Throughout the course of the summer the National Buffalo Museum will have held six Story times in correspondence with the James River Valley Public Library System. This year the Alfred Dicky Public Library is undergoing renovations and was unable to hold story times. It was then agreed that the National Buffalo Museum would take over the libraries scheduled times. Because the National Buffalo Museum was able to take over these times, the children of the area didn’t have to miss their stories for the summer. Although story times were not able to be held at the Library, each time we are joined by the Bookmobile!
My name is Jennifer Nannenga and I have been leading the story times this summer. I have worked here at the National Buffalo Museum for three summers now, and I love it more and more each day. One of my favorite parts of working here at the National Buffalo Museum is interacting with visitors and answering any questions that they may have. I have been given many different opportunities to grow during my time here at the Museum, but my favorite has been leading story times.
During the year I go to school at North Dakota State University in Fargo ND and study Vocal Music Education. For part of my studies it is necessary to work with children to gain teaching experience before I progress in my courses. Leading story times has done this for me. The last two weeks of each month I get to read to the preschoolers of the area. It is wonderful to see the same children from week to week, and see how excited they get.
For each story time I try to have an activity planned that plays into the month’s theme. Our themes are Museums, Prairies, and Bison. Some of the activities that we have done include: planting seeds, painting bison, identifying grasses in the pasture, and finally touching a mirror to learn what our fingers leave behind. I am overjoyed that when the group, no matter the size, engages in the activity you can see in their faces that they are learning and having fun.
Before any of this could happen there was some planning involved. I first had to decide on the themes that I mentioned above, and then I had to find materials and activities that would correlate. In doing this I was improving the lesson planning skills that I will later use as an educator. I have loved leading story times this summer and I hope to continue them next summer as well.