Today I just wanted to share some thoughts I had recently about literacy programs. I recently prepared a Storytime session for a small library. I suspected that there wouldn’t be a lot of children and I had no problem with that at all. A person said a passing comment that if only one person showed up they wouldn’t do it, I believe that it is just as important to run that session regardless of numbers.
A Grandma and Grandpa turned up with their grandson, as they hesitantly entered the room I welcomed them. I explained that they may be the only people there but they are most welcome to stay. We waited another five minutes and then begun the session. Grandma and Grandpa were so engaged with their grandson and the session was quite valuable and interactive. About ten minutes after we started another family joined us and we continued on. It turned out that there was a benefit to having a small group on this day because one of the children were shy and anxious. The smaller group was less overwhelming for him and he soon participated in lifting the flaps in the book for the story I was telling, he warmed up to me and we were able to pause and take our time without having a large group getting restless.
Don’t get me wrong, large groups are great and so much fun for a Storytime session but I want people to know that It doesn’t matter if only one child attends your session, that one child’s access to information, singing, play and literacy is no less important than if you had a group of 50 children. Each child has the the right to learn and be immersed in literacy, to have access to books and music that is free, and each person that walks through the door should feel as valuable as the person before them.
When the session ended the two groups of people went away happy, with one little boy less anxious than when he first arrived and his mamma relieved. That day taught me that numbers do not matter to me and if I only got one family again then I would do that same session without hesitation. It’s each child that matters to me, whether it be one at a time that gets to listen to stories, to sing, to dance and jump about, or whether it be 59 of them. Because one child’s access to this means learning to recognise words on a page, language development, learning through songs and repetition, singing rhymes, being literacy ready for school, and about the right to access information from birth.
So next time you take a Storytime session, are reading to your child or borrowing a library book, take a minute to look at the bigger picture – enjoy those moments of fun and know that it is a valuable learning experience too.
Thank you for listening to my musings (or ramblings perhaps) I’m off to prepare a Storytime session…not sure how many children yet but even if it is only one or two it won’t matter to me.