With many state-run buildings remaining closed until further notice, many public library systems have transitioned their regular story time sessions to online. For parents looking to cut down on how much TV their kids are watching throughout the day, participating in a virtual storytime session can be a happy medium. In addition to reading books, many also offer sing-a-longs and other participatory activities free-of-charge.
In Prince George’s County, Md., the public library system hosts live bi-weekly book readings that are followed by an interactive sing-a-long session for kids ages 2 to 5. For families with young children in Meredith, N.H., the Meredith Library has a video archive posted on its website that includes 31 storytime clips, as well as one arts and crafts video. The Los Angeles Public Library System offers virtual story time sessions using a felt board for babies, toddlers and big kids through Zoom, as well as on Instagram Live. Keep in mind that you may be required to register in advance in order to participate in these virtual library activities. So be sure to visit your local branch’s website for specific details.
Television networks geared toward children’s programming also are offering virtual story time sessions featuring prominent personalities. For example, PBS Kids in partnership with book publisher Penguin Random House launched a Read Along series, which is livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. As part of this series, former first lady Michelle Obama has been hosting Mondays With Michelle at noon EST. She’s been reading classic children’s titles such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Miss Maple’s Seeds. My toddler has especially enjoyed tuning in, because she gets to read along to books she already has at home in addition to discovering new ones.