Story hour for children

Last updated: Apr. 12, 2016

Story hour for Children is held every Saturday at the International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL). Our staff presents a story hour for four-to-six-year-olds at 2:00 p.m. and another for seven-and-over at 3:00 p.m.
These age-specific story hours are intended to provide more appropriate and enjoyable stories for the children who attend. Participation in the story hour is limited to children.
Children's interests vary, and we attempt to satisfy the minds of children brimming with curiosity by presenting a mixture of Japanese stories, tales from around the world, modern picture books, science picture books, poetry, books with wordplay, and nursery rhymes.
Story-hour activities sometimes start with nursery rhymes and also include storytelling: telling stories from memory without looking at the book, and reading picture books.
Sharing a single story with other participants opens up a completely different world from that of reading by themselves.

A library staff member reading from a picture book

How to conduct a story hour

1. Beforehand

Publicizing the story hour session
At the ILCL, we announce the story hour on our website, on library bulletin boards, and on leaflets, etc.
Planning a program
We perform a story hour session with approximately 30 minutes of content on the whole. We put together a program, considering the age group, the interest of the story, and the overall balance.
In the story hour for four-to-six-year-olds, we always include activities like hand games and nursery rhymes. We may also introduce poems. Even children who meet for the first time at the story hour begin to open up to each other and find it easier to enter the worlds of the stories.
We incorporate storytelling to let the children taste the enjoyment of imagining the narrative world when they listen to a story. With children's reactions directly shown, the storyteller can learn what kinds of stories children like and how they enjoy them as he/she appreciates the world of the story right along with children.
Reading Picture Books
We choose one modern or folktale picture book as the feature, and then a light, enjoyable picture book, or a book highlighting wordplay or poetry. We choose these books with an eye for the season and the children's interests, etc.
We enjoy a nursery rhyme at the end of each story hour with four-to-six years-old children.
We not only practice each story or picture book thoroughly, we also practice them through each program.
We don't simply practice storytelling and reading by ourselves, we always present an actual performance in front of colleagues and get their feedback before the real story hour.
We confirm that the contents of the program are a good fit for the children, as well as the narration style, the voice volume, the way the book is held, etc. with comments by colleagues.
A library staff member singing a Japanese  nursery rhyme with finger movements

2. Actual session

The Story Hour Room is the gateway to the world of the story. Once they enter the Story Hour Room, the children leave their normal worlds and enter the world of the story.
We hand out story hour cards (stamp cards) to the children along with the day's program at the end of the story hour.
Once they leave the room, the children return to their normal, everyday worlds.

3. After the story hour has ended

We put together a display of the books we have introduced at the story hour on a shelf in the Children's Library. If a book strikes a child's fancy, he/she can grab it right off the shelf.
In the Children's Library, you can see the children joyfully listening to their parents' reading of the books which we introduced to them at the story hour.

A display of the books