Programs are typically during the day, with the exception of a special evening “pajama” time.
Sessions involve stories, songs and movement activities directed by a trained children’s librarian, who helps parents learn how to foster early literacy skills within their kids.
And for those who are interested in exposing their tykes to a different language, there’s even a Spanish story time.
“We had a request for this a while back,” says librarian Pam Hunter. “I think the idea was to make it appeal to both Spanish-speaking parents and their children, as well as to those who wanted their kids to learn another language.”
Lorena Tardiff, a native Spanish speaker and preschool teacher had already been doing Spanish story time at Redmond Library and was happy to add Woodinville to her schedule.
The local woman, who owns 123 Spanish, an immersion Spanish program for preschoolers in Duvall, strives to make library story time fun and interactive.
She conducts the sessions entirely in Spanish, using a variety of props and musical instruments to complement her choice of books.
The half-hour program, which is centered on a specific theme each week, is full of songs and movement.
“I might do a session on the ocean for example,” she explains, “and I’ll teach basic vocabulary words that have to do with this topic, but it will be in the context of a song, a story or an activity.”
She adds, “I teach vocabulary they can use, vocabulary they can see around them so that it makes immediate sense to them.”
Tardiff’s sessions at Woodinville Library usually attract upwards of 25 parents and kids.
“There’s a good mix of native Spanish speakers and native English speakers, which is great,” she says. “I also get children from other cultural backgrounds, too.”
Tardiff comments that the parents are very interested in learning to speak Spanish themselves and appreciate the format of the sessions because they are very accessible to everyone and highly enjoyable.
“The parents tell me that it’s so much more fun learning Spanish this way instead of through a book,” remarks Tardiff.
The local woman believes that the enthusiasm for second language learning is driven by a desire to communicate with people from other cultures and to gain knowledge about their traditions and ways of life. She notes that Spanish is one of the more popular languages for Americans to study because of the U.S.’s shared border with Mexico and the subsequent number of Hispanics living in the country.
“I think it’s important for people to learn another language,” says Tardiff. “It’s the future. And the earlier you start the process, the easier it is. Young children who begin learning a second language have less pronunciation and accent problems than adults. They will soak it all up like sponges and they will make progress quickly.”
Tardiff adds, “Language learning also helps to exercise the brain and it has been shown to help in learning math and other subjects, too.”
What: Spanish Story Time for ages 2-12 with an adult
When: Wednesdays, 1:30 – 2 p.m., beginning September 12
Where: Woodinville Library