(NewsUSA) - The time-honored tradition of read-aloud storytelling to educate, entertain, and engage children is nearing a milestone.
Barnes & Noble, the country's largest retail bookseller, is approaching its one millionth kids' Storytime since starting their readings over three decades ago.
To celebrate, they're hosting special readings at all 627 stores US-wide on Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8. They'll include book-centric activities and book giveaways, while supplies last.
"It's a special milestone for us, and we're celebrating with a weekend of wonderful Storytimes for kids that will also evoke memories for adults who grew up with readings at their local Barnes & Noble bookstore," said Stephanie Fryling, VP of Merchandising, Children's Books.
Research proves that reading aloud to a young child bolsters many areas of development. When parents, teachers and caregivers read to a child, it fosters cognitive development, nurtures language skills, and prepares kids for school, according to the U.S. Children's Bureau, a federal child advocacy agency. And we all know that bookstore readings have long been a way for stir-crazy adults to get their kids out of the house and into a child-friendly, educational environment.
On Saturday, September 7 at 11am local time, booksellers in every store will read a newly published book by the beloved Dr. Seuss, "The Horse Museum." This fun story by one of the greatest children's storytellers of all time takes kids on a museum tour, with a horse as their guide. It's all about creating and looking at art. It will be exciting to experience this never-before-published book.
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On Sunday, they'll read music-legend Paul McCartney's "Hey Grandude!" an action-packed picture book about the fun adventures that grandkids and grandparents can have together. Sunday is also National Grandparents Day, so it's a nod to grandparents everywhere. Grandparents bring your little ones!
"It was important to mark this momentous occasion with a special event," Fryling said. "One million is undoubtedly a significant number to reach with anything. It's an exciting time from which to look forward and launch our next million Storytimes."
"Our booksellers are the centerpiece of the Storytime program," Fryling continues. "While we host a national Storytime every Saturday at 11AM, stores frequently hold additional Storytimes during the week with their community. At any given time, a bookseller can be found reading new kids' books to kids, parents, and caregivers, sharing their love of reading with the next generation."
For Mary Jane Leidal, a Children's Lead at Barnes & Noble in Shelby Township, Michigan, Storytimes have been core to her work for over two decades. She appreciates that Storytime is often a first chance for young children and families to be in a group setting focusing on books and storytelling.
"For most of these young children, it's the first exposure they have to sit in a group setting and interact with other children," she says. "It's a wonderful place for families to gather. I've seen many friendships develop between families as they visit and chat in our welcoming children's area."