Today I took a tour of YouTube to learn about what libraries are sharing with us regarding the various activities – projects, learning stations, centers, technology tools – that real-world libraries are using to promote early literacy activities for their patrons.
Children learn through play. Activities they can directly engage with – see, hear, touch, manipulate, play with, and talk about – provide enhanced opportunities for learning. Activities that are directly related to books provide additional opportunities to reinforce and scaffold children’s learning; these activities can build vocabulary, provide context, generate curiosity, and add sensory learning to the words they see on the page or hear read to them.
Here are some videos I found and want to share with you today…
In the first video, Marisa Conner of the Baltimore County Public Library describes the use of activity stations in the library. These self-service stations are designed to provide access to materials that correspond to books in the collection, and are rotated through by theme. Marisa explains how these activities tie into early literacy and language development skills.
In the second video, Family Place Libraries describes some of the ways that libraries can support the whole family. While not all of our libraries can or will become Family Place Libraries, this video shows some of the ways that we could expand our offerings to create more welcoming, interactive spaces in our libraries. Notice the various kinds of stations and activities depicted in this video. Could some of our children’s areas have a dramatic play area? A block center? A sensory balance beam? Puppets? These are activities that promote all the different kinds of play that enhance children’s learning and development – including literacy.
Here’s an interesting idea: STEM kits for little kids that can be checked out and taken home. In this video, the director of the Harford County Public Library describes the “I’d Like To Be An Entomologist” kit – one example of their mobile STEM kits – and how it can be used for early learning. Each kit includes books, hands-on activities, puzzles, audiovisual materials, and more. Just imagine how these kits could be used in our own programs – even if we didn’t establish them for checkout, imagine how well a themed kit might enhance a storytime theme with hands-on activities!
All of these videos have provided some interesting ideas for hands-on activities we could implement in our libraries to build upon the literacy activities we do in our programs.
These ideas could inspire us, for example, to build a kit like Celebree’s “I Want To Be An Entomologist” kit that goes along with our bugs storytime theme – whether it circulates or not, we can still have it to use for programs.
Or they could inspire us to set up a station in our library where children can explore a hands-on activity while they are visiting the library with their families.
Or they could inspire us to use some of our facility space for play activities, even if it is only on scheduled days and times, so that we can host enrichment activities for children in our communities.
All of these are ways we can add value to our programs and build connections and trust with families who come to us.