The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 1, 2013

Library program aims to begin early love of reading

By Erica Benjamin for the SNAP

Friday, February 1, 2013 — At the Stanly County Public Library, they believe it’s never too early to get introduced to the wonders of reading.

Every other Friday, from 11 a.m.-11:20 a.m., the library presents Bouncing Babies Story Time for newborns to children up to 24 months of age.

Library Assistant Caroline Saunders, who leads the program twice a month, has had many years of experience in developing children’s programming for other libraries. After taking a position at the Stanly County Public Library, she once again found herself involved with some of the youngest library patrons.

“When I came here they wanted me to do a children’s story time and I jumped at the chance,” Saunders said.

Each session of Bouncing Babies is filled with  music and movement to stimulate young minds.

“We sing, clap and do nursery rhymes. Usually, I read one very short, age-appropriate book that has big pictures,” Saunders said, adding that some of the most popular books for babies are ones where you lift a flap to reveal another picture.

Saunders explained that each month she tries to come up with a theme such as “Sleepy Time.” The felt boards which are used as props for the nursery rhymes, and which often go along with the theme of the month, are of her own creation.

“I really enjoy making my own felt boards. It’s a lot of fun for me,” she said.

Bouncing Babies Story Time is more than just a fun time for infants and toddlers, Saunders said. Through music and repetition they begin to pick up on language.

“It’s always amazing when they learn to clap and start jabbering when we’re singing. It’s amazing what music and rhyme can do for language acquisition,” Saunders said.

The program can also benefit the caregivers by proving them the opportunity to get to know others with children of the same age.

Salem Taylor of Albemarle has been coming to the program for two months with her 18-month-old daughter, Madelyn, and son, Holden, who is 3 1/2.

“It’s a great program,” Taylor said.

“It’s the only one in this area that I know of for toddlers and babies.”

Stanfield resident Jessica Rice and her daughter, Madeline, 10-months, have attended for approximately half a year. Rice encourages others to give it a try.

“This is a really good program. It’s great for Madeline to have interaction with other babies,” Rice said.

Saunders explained that with the program being new, the library is still exploring ways to raise attendance. Larger groups, she said, can have a positive effect on the social development of infants.

“The more people that are in a group, the more the babies come out of their shells,” Saunders said.

Jennifer Soley of Albemarle has noticed a difference in her daughter’s personality in the year since they have been attending the program.

“She was very clingy and wouldn’t play with other kids,” Soley said of her 18-month-old daughter, Hunter, explaining that she has begun to become more comfortable around others.

“It has helped her become more sociable. I wish they had this program every week.”

The next session of Bouncing Babies Story Time will be Feb. 1 in the Children’s Department of the Stanly County Library, 133 E. Main St., Albemarle. For additional information, call (704) 986-3755.