On a clear and sunny morning, children from all around Dorchester gathered to hear the tale of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. As parents, grandparents, and guardians alike brought their little ones into Boston Public Library, faces lit up when they saw what was in store for them.
“A pancake making station!” librarian Cindy Dye exclaimed. However, these pancakes were not to be eaten – the dough was made from flour and salt, and it had to be mixed and kneaded.
“Back and forth, back and forth,” the children were coached on how to get the dough into the perfect texture, all the while engaging in conversations about their favorite pancake toppings and breakfast foods. After the dough had been kneaded into the perfect shape and size, the group was ready for their Storytime adventures.
Parents and children scuttled across the street to the local baseball field where six readers were anxiously waiting to delve into the story with them. Three Raising A Reader summer interns and Tara Ruby, Boston Program Manager, were joined by Emily Grilli from Outdoor Rx and Cheryle Skelton-Bianchi from Countdown to Kindergarten!
“Deep in the fridge and behind the green peas, way past the tofu and left of the cheese, up in the corner, and back by a roast, sat Lady Pancake beside Sir French Toast…” began the first of the readers, jumping straight into the book written by Josh Funk. The children listened eagerly as they traveled from station to station, making their way around the baseball field, traveling from reader to reader. Their eyes lit up as they journeyed through the Storywalk, learning about the trials and triumphs of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast.
As the competition between Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast began to heat up, readers questioned the engaged listeners, “Who do you think will win the race?” they asked. After the children cast their predictions, they excitedly journeyed to the rest of the storytellers to hear the fate of their two beloved breakfast foods.
As the competition of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast came to a close, little did the children know that the real races were just beginning!
“Listen closely!” the little ones were instructed as Emily divided the group into teams and prepared them for the different relay races that were in store.
“On your mark, get set, GO!” and the children were off. They squealed with joy and excitement as they raced all around the field.
Worn out, yet satisfied after releasing all of their energy, the children and parents shuffled back to the library to see what else was in store. “Snack time!” they exclaimed, and everyone gathered at a long wooden table to gorge themselves with tasty snacks. Blueberries, bananas, strawberries, and more – The perfect breakfast food toppings to be sure to stay in theme!
As the children were happily occupied with snacks, parents engaged with one another and the Raising A Reader MA staff members, sharing tips and tricks on how to bring the excitement their children felt during this Storywalk back to their own story times at home. Dialogic reading, it was explained, is the perfect way to engage your children during storytime, especially when they can’t yet read the words on the pages.
“Not only is it helpful, but it’s easy to use!” Tara explained. Dialogic reading, you see, is just children and adults having a conversation about a book. “It’s all about asking open-ended questions and connecting the story back to your own life,” the parents were reassured.
“This has been so wonderful” the parents emphasized as they packed up their goodies – a handful of books, a few helpful handouts, and, of course, the dough that was crafted at the very beginning.
“Thanks again!” both parent and child exclaimed as they waved goodbye and headed on their way.
Written by Maggie Haas, Summer Intern, Duke University ’19