Storytime-to-Go in Hillsborough, N.C.

Posted on June 06, 2020

Black bag with Orange County Public Library Storytime logo

Student: Alexis Vreeland

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented children and their caregivers with a myriad of challenges. One of these is a long pause on public events, including Storytime at the library. Libraries have nimbly added many virtual offerings, but nothing can replace the treasured experience of being read to in person, from a book that a young child can reach out and touch, with related activities available to support early literacy.

What is the project’s goal?

The goal of this project is to create an impactful at-home Storytime experience for parents and caregivers to use with children.

What is the innovation?

Based on the popularity of the library’s existing literacy resources, the bags cover three themes: seasons, oceans, and learning Spanish. They include handmade felt boards and felt pieces, which help children – especially visual learners – retell a story’s beginning, middle and end; puppets, there to “listen” to a child retell the story, encouraging memory, comprehension, and the development of narrative skills; and literacy tips, outlines, and suggested activities (such as songs, rhymes and fingerplay) by age group.

What has been the impact?

Beth Hawkey, Youth Services Supervisor at the Orange County Public Library, projects a strong, positive impact from this new offering. According to Ms. Hawkey, “Orange County Public Library always provided three storytimes each week for preschool-age children, with an average combined attendance of about 100+ people. That ended in March 2020 due to the library’s closure and COVID restrictions. I know the families and caregivers of our preschool children, especially those who are missing in-person storytime every week, will really enjoy the hands-on experiences that the Storytime-To-Go bags will provide. We already had themed literacy bags of books available. But the addition of the flannel board complete with handmade felt pieces, along with the puppets, will make this a completely different experience, and we are pleased to be able to offer it to our community!”