As parents, we often look for development opportunities for our children. Anything from athletics to academics. The appropriate age to begin is currently defined as: “Never too early to start.” The fact is that any positive exposure we provide our child with comes with great benefits regardless of what the activity might be.

How our communities and society develop certainly impacts how we find and secure those opportunities our children need. Add some significant price tags to some of those that are limited or out of reach.

I am a mother of three (19, 17, and 7 years old). With that said, I consider myself an “older” mom. Being an older mom has allowed me to experience early childhood parenting in two different decades. To provide you with an idea of what that means, here is an example: 

Growing up, my oldest daughter and son were not allowed more than 20 minutes of screen time each day. Doing more would’ve been unthinkable! Fast forward to 2019, and my 7-year-old daughter gets more than 20 minutes every day and even has her own device! So yes, times have changed a tad! 

And while I have flexed on that regard and many others, you can ask my older children as they watch their little sister “live the life,” the important things remain the same, and one thing I believe one should never flex on is exposing to good reading time. 

Research has shown that the benefits of reading to a child are endless. Reading aloud to an unborn child gives them the foundation of language and speech, as babies can hear voices and absorb language before they leave the womb.

Now, if they can perceive it before birth, imagine what reading does for them when they’re born! 

As a parent reading this, you know nothing I’m saying is news to you. I mean, come on, it’s a no-brainer, right? But! As with anything, you also know that when it comes to making time while juggling all kinds of parenting responsibilities, sometimes it is easier said than done.

I want to share one thing that can be accessible and realistic. Its name is storytime! Here is a brief 101 on why you need to check it out:


Parenting is expensive, right? Well, imagine having an opportunity to take your child to a program that’s complete and, above all, free! Well, imagine no more because most public libraries hold storytime and are open to the public at no cost! 

Depending on your location, you may find more than one to fit your child’s age group needs. If your local library does not offer one, check bookstores too.

What goes on in storytime?

The librarian or bookstore representative will pick three to four books to read. Sometimes, they do it by theme or author. Check their calendar to know what kind of stories or themes they will have.

Children and parents alike are encouraged to sit around the person reading in a circle. Each book is introduced from front to back. The first thing they will do is welcome everyone and present the books to be read that day.

Children will learn all the parts a book has: cover, index, title, author, etc. The storytime teller will teach your child how to find the author’s name, the story’s synopsis, and, of course, to look at the illustration and see how it ties into the story itself. 

The storytime narrator plays a massive role in how this activity will unfold. They will add tone, expression, and feelings as they read the book. Children will get a chance to learn vocabulary and its pronunciation from the librarian and how to take turns answering questions to help them process the story.

This type of interactive reading helps children build comprehension skills while making it fun!

The development benefits

Depending on the theme, the library or bookstore will also have a chance to sing songs related to the story or theme, hold stuffed animals or toys, and, my favorite part, even dance between books!

If you are in a library, you will also have the opportunity to check out the book your child read and take it home so they can, in turn, read it back to you! Yes! Children have fantastic memory skills. Storytime is a great exercise for them to work that memory muscle in the brain! 

If you are in a bookstore, there is a good chance the bookstore may have price discounts on copies of the books read. Depending on the location, they might give you one for free!

In addition to the core comprehension and listening skills children develop, storytime is a great way to socialize and learn basic concepts such as sharing or taking turns.

If the storytime had music, there would be another significant layer of development as well, as children would have the opportunity to work on their motor skills and, of course, how to be vocal, too!

The benefits storytime offers regarding comprehension, knowledge retention, social, cognitive, and physical development can’t be matched with any other activity I know of. 

Storytime gives your child invaluable opportunities for growth without breaking the bank! Believe me, some development activities, such as dance, athletics, and academic programs, are as expensive as a college course! So, trust me when I tell you you can’t find a complete program like this for free. 

The hidden bonuses

Storytime lets you enjoy watching your child learn and interact with the storyteller and their peers. It’s also a respite for you.  

For thirty to 45 minutes, your child will give all their attention to the storyteller or her peers! All you have to do is show up and keep an eye on your child, but overall, you get to sit back, relax, and watch how beautiful your child is!  I started taking my oldest daughter to storytime when she was two months old. She learned to crawl, talk, walk, dance, read, and sing at the library. I have no doubt that storytime helped her develop a love for books, knowledge, and a desire to explore the world. 

As for me, I was a new mom in a new city. I loved the fact we had a rewarding experience every time we went, as she had other kids to play and talk to while I exchanged motherhood stories with other moms who had questions of their own. 

All in all, the benefits of storytime are not only for children alone but for the family as a whole. If you haven’t experienced storytime, I urge you to call your local library or bookstore to find out when the next time is and prepare to probably have one of the most memorable, fun, and loving times with your child.