School is back in session, and many new area preschoolers will soon meet a special biweekly visitor with a bag full of fun. Ms. Amy has been bringing bags of books to eight area preschools every other week for the past few years. She’ll read as many of the books as she can in a half an hour, then leave the whole bag for the class to read as many times as they want for the next two weeks. Then Ms. Amy will return to exchange the old books for new ones and the fun begins again!
These outreach programs were made possible through a grant from North Strabane Township designed to bring library services to the children of North Strabane. An additional grant from the Grable Foundation—the same grant that funded the library’s circulating Young Explorers kits of educational toys and games—allowed the library to expand the collection of books used in these outreach programs. Now Ms. Amy has 96 different bags of ten books each (with some additional holiday books to add in when appropriate) that can be rotated among the classes she visits. Each bag has a theme that often, by request (and sometimes by accident!), will complement whatever topic the class is already talking about.
A number of the most popular classic and contemporary picture books are scattered throughout the collection, as well as lesser-known tales that quickly become new favorites once Ms. Amy shares them. There are books tied in to popular cartoon characters, and high-interest nonfiction books to introduce concepts. For preschools that are also daycares, there are board books for the younger children, longer picture books and a few chapter books for the school-aged kids who come after school.
Kids, don’t expect to just sit silently listening as Ms. Amy reads. She’ll make sure to share stories that require interaction: dancing, call-and-response, guessing games, and more. Some books are serious, but some are very, very funny so laughing along is definitely encouraged! If Ms. Amy comes to your preschool, give her a big hello!