Keiki Get Hooked On Books

Story and photos by Brandon Bosworth

Assistant Editor, Ho’okele

Twice a month, the library at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam offers free preschool story time. It’s a chance for children and their families to come together, hear stories, engage in crafts and have fun.

“It’s a very popular program,” said Phyllis Frenzel, library director. “We’ve been running it for several years. On average, about 25 children attend each story time session. Every session has a different theme, and the library maintains a list of themes for the storytellers to choose from.

On Aug. 13, the theme was “Sense of Smell.” Marsha Adkins, library aide, read from different books about scent, including one about a dog trying to solve the mystery of the stinky smell in the barn where he lives. Spoiler alert: It isn’t the baby pig.

Adkins frequently serves as the storyteller at preschool story time.

“I’ve been doing it since November of last year,” she said. “I have a background in preschool ministries and have been working with kids for 25 years.”

She said children appreciate hearing stories read to them by someone other then their mother or father.

“It’s a different experience for them,” she said.

Reading books aloud to little kids requires the reader to have special skills (such as being able to do all the voices).

“You can’t be serious,” said Adkins. “As an adult, you have to be willing to be silly. You have to be enthusiastic.”

In addition to hearing stories, preschool story time offers children a chance to work on arts and crafts activities. During the most recent smell-themed session, kids colored paper flowers and chose scents for the flowers, such as vanilla or strawberry. A library staffer then spritzed the flower with the chosen scent.

Frenzel said preschool story time helps children develop a love of books and reading.

“It boosts circulation from our children’s collection,” she said. “After each story time, our children’s collection is totally decimated. Families will check out 25 or 30 books.”

Besides learning to appreciate books, many of the children who attend preschool story time also make new friends.

“They get to meet new kids and make new friends,” said Adkins. “A lot of them are homeschooled and have never met the other homeschooled kids.”

Preschool story time is held twice a month at the base library. The next session is on Aug. 27 from 9 to 10 a.m. The theme will be “Grandparents.” For more information, call 449-8299.

Photo illustration by Rico Onaha Hutter

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Category: Life & Leisure