Supercharged Storytimes - Project VIEWS2’s Second Pilot Program Currently Underway in Five States

By Karlyn Spevacek, WLA member, and Youth Services Librarian in Monona, WI

As a Youth Services Librarian working and living in Wisconsin, but a Washington State native and WLA member, I participated in my first WLA Conference in Tulalip, in April 2015. During that conference I attended “The Play, Read, Write: An Early Literacy Workshop”. This workshop was where I first learned about the phenomenal project from the University of Washington’s ischool called Project VIEWS2, which won the 2015 Washington Library Association President’s Award.

The project and supporting research present the idea that with proper staff training, planning and implementation, storytimes positively impact early literacy development. This is huge for librarians serving youth because research backs up what we do and shows us how to do it better! I was thrilled and went back to Wisconsin wanting to learn more.

I was extremely happy to find out that Wisconsin had been selected by OCLC to be one of five state library agencies participating in a second pilot program using Project VIEWS2 research called Supercharged Storytimes.

Library youth services staff across the states of Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, and North Carolina are participating in this program, myself included. OCLC, Washington State Library, and Thrive Washington partnered to provide public library practitioners with evidence-based methods to be incorporated into their storytimes. These techniques are taught through the Supercharged Storytimes course series.

The course, which began on October 5th, consists of five sessions, each of which include one 60 minute online webinar, and both questions and activities to complete in order to share ideas and methods. The goals of the program are outlined on the OCLC WebJunction Website and promote learning, creating, sharing, and using early literacy best practices in storytimes.

My experience with the course has been extremely rewarding thus far. I already feel better equipped to provide a storytime program that is filled with books, songs, and activities intentionally selected to maximize the development of early literacy skills. The online community that Supercharged Storytimes created is empowering! I learn new tips and ideas every day from hundreds of librarians on how to incorporate things like print awareness, letter/alphabet knowledge, and phonological awareness. It has been overwhelmingly positive and SUPER fun. I definitely have adopted the research-based approach to storytime planning and delivery and hope that Project VIEWS2 continues to grow and reach librarians serving youth, nationwide.