Maine is one of five states chosen to take part in one of the first academic studies on the efficacy of story time. OCLC, along with partners at the Washington State Library and Thrive Washington have been working with the Information School of the University of Washington to compile data and implement best practices into a program called Supercharged Storytimes!
The first research phase, unsurprisingly, took place in Washington State. 80 public libraries took part. This phase was a roaring success, and now the project has expanded to five more states. Maine was selected after a multi-tiered process, and being chosen is quite a feather in Maine’s cap. In addition to Maine, the other states are: Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and North Carolina.
In this phase, each state gathers a cohort of public library staff who present story times on a regular basis. Staff who are interested apply directly to OCLC. Library staff can expect to gain wonderful information and practical skills from this experience, whether they are new to story times or long-term presenters. Participating in this project will:
- Enhance existing early literacy programs (such as Every Child Ready to Read) with tips and tools that can help you purposefully and creatively incorporate essential early literacy concepts into your story times;
- Encourage sharing of and learning from experiences and ideas through an online-based peer support network;
- Provide you with research-based tools and tips that can aid story time interactivity and engagement with children and caregivers;
- Give you the confidence that what you are doing really does make a difference in helping young children learn to read;
- Empower you to articulate the value and impact of the early literacy services your library provides.
Hopefully you can see that some of these benefits are of particular interest to Maine. First, all of the project takes place online. In a state where travel to meetings, workshops and get-togethers is difficult, taking part in a high-quality, online experience is a boon to many.
Second, you probably know that in Maine, a very small percentage of children are able to go to preschool. Story time becomes crucial to a child’s school readiness. Presenting the best story times you possibly can is helping young children get ready to read in kindergarten (or before!) and is making a measurable difference in Maine.
Third, we see more and more in Maine that cities are struggling to make ends meet, and the public library often suffers for this. As the last bullet above states, this project will allow participants to explain the value of early literacy skills, story time, and the public library, and describe the impact these have on children and Maine’s future.
The Maine State Library hopes that every public library story time provider in Maine signs up for this project. The links below lay out the information and expectations in detail. Please read the information carefully. If you have any questions or need help, please contact Early Literacy Consultant Shannon Schinagl at the Maine State Library: firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-287-5660.
Need a general overview? OCLC has provided a Supercharged Storytimes! Announcement Letter.
A more detailed description of Supercharged Storytimes! can be found here.
Please read the Supercharged Storytimes! Participant Overview very carefully. All of the nitty-gritty is spelled out here, including requirements, time commitment, and what you can expect.
If you choose to participate, apply with a Statement of Interest.
If you would like to read the research from the first phase, the academic study is called Project VIEWS2.
Finally, the deadline for application is Friday, September 11, at 5:00 EST.
Please join Maine in participating in this exciting project!
Early Literacy Consultant
Maine State Library