The Kansas City Public Library has relaunched its Stories to Go program, offering monthly story time sessions to children at day care and early-learning centers in underserved areas of the city. The half-hour gatherings spotlight selected picture books and feature songs, crafts, and other activities.
Specially trained adult volunteers conduct the activities.
“So many amazing organizations in the Kansas City community already promote early literacy development in children under 5, and I think Stories to Go is the perfect addition to this literacy-focused environment,” says Molly Doroba, early learning librarian and Stories to Go coordinator.
The program, she says, “strives to develop intergenerational relationships while instilling a love of reading and future school success in KC’s youngest residents.”
Stories to Go volunteers undergo training to learn storytelling techniques and gain an understanding of the early learning benefits of reading to children.
Story times have long been held at each of the Library’s 10 locations. Stories to Go is designed to make reading and learning as accessible as possible for children who might not have access to a Library branch or to literacy materials at home.
It replicates previous Stories to Go programs that relied on Library staff members as presenters. The Library now utilizes book-loving volunteers who are 18 or older and, once a month, have 30-60 minutes of free time during a workday or a flexible lunch hour. After a background check, they complete online and in-person training sessions led by KCPL librarians.
Interested in applying? You can do it here.
“Avid readers know that books can be gateways to adventure, igniters of imagination, vocabulary builders, joyful escapes, and building blocks for success,” says a current volunteer, Nicoletta Niosi Ortiz. “Reading has been an important part of my life since childhood, and I'm excited to help kids in our community establish their own positive relationships with books.”
It’s a shared passion.
“Yes, reading increases imagination, aids in language development, increases the ability to focus, boosts intelligence, and improves memory,” says volunteer Cathy Manning. “However, those are not the main reasons that I am excited about Stories to Go.
"Reading makes you happy. I dare anyone to read Don't Let Pigeon Drive the Bus! or Plankton is Pushy without smiling. I am excited … to share the joy.”