”Wake up, Boomer!” Kids in Topeka and Shawnee County love to say these three little words.
Boomer, the loveable bear puppet, often steals the show at storytime, but that’s okay because he helps get kids excited about reading. Boomer’s a busy bear. He travels with the library’s five Outreach Storytellers to 75 daycare centers and preschools, helping tell stories to more than 3,700 children ages 3–5 each month.
At storytime, kids have so much fun they hardly realize they are learning vocabulary skills, narrative skills, letters and shapes. Storytimes allow them to practice the concentration skills they’ll need in school. The stories, props and music spur their creativity.
“Our kids can never get enough books, songs and stories. Storytime unites the kids. They anticipate the visits from the library,” said Angela Stous, Building Blocks director. “Reading is magical. No matter where you are in life, reading is important to help you challenge yourself.”
For these children who can’t yet read, the challenge is fairly rudimentary and includes things like following text left to right, and being able to describe what they see on the page. These simple steps spark an interest in reading that will last their whole lives through.
The Outreach Stortyellers often give day-care activity directors ideas for everyday story sharing. The storytellers share 188 storytimes each month, lasting about 30 minutes per visit. To discuss the possibility of a visit by a Outreach Storyteller to your facility, call Youth Services at 580-4565 or email Youth Services Supervisor LeAnn Brungardt.