspect of the story time. Beginning with a welcome song, she emphasizes phonological awareness through rhyming and repetition. Children pick out their names, or letters that their names begin with, and practice letter recognition. As Jen reads the stories, she provides narratives that the children can relate to, and lays the foundation for print motivation.
The library is an excellent place for children to practice social skills. All are welcome at the library, and there is no expectation for what a child "should" be able to do. If it is a hard day for a child to sit and listen, that is okay. If sharing is difficult, or it is a very shy day, Jen will identify the emotion and offer suggestions for easing the feelings. As children learn the story time routine, they develop a sense of belonging. When children understand routine and expectations, they learn to self regulate their emotions, even when it is difficult.
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