At first glance, the visit by Angela Bronson to Glenwood Elementary looked like a typical scene of a children's librarian reading a book to rapt kindergartners.

She read a little, showed the pictures in the book, and asked questions that the children eagerly answered.

But while the students were having fun learning about puppies, Ms. Bronson had a bigger mission.

She is a specially-trained librarian at the Kent Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library who is part of the StoryTimes initiative, now in its third year in Toledo Public Schools.

The Intensive StoryTimes program combines traditional story time approaches (singing songs, reading a book and rhyming) with techniques associated with Dialogic Reading, an approach that has been shown to accelerate the development of pre- and early-literacy skills. In this approach, adults don't just read a book aloud to children but rather involves the child in telling the story through a series of questions and prompts.

Dialogic Reading techniques, which have been shown to accelerate the development of early literacy skills, especially oral language skills, are described here:

The Intensive StoryTimes program was introduced in 19 TPS Kindergarten classes in the fall of 2013 with two goals: increase the children's interest in books and reading and strengthen their pre-literacy skills so they would be more to books and learning to read.

During the 2013-2014 school year, children’s librarians from the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library presented 12 to 15 Intensive StoryTimes each to 19 kindergarten classes in eight schools. The participating teachers were surveyed after the completion of the program and they were unanimous in wanting the program back in their classrooms.

This school year, 41 pre-K, kindergarten, first grade and special education classes in 17 TPS schools are being served by the specially-trained librarians.

Posted on February 16, 2016