Sensory Storytime Benefits
Sensory Storytimes are used for...
- Making connections with the community
- Connecting patrons to resources
- Relaxation, "Safe Space"
- Dance and movement activities
- Opportunity to listen to stories and music
- Engage in quiet activities, coloring, reading, puzzles, crafts
- Providing support for an underserved population
Ideal Books for Sensory Storytime
Choose books with chanting verses, rhyme, sensory stimulation and photo-realistic.
Books that invite participation:
Can You Growl Like a Bear by John Butler
Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj
Who Hops? by Katie Davis
Shout! Shout it Out! by Denise Fleming
Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow by Susan Shea
Dogs Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
Get the Word Out
Let your Staff know, they are the best marketing agents.
Contact local businesses and organizations who may be able to donate time and services.
Get in touch with your neighborhood schools, daycares and churches.
Create in-house fliers letting your patrons know about your programs.
Advertise on your library's webpage and in local newspapers and magazines.
Why do this type of storytime?
Sensory Storytime includes children who are sometimes excluded by regular storytimes.
It gives freedon to children with special needs within a structured space.
Conversations before or after storytime are always great to follow up on how each child can get the best experience out of storytime.
Peer inclusion, or adding children who are typically developing helps both kids with special needs and the other children raising sensitivity, awareness, socialization, and development as they head toward school. This way they can learn from each other.
You are helping any child with Atypical social development to feel comfortable in the library, often leading to less acting out or negative issues when they come to the library on regular visits.
Make it FUN!
Do you have a special talent?
Use it in your program!
Brief History of Library Storytimes
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, libraries in the United States began offering storytimes for children, before the principles of early literacy had even been articulated. These story hours often featured sing-alongs and clapping along to rhythms, in addition to the sharing of picture books and stories. Without the benefit of present-day emergent literacy research, librarians selected stories that featured repetition and rhyme, noticing their "obviously engaging effect on children" Storytimes of the past were often more rigid in structure than contemporary programs. For example, storytimes in the early 1980s were generally restricted to preschoolers, with pre-registration required, and parents may not have been allowed in the room.
Storytimes have continued to be a mainstay of library programming for children. Today, family interaction is an essential component, and storytimes exist for newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, and families. The wide variety of program availability serves several functions, including, "foster a love of books and literacy in children, to give families a welcome and positive library experience, and to model and articulate good reading techniques to parents and caregivers." 
Specifically designed to meet early literacy goals, the skills and experiences given to today's storytime attendees helps prepare children for school and develops reading readiness. This page will summarize the research behind early literacy, discuss and justify the various components of storytime, give an overview of storytime planning and execution, and offer suggestions for further reading and storytime resources.