Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Full Circle

It was just about this time last year that I was fortunate enough to attend an all-day workshop on early literacy programming given by Saroj Ghoting, the children's librarian who was the primary force behind the "Every Child Ready to Read" (ECRR) initiative, a movement to educate and train youth services personnel on how to plan storytimes using practices rooted in the science of child development (and how to educate caregivers on early literacy practices as well).

At the time I attended the workshop I had been doing a biweekly storytime for about a year, and had recently been promoted to a position doing anywhere from 10-16 outreach storytimes a week. Now, a year and many, many storytimes later, I find myself on the other side, giving the training!

Today my manager and I conducted a training session for a new group of prospective volunteers for the Storytime-To-Go program. This was the first time a training session had been conducted since I joined the program, but I had the Power Point presentation that had been used previously. The feedback from both the current volunteers that had been through it, and the children's librarian that helped conduct it, was that it was too long and detailed, and too much unnecessary theory. So I re-designed the presentation to focus on the day-to-day policies and procedures, and very practical tips on what makes a good storytime book and how to engage the kids in the stories, music, and other activities, which we also demonstrated.

I thought the training session went very well; it was a small group, but everyone showed up and seemed genuinely interested, and most had some kind of related experience. We were also able to cut it down from 6 hours to 2-1/2 hours. Since I will be working with the volunteers, they can still learn "on the job," so to speak (previously, the program had been all volunteer, so they needed more extensive training before being turned loose on their own). I'm optimistic we will get at least a couple of good volunteers, which I really needed, and maybe even 3 or 4, which would be great!

Later this week I'm helping my manager do a session on early literacy and storytime for an "Early Childhood Community Summit" hosted by the local school system. This session will be for a larger group and include much more information on early literacy skills and the practices used to develop them (based mostly on the "Every Child Ready To Read" program) and how they are applied in storytime, along with the practical information about conducting storytimes and book selection.

I'm very fortunate to work in such a collaborative environment where my input is respected and valued, and glad to have opportunities such as this for professional development! 

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