by: EISABEL GAUTSCHI - Laurie Bailey, who runs the Estacada Public Library's storytime hour, also creates many of the elaborate displays in the children's section of the library. This tree, believe it or not, has seasonal foliage. It is made mostly from recycled materials.Laurie Bailey has a very unusual desk. Scraps of felt, dioramas, craft supplies, recycled materials to be turned into props for a Candyland display adorn the desk.

“Laurie's creativity is astounding,” said Michele Kinnamon, director of Estacada Public Library.

Bailey runs the library's storytime hour, 11 a.m. Wednesdays in the Flora Room.

The hour is geared toward children ages 0-4 and their parents.

Bailey leads book readings, sing-a-longs, rhymes, arts and crafts projects, puppets, finger games (like Itsy Bitsy Spider) and other activities to promote early child literacy during the storytime hour.

The hour is almost as much about the parents as it is about the kids.

“I can't stress enough how important it is for parents to read to children,” Kinnamon said.

She explained that the habit of reading and doing simple verbal activities helps young children to quickly gain language and literacy skills.

“Early childhood literacy is the main reason we do this,” Kinnamon said.

“The goal is to teach (parents) to continue it at their house or wherever they are, their cars, or the grocery store,” Bailey said.

Bailey and Kinnamon explained that the repetition of sounds helps to make language comfortable for young children learning to speak.

But storytime isn't all about building brain circuits.

Bailey, with her elaborate, artistic displays, makes sure the hour is fun and exciting.

The program is so popular that sometimes as many as 40 people show up for the storytime hour.

Kinnamon said she hopes to get the word out to new families in town about storytime.

“We want them to see how great our library is and what we have for them,” she said.

Storytime is free and open to the public. Parents must stay with their children during the hour.

“They will get a lot out of it if they participate,” Kinnamon said.

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