Somerset County Librarians read and record new stories weekly, now accessible via phone
“Oh, it’s Miss Amy reading a story!” exclaimed North Plainfield resident Micah Henry, 5.
Earlier this summer, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) launched a new service for children – a phone-in storytime, aptly called Dial-a-Story. Librarians system-wide have been taking turns recording weekly stories for Somerset County residents to enjoy from home, from the car, or anywhere they wish.
“Dial-a-Story is a free early literacy service that allows the librarians of SCLSNJ to extend storytime and connect with our youngest patrons – directly in their homes,” said Amy Behr-Shields youth services department supervisor for SCLSNJ’s Warren and Watchung library branches. “It is perfect for bedtime stories, short car trips, or simply spending quality time with your child(ren). Each week – on Friday – listen and follow along to a newly featured book specially selected by your friendly SCLSNJ librarians.”
“Dial-a-Story is part of SCLSNJ’s SOARING (Supportive Opportunities for Achieving Reading In the Next Generation) initiative,” said Jen Fitzgerald, youth services librarian at SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library branch.
Continued Fitzgerald, “Decades of research confirms the importance of reading aloud to foster children’s development and learning. Dial-a-Story is another way for Somerset County children to hear books read aloud to them in addition to our collection of Vox books, playaways, and CD books. And, of course, we encourage all parents and caregivers to use print and eBooks to read aloud to their children as well.”
SCLSNJ’s SOARING initiative is designed to help parents navigate early childhood programming and resources, learn the different strategies used to support early literacy through each developmental stage, and replicate those strategies at home. The newest offering within the Library’s SOARING suite of services is thus far a big hit.
“My 6-year-old daughter, Mikayla, loves Dial-a-Story. After I dialed and gave her the phone she was elated to hear the familiar read aloud. Excitedly she shouted ‘I love this story, Mommy!’ When it was finished I received more hugs and thank-you’s than I knew what to do, just for dialing the number. Now she dials up on her own. Can’t wait for the new story every Friday.” said North Plainfield resident Kesha Carter.
Even older children are enjoying the service. “My son is 9 years old and reads at a high school level, and he found this thrilling,” said North Plainfield resident Janet Costello.
Some previously recorded and heard storybooks have included:
- “Creepy Carrots” by Aaron Reynolds
- “The Book with No Pictures” by B.J. Novak
- “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
- “Bark George” by Jules Feiffer
- “Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed” by Eileen Christelow
- “The Pout-Pout Fish” by Deborah Diesen
- “Thunder Boy Jr.” by Sherman Alexie
- “Dill & Bizzy Opposite Day” by Nora Ericson
- “Outside Over There” by Maurice Sendak
To listen to a story read by one of your favorite SCLSNJ librarians, call 908-458-8409.