By TIM CLEVELAND
As part of its continuing efforts to get children reading, the Main branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County hosted a family story time event on July 8.
Juvenile librarian Ashley Bentfeld read several books with a weather theme, including “It Looked Like Spilt Milk”, which is about clouds, plus books about rain and there were also music activities.
“Family story time is a different type of program because it’s not geared for a specific age,” she said. “We saw that we had a lot of kids coming in with families and sometimes they don’t want to bring the babies to the programs if they’re for the older kids, or vice versa, so this is a good opportunity to kind of work towards the whole family.”
Bentfeld said the family story times attract crowds of 3-15 people. The July 8 event had 14 attendees, seven children and seven adults.
Bentfeld said the weather theme was a part of the library’s larger focus this summer.
“This summer we’re focusing on science, so we’ve picked different science-type themes,” she said. “We did robots, we did gross, icky, science-y stuff. Weather’s a good science theme for kids.”
Tonisha Villanueva of Youngstown attended along with her 6-year-old daughter, Trinity Spell.
“They do the different evening programs where they read the stories to the kids,” Villanueva said. “It gives her interaction. She likes it. This is our second summer doing the Summer Reading Program.”
In addition to listening during the family story time, Trinity also received a beach ball and a pass to the Oh Wow! museum for having read eight hours worth of books for the Summer Reading Program.
“I read any kind of book,” she said. “It has to do with dogs, babies. I read any kind of book.”
Bentfeld said the programs not only help children read, it also helps improve their skills in the classroom.
“Our goal is always to foster a love for reading,” she said. “In addition to that, we focus on literacy skills, letter knowledge, phonetic awareness, different things that help the younger kids when they’re getting ready to read and for older kids to implement what they’re doing in the classroom.”