Family Story Time builds early learning skills

By Michelle Bacallao | Oct 02, 2013
Photo by: Michelle Bacallao April McCoy reads to children during Family Story Time at the Waynesville Library.

“You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in and you shake it all about,” sings Keaten Mason along with other children as they gather in a circle.

Early years in a child's development are crucial to future success. According to Children Now, a children's advocacy movement in California, 85 percent of a child's brain structure is developed by age 4, but less than 10 percent of public investments in education are spent on children ages 4 and younger.

At the Haywood County Public Library, programs with emphasis on younger children have been developed. Every week, parents and grandparents bring young children to the library for learning and fun. At 11 a.m. on Wednesday mornings, the Waynesville branch offers Family Story Time with April McCoy. The event has been running for several years and is open to all ages, but it is generally preschool-aged children who show up.

Family Story Time includes books, finger plays, songs and a craft and lasts about an hour. Last Wednesday, children sang songs including the “Hello Song,” the “Goldfish Song,” “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and the “Hokey Pokey.”

Songs are a great learning tool for young children and focus on the “3 r's”: rhyme, rhythm and repetition. After music time, Mccoy read “The Fox in the Library” and “Leaves in Fall” to the children. The day was concluded with a construction paper craft.

“The children are having fun and learning without even realizing it,” said McCoy.

Group activities are beneficial to children because they learn to get along well with others and build skills such as hand-eye coordination, dexterity, direction-following and listening skills. McCoy said the library's programs began as a way to reach out to the community.

For new mothers and newcomers to Haywood County, programs like Family Story Time are a great way to connect with others. Diana Corbin has been bringing her four grandsons, including Keaten and Hampton Mason, for about seven years. She said it was a great chance for the kids to build social skills and become more comfortable in group settings.

Family Story Time runs throughout the year and is one of several learning programs at the Haywood County Public Library. Other programs include Movers and Shakers, Ready for Learning, Puppy Tales, Mother Goose Story Time and more.

Programs are offered at the Canton and Waynesville library branches. To view programs and events, visit