Story time at Meramec Library

Posted on 16 April 2013 by admin

STLCC-Meramec students read for children

Katy Smith and her son Augie sit down with others to listen to children stories read by Meramec education student Sarah Johnson. The program meets on select Wednesdays, allowing young children and their parents gather to listen to reading sessions led by Meramec education students. | PHOTO BY: ALEX KENDALL

By: Gretchen Daniels
-Copy Editor-


This semester STLCC-Meramec students had the opportunity to read to young children. On select Wednesday afternoons starting in February, students who completed the Read from the Start training program conducted by the Missouri Humanities Council prepared a lesson plan and lead a one hour-long reading session for community children.

Faculty member Diane Pisacreta, and reference librarians Becky Helbling and Katy Smith were involved in making this program available to Meramec students.

“This is a service learning project we offer through Human Growth and Development. [The Missouri Humanities Council] send a trainer down and you go through the training. It’s a two day training,” Pisacreta said. “Students are trained on how to read to children, and then they’re given books. The students then sign up for a Wednesday afternoon, and they prepare a lesson plan and they bring in the books they are going to be reading and a craft they are going to be doing.”

Meramec had 12 student and faculty participants attend the training sessions, and each trainee was given books by the Missouri Humanities Council to prepare for reading sessions.

“They did include books that were at many different levels. We discussed this [book] ‘White on Black’ that is just images, and how we might use that with an appropriate age group,” Smith said.

In addition to reading, students were encouraged to pick a theme for their session and create an interactive atmosphere for engaging the children attending.

“Everyone has come up with different activities for the kids to do,” Helbling said.

Students have constructed sessions around various themes including the moon and fish.

“I am so proud of our students who have done the story times because they have just gone way beyond just basic story reading and gone into actual storytelling, and really involving the kids,” Smith said.

The sessions have included a variety of activities: the reading of three to four books, crafts, games, power point presentations and cookies.

“I tell [the students] if you play the guitar or the harmonica now is the time to crack it out,” Pisacreta said.

This is the first semester Meramec has offered this experience to students, but there are hopes to continue with the program next fall. Sessions have taken place in the library’s confluence room.

Sarah Johnson led the reading session on April 3, and prepared a mouse theme for the children.

“For a student who is going into teaching, like me, it’s great practice and good experience,” Johnson said.

A benefit of the reading program is it gives education students a chance to exercise their skills and explore working with young children since most of the attendees have been around the age of two.

“We get a lot of education students. So, they know they like kids and they know they want to teach, but not all [education] majors have contact with children early on,” Pisacreta said. “I really believe that if you’re interested in doing something as a career the best way to figure out if it’s a good fit for you is to do it a couple times.”

As this semester comes to a close, the positive effects of the reading sessions have extended beyond the lesson plans.

“It’s a positive way to get people reading. It encourages us to read different books; it encourages our students to read, and it encourages little ones to read,” Smith said.





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