At the Sammamish Farmers Market on July 6, there was more to enjoy than food and produce. Under the pergola, kids listened to a reading of the picture book Who Ate All the Cookie Dough by Karen Beaumont. It was read to them by none other than Rep. Kim Schrier, whose congressional district (WA-08) encompasses Sammamish.
Schrier, a former pediatrician, said she participated in the King County Library System (KCLS) event due to her “particular fondness for kids” and a desire to “connect with the community.”
She believes storytime is an important family activity. While she works in Washington D.C., she stays connected with her husband and son back in Sammamish by reading to them every night.
“It was fun for me because we went to the KCLS storytime when my son was little and it brings back a lot of memories,” Schrier said.
The Sammamish Library’s children’s librarian, Sara Jensen, 49, told us the storytime program has been around for almost a decade, but this year, the library is hosting a special six-week session called the “Outdoor Farmers Market Storytime” that runs through mid-August.
Jensen said it seemed like a great idea as the farmers market was held so close to the library, so she pitched this particular program to Deb Sogge, who runs the farmers market for the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce.
“We even sing a little song called Farmers Market Day every time,” she said.
Schrier was more of a guest reader for the program. It is usually Jensen who reads to the audience. She normally chooses books with a refrain so it is easy for little kids to interact with the text.
Reading is only one part of this program. Jensen also plays games and sings songs with the guests. During the session with Schrier, they played a counting game using cookies. Jensen said that along with the Farmers Market Day song, they also played a game where they sort vegetables based on color.
“It’s like circle time in preschool,” Jensen said. “It’s a lot of preschool readiness and kindergarten skills.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many young children did not have much exposure to things like circle time, which according to Jensen, inhibited their social skills. When they are singing and dancing, Jensen said she “can tell for some of the kids that it’s kind of a new thing.”
She hopes these storytime activities can help kids develop the social skills that they were missing.
Due to the pandemic, the library was restricted to outdoor storytime from 2021. However, there are plans to bring back indoor storytime this fall with a limited number of guests.
Please check here for information on upcoming storytime events.