Bippittee, Boppittee Boo, Storytime is for Babies, Too.

On a recent Monday at the Redding Library, a group of parents sit together with their babies on their laps and bounce them to “The Wheels on the Bus.” “Up and down” go the babies in the laps, “up and down.” When the song ends, Diane Gustafson, the library’s head of youth services, turns to a flannel-covered board which she fills with figures to illustrate the stories. One of the babies wanders over and grabs a horse figure, and “helps” by placing it on the board, then pulls it off again. Gustafson is ok with that, and so are the parents. They all realize that babies & toddlers are naturally curious and love to explore. They also know that giving little ones scope to do just that helps them learn.

Photo taken at the Redding Branch Library by Betsy Erickson, Essence Photography,

“By mimicking my actions, the children learn the connections between the figures and the spoken word,” states Gustafson, “These connections translate to an expansion of pre-literacy language skills.”

Infant storytimes offer parents a model for interacting with their babies through songs, movement, stories and books. By the end of their first year, babies will have heard the complement of sounds they will use to build their entire native language. The pre-language skills needed to help children achieve in school and in life are cultivated by singing, rhyming and reading to your child regularly.

[sws_pullquote_left] “Stories with words that rhyme are always appropriate for young children; they like repetition and anything that is familiar is really fun for them,” says Karen O’Quinn, Branch Assistant at Dunsmuir Library. [/sws_pullquote_left] Music is a vital element of infant storytimes because it accesses a different area of the brain than spoken words. Storytime songs are simple, and include repetitive movements such as clapping, tapping or pointing. Songs and stories often rhyme because babies love the repetition of sounds, which builds familiarity.

Butte and Shasta Counties offer storytimes for infants 18 months and younger. In Tehama and Siskiyou Counties, many babies attend toddler storytimes. The Redding Library offers a Wee Read game for children aged six months to six years, where participants receive a game board and get a stamp for each storytime and each book read at home – after 10 storytimes and 10 books, the child gets a book to take home. Programs are educational for parents and babies alike. Both Gustafson and Butte Librarian Brenda Cross report that parents tell them storytime activities influence how they interact with their children at home.

Photo taken at the Chico Branch Library by Pamela Newman

Infant storytimes are one way that libraries expose youngsters to important pre-literacy skills. With music, rhyming, repetition and interaction, these are special times that parents share with their children each week. Other available library resources for parents of young children include dvds, music cds, parenting collections and books … books … books to enjoy both at the library and at home.




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Infant Storytimes in Upper CA Counties

Fun free parent-infant activities that promote bonding, literacy & infant development.


Chico Library: Babies Love Books.
Wednesdays, 9:30am & 10:30am. Ages 0-18 months enjoy stories, songs & bounces. 1108 Sherman Ave. (530) 891-2726.

Oroville Library: Babies Love Books Storytime.
Thursdays, 11am. Ages 0-18months enjoy rhymes, songs & books.1820 Mitchell Ave. (530) 538-7641.

Paradise Library: Infant & Toddler Storytime.
1st, 3rd & 4th Thursdays, 10am. Ages 0-3 years enjoy songs, stories & music. 10am. 5922 Clark Rd. (530) 872-6320.

Paradise Library: Playtime-Storytime.
2nd Thursdays,10am. Ages 0-3 enjoy toys, books & activities. 5922 Clark Rd. (530) 872-6320.


Redding Library: Baby Bookworms.
Ongoing Mondays, 10:30am. Ages 6 months-21/2years enjoy stories, fingerplays & playtime. 1100 Parkview Ave. (530) 245-7253.


Dunsmuir Library: Storytime.
Dunsmuir. Wednesdays, 3:30pm. Children of all ages (infants welcome) enjoy stories & a snack. 5714 Dunsmuir Ave. (530) 235-2035.

Mt. Shasta Library: Songs & Stories For Young People.
Mt. Shasta. Wednesdays, 10:30am. Ages infants to 5 years enjoy stories & sing along to live music. Puppet show on last Weds. 515 East Alma St. (530) 926-203.


Corning Library Pre-school Storytime.
Mondays, 10am. Stories, special guests, marching with instruments & crafts. 740 Third St. (530) 824-7040.

Red Bluff Library: Pre-school Storytime.
Wednesdays, 9:30am. Stories, marching with instruments, crafts & special guests. 645 Madison St. (530) 527-0604. [/sws_blue_box]

Megan Owens
About Megan Owens

Megan Owens is the Outreach Coordinator at the Redding Library. She enjoys promoting reading, storytelling and creative inquiry.

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