Grandmother Mrs Ahmed's Storytime Experience

Published on: 17 October 2022

After a very successful first year, BookTrust’s Storytime programme is back and this time is available in over 2,500 libraries across Englandencouraging even more families to use these special places and to share stories together 

In 2021 we launched our first BookTrust Storytime to help families with little or no experience of visiting or using libraries build confidence to do so. Grandmother, Mrs Ahmed heard about our Storytime pilot at Ealing library and took her 18-month-old granddaughter along. They attended for the six-weeks that the pilot programme ran, and her granddaughter hasn’t stopped talking about it since. 

“My granddaughter feels really happy, she looks forward to it. Every morning she says to me, “Grandma, let’s go Zoom Zoom”. ‘Zoom, Zoom, we’re going to the moon’, that’s one of her favourite poems (songs), obviously she can’t say library yet, but ‘Zoom Zoom’ means library to her. She wants to go to the ‘Zoom Zoom’ every day. 

Through Booktrust Storytime families learned how sharing stories and reading together can help with their child’s development as well as giving them some special time together. Parents and library workers noticed that children’s attention span increased as they attended more story-sharing sessions and many families took the books home so they could continue reading together. 

Mrs Ahmed told us that Storytime allowed her to reconnect with the library, spend more time with her granddaughter, and reignite her own interest in reading.  

“The library staff are very good. They interact with us, and after coming for so long, you feel like part of that because we sing along together and mark the stickers about the books we enjoy. It’s nice to interact with the other children, sing the poems and read the books. On top of that we’re allowed to take the books home, which is really good.  

Libraries also offer families a safe place to get to know other people in their community, to meet other children and help their child learn crucial life skills. However, many families often don’t see libraries as a place for them. 

"Going to the libraries makes them (children) be more socially involved with the other children, and I think it helps them feel safe and that it’s ok to be with other children. I think libraries and these types of groups help a lot with the baby's development."

Sharing stories is an invaluable experience for children in their early years. By taking her granddaughter to the library, Mrs Ahmed has seen how this time together can improve well-being, have an effect on learning and help prepare for upcoming changes in their lives, such as starting school or nursery.  

“I would say to families; do come because it really helps your children’s development and with their social skills. When they go to nursery or school, they won't feel so strange meeting other children and other people. Their words, and their vocabulary will increase so much if you read to them. That has been my experience from the past with my own children, and I do the same now for my grandchildren."   

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