Libraries and Children’s Literature

Over the past few years, we have realized the importance of libraries and storytelling can have a significant impact on early development in children.  We have also observed how children can connect over books by having engaging conversations, sharing opinions and perspectives.  Storytelling sessions helped us connect with the children in a better way. Libraries offer creative and innovative approaches to support language, literacy development, and lifelong learning.  

One of the most important experiences that libraries provide is an opportunity to develop a love for books and reading. Reading is a fundamental skill for learning. It can change lives, especially for the first-generation learners, who are not exposed to children’s literature or even a literate environment at home. People can learn, share, and discuss, and can be a vital lifeline for people living in disadvantageous circumstances. Libraries offer repeated exposure to positive interactions for the children. Children’s literature connects with children and brings out their independence, confidence, and happiness while promoting critical thinking.

Varied Storytime, access to books, activities, role play, book discussions, book reviews, book talks, read-aloud sessions — all of these things foster brain development and early literacy, and other skills among children. Books provide learning opportunities outside the home to experience the positive effects of reading, talking, listening, and playing – activities that help build connections in a child’s brain. This exposure to books and storytelling creates a love for reading and encourages children to read and engage with books.

Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination. It has the ability to build a greater sense of community, enhance knowledge and memory recall, support early literacy development, and expand creative potential in young children.

  • Stories can be used to communicate meaning and emotions; children may not relate much to issues, but they can relate to other people – in other words, to their stories.
  • Stories can be used to get social change – We can use books to talk about topics of social stigma in a less intimidating way.
  • Story sessions helped us in understanding thought process of children and issues faced by them.
  • Children can connect to one book or the other in the wide range of story books.
  • Act of reading becomes a conversation with the child; the facilitator can be a listener, questioner, and audience for the child.
  1. Vikas Secondary – Inculcating Self Learning practices and Socio Emotional Learning in High School Children.

We worked with 45 members of 8th-grade students at Govt. High School, Sanath Nagar, Hyderabad to improve their self-learning abilities through libraries and children’s literature. We experimented with our learnings from the Bookworm in this school. We have conducted different interventions like storytelling, read-aloud, book talks, and allowing children to express themselves while doing these activities. For 17 weeks Mr. Srinivasa Chakravarthy and his 5 active members team conducted 2 hours of interventions every week.

Activities: Access and exposure to different varieties of selected books, Book Browsing and book selection, Read aloud and storytelling, Activities in and above, Book borrowing, TLM Preparation, Classroom Teaching, Secondary Research

Impact

  • 15 out 45 students are coming forward to do storytelling, initially it was only 2.
  • and 7 non Telegu students are actively participating in our activities even though they didn’t know read and write Telugu. They are able to understand the stories and express themselves in the form of drawing, acting, recreating stories etc., Their listening skills have improved.

Due to the pandemic situation, schools were closed, so we started conducting different following online activities in and around libraries and children’s literature.

2. Libraries in Schools – Online Capacity Building Workshops for Volunteers

  • The objective of this is to introduce and deepen the understanding of volunteers in the domain of Libraries and children’s literature. Sessions include both theory and practice. This is one of the major activities of ASWA in this pandemic period.
  • Content discussed – concepts, elements, and activities of a vibrant library like the role of libraries and storytelling, Collection, Display, Book Borrowing, Book Caring, Storytelling, read aloud, book talk, choral reading, book discussions etc.,
  • Engaged participants with warm-up games, practicing reading aloud, book talks, book discussions, Quizzes, weekly read aloud challenges, group discussions on related articles, including art and craft in the library activities.
  • On average, about 10 participants from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gurgaon, London, and Kuwait are participating in the session online every Sunday from 2 to 3.30 pm.
  • Participants are able to introduce books to their children and other children.
  • Till now we have conducted 45 such sessions since April 2020.

3. Children Story Time – Online Storytelling

  • To encourage children to read storybooks, express their thoughts and idea, develop critical thinking, expression, and narration, visualization, reading, questioning, and improve communication skills.
  • We could engage them with various methods like aloud the storybooks, asking questions about the pictures and words, and games.
  • Emphasis was to encourage children to read storybooks, express their thoughts and ideas, think critically, narrate, visualize, read, question.
  • 7 to 9 children from 4 to 15 years are participating, every Sunday from 1 pm to 2 pm.
  • Since June 2020 we have conducted 35 sessions.

4. Special Talks under Children- Books-Libraries Series

  • Special talks aim to create awareness and deepen the understanding of storytelling, storybooks, Libraries, How Children Learn, How to bring and work with children, and related topics.
  • Each Session (two hours long) consists of one hour lecture & Q & A. Using Google meet we organized. Experienced educationalists CA Prasad Garu (Nai Talim South Zone coordinator), Bhagya Lakshmi Garu & Suresh Kosaraju Garu (Manchipustakam Publishers) shared their experiences.
  • Conducted three online sessions 2020-21, attended by 315 members (Parents, Teachers, and Other NGOs).