As the Children's Librarian at the Golden Library, I often have parents approach me at weekly storytimes. Some ask me if it’s okay for their children to walk around during a baby or toddler storytime. Others are concerned that their child is unable to sit quietly and focus on the book that’s being read.
If this has ever happened to you, I want to assure you that it’s normal and natural for your child to want to move around the room at storytime. Sitting still is a learned skill; therefore it is NOT natural for your child to know how to do this right away. It takes practice! Storytime can be a great place to practice sitting still and increasing attention span, but I want to assure you that your child is getting just as much from the storytime experience when they are moving around the room.
The Every Child Ready to Read  concept (which JCPL uses as a framework for all its storytime offerings) features five practices that encourage early literacy development: Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing and Playing. The beauty of these five practices is that they can be practiced anytime, anywhere, whether sitting still or on-the-go.
So, though it might not seem like your child is paying attention to what is going on up front at storytime, they are absorbing the benefits of storytime without being still. Try singing some of the songs or doing the rhymes at home with your child. You may be surprised at how well they are able to perform these activities without “paying attention” in the conventional sense!
If you’ve got one of those kids who loves to walk around at storytime, we’ve got a new program starting in January that is sure to be a hit with your little one. The Golden Library will be offering a new program using the Every Child Ready to Read framework: the Toddler Play Program.
This program will use the 5 early literacy practices in a high-energy, movement-based program. We’ll talk and sing and play, practicing pre-reading skills along with gross and fine motor skills. Come have a blast with us! Here’s the schedule for the New Year:
Toddler Play Program
Fridays, 11:15 am
Registration is required. Register one week in advance at the Golden Children’s Information Desk or by phone.