26. August 2011 13:31
A Friday morning at Barnes & Noble - Streets at Southpoint is not your average day in retail. The escalators that lead to the second-level children’s department are populated with animated 4-year-olds. Elevator doors open to reveal a parade of strollers carrying younger siblings. Parents are making last minute cell phone calls to friends – “You’ve got to get here now; it’s about to begin.”
What’s with all the excitement? Children’s storytime begins at 10:30 sharp. Getting a good seat is a must. Certain Fridays you may even be so fortunate as to meet a children’s storybook character.
The weekly reading event makes stories come alive for young children and families from across the Triangle by encouraging early literacy and allowing children to experiment with written language in playful ways. Children sit cross-legged on the floor while listening as a popular children’s story is read aloud. Following the read aloud session, children are offered crayons, character coloring pages, and activities that showcase their creative talents. On a special occasion like today, a storybook character drops in for a visit.
Olivia, the beloved piglet created by writer and illustrator Ian Falconer, stopped by Barnes & Noble for a personal meet and greet with her fans. By giving young children live access to a character they have only known from the pages of a book, the imaginary becomes reality and children are able to connect words to their own personal experiences. For many young children, play is how writing and reading development take shape. Moments like these help children to make sense of the written word long before they are reading.
We interviewed 5-year-old Kendall about today’s visit with Olivia. Kendall, who starts kindergarten on Monday, thought the experience was great and was surprised by Olivia’s size.
“[Olivia] is a lot bigger than in the books and in the movie,” Kendall explained. “And I’ve met normal pigs before, too.” Kendall’s favorite Olivia story is the original version.
“The best part of meeting Olivia was getting to hug her,” Kendall said.
How do you incorporate books, paper, and writing material as objects of play for your child?