As the librarian read aloud from Silly Sally, some toddlers sat on their parents laps, listening. Others waddled around, while more paid attention for a bit before looking around to absorb everyone else in the room.
The Allen County Public Library has had read-aloud story time for about a decade, says Mary Voors, childrens services manager, and it has always been popular, despite the apparent move away from picture books.
In fact, the library is getting the same number of – if not more – picture books coming in, Voors says. Part of the increase is because of reissued classics such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, while another part is because of picture books with movie or TV tie-ins, such as Yo Gabba Gabba.
Not only is the library receiving more picture books, but people are checking out large quantities.
Which is a good thing – picture books have an important place in a childs development, Voors says, pointing out that the American Academy of Pediatrics says children younger than 2 shouldnt have any screen time. Thats no TV and no computers.
The books just offer such a beautiful opportunity for parent and child to bond together, she says. And when the grownup is reading to the child, through that behavior, theyre showing that they value the child, that they value the act of reading, and the child is learning how to begin the process of reading.
Plus, picture books can teach creative thinking skills and vocabulary skills as the child discusses the pictures.
Its fascinating to sit with a child, and very often, they will see things that we as grownups may overlook, Voors says.
Voors remembers reading a picture book with a child, and in the images was a clock on the wall. After the second or third reading, the child pointed out that the clock was showing the progression of the day through the book – it wasnt always set on the same time.
I dont know frankly whether I ever would have noticed that, Voors says.