Storytimes build the foundation for a lifetime of learning

Building literacy skills and inviting interactive play. Storytimes focus on the key development areas for the youngest learners. 

The results are positive, and parents keep coming back again and again. 

Theresa Long brought her older daughter, Elliet, to library programs several years ago. Elliet is now 9 and thriving in school thanks to the skills learned at Storytime and the preschool lessons her mom was able to give at home. 

“It’s beneficial, she’s a very good reader and super smart,” says Theresa, who now attends Little Explorers at Elkhart Public Library’s downtown location with her 5-year-old. “Adrienne needs exposure to other group settings before going to kindergarten. It’s always free and that’s a big deal for my family and super age appropriate.” 

Allison McLean, head of EPL’s children’s department, says Storytimes make learning fun for families and kids. 

“It’s good to also know how much important learning is going on during that time,” says Allison. “Picture books are known to include a much wider vocabulary than our typical spoken language. Reading these books will expose children to new words.” 

Theresa and other parents say they believe socializing and storytelling is especially important for their children, who are doing preschool at home. 

Peyton Blodgett started bringing her kids, Sawyer, 3, and Cruz, 1, to Dunlap’s Storytime last year. 

“It’s nice to have a structured time where they come and listen to someone other than me and talk with other kids,” she says. 

Katie Laborde brings her three kids, Lewis, 6, Josie, 4, and Fran, 2 to Dunlap, too. 

“I think it’s a great place to learn, and for my kids, who are homeschooled, to interact with other kids, get social skills, learn to sit still and listen,” she says. 

Librarians also bring movement, music and activity into their Storytimes. Craft projects and interactive music, like shakers and rhythm sticks, build motor skills and creativity. 

“I love how (Storytimes) integrate color, words and music with things like motor skills,” Katie says.  

Nancy Moringstar brings her 3-year-old granddaughter, Margaret, to Dunlap’s Storytime. They also attend Downtown’s Little Explorers program, which features stations for play and literacy. 

“We like having the toys and things that we wouldn’t have at home, especially the sensory items like bird seed, shaving cream or magnets,” Nancy says. “They touch on the things that are important (for development).” 

Storytimes happen at each Elkhart Public Library location. Find the one that best fits your family’s schedule at