Community Outreach – Story Time at the Intermediate Unit

5 Mar

For the past three years, our library has provided an outreach to the county Intermediate Unit offering story time once a month for the preschool class.  I visit the classroom on the first Thursday of the month seeing two different classes of children – one in the morning, the other in the afternoon.  If you are not familiar with an Intermediate Unit, they are connected through the school district and offer services for children with disabilities.  The kids I see have often been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or other possible learning disabilities.

I conduct a traditional story time at the classroom with stories, finger plays, music, and more.  The children get the chance to see a new face, participate in story time, and learn how to transition from one activity to another.  I have such a wonderful time with the kids, although it can be a lot of work sometimes because the kids in the classroom change quite regularly.  The kids often do not look to be paying attention, but I always feel accomplished if at one point each child has focused on a part of a story, a song, or a finger play and I can really tell I’ve reached them.

One note: for the three-year olds, I keep the same format each month, keeping the same songs and just changing the stories.  For the four-year olds, I have now started changing the music, adding more physical activity such as dancing or movement, and change the stories.  A teacher in a classroom like this can tell you the best way to go about story time for children with disabilities.

This is also a great outreach into the community because you’re helping out a local group of people and the teachers are greatly appreciative of the support.  We often will check out books and leave them in the classroom during the month while I’m gone.  Overall, this is one of the parts of my job that I enjoy the most and has some of the best rewards.

This was a quick blog post on the ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) blog that has some great tips for a story time for children with disabilities: http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2011/08/selecting-stories-for-special-storytimes/

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