Traveling Storytime

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Volunteer with Traveling Storytime | Request a Volunteer | Benefits of Reading to Preschoolers | Testimonials

About Us

mac1The Traveling Storytime program is sponsored by the Redwood City Public Library's Youth Services Department, whose goal is to reach as many of the city's children as possible to instill the love of literature, learning and libraries. Each week, trained volunteers read to groups of children in daycare centers and preschools throughout Redwood City. The program has received grants and awards from a variety of organizations since its creation.

  • Traveling Storytime began in 2000 with a Director and a handful of volunteers.
  • Since then, volunteers have read to over 230,000 children
  • Today, approximately 40-60 volunteers provide the program's services to about 1,000 children on a regular basis.

Be A Volunteer

lk1Who Are Our Volunteers?

Traveling Storytime Volunteers range in age from 11 to 85.  Anyone with a desire to instill the love of literature, learning and libraries to preschool children can volunteer.

How Much Time Does it Take?

Volunteers spend half hour a week reading to a group of preschool-age children, either at daycare centers or preschools throughout Redwood City, The Director and volunteer agree on the location and time from a list of daycare/preschool providers that have requested the program.

What Kind of Training is Involved?

Volunteers meet with the Director for two short sessions: during the first session an overview of the program is provided and the materials are reviewed. The second session consists of the volunteer using the materials provided while the Director acts as the audience.

bagcontentsWhat Do I Need to Provide?

Nothing! The program provides all of the materials, including a cloth bag containing the following:

  • Six books
  • Finger puppets
  • Storyboard felt cutouts with prepared story/dialog, and felt storyboard

Each bag is theme-based, ranging from food, farms and farm animals, family and many others. Traveling Storytime has cubbies filled with bags - 35 themes in all!

A binder is also provided, containing songs, stretches, rhymes and special holiday activities.

Interested In Volunteering?

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Director Jan Pedden at 650-780-7014 or via email at Jan Pedden.

Request A Volunteer

For more information on requesting a volunteer for your daycare center or preschool, contact Jan Pedden at 650-780-7014 or via email at Jan Pedden.

Facts on Literacy

Benefits of Reading to Preschoolers

  • The single most significant factor influencing a child's early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.

    - National Commission on Reading, 1985

  • Reading to a child aged 3-5 years builds alphabetic knowledge, print convention concepts and phonological awareness skills that are fundamental to literacy.

    - America's Early Childhood Literacy Gap, Commissioned by Jumpstart, September 2009

  • At least 50% of the educational achievement gaps between poor and non-poor children already exist when entering kindergarten.

    - National School Readiness Indicators Initiative Report: Executive Summary, February 2005

Read the 2006 Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Redwood City Public Library's Traveling Storytime Program [PDF]

The following link provides additional information and tips regarding early childhood literacy:

Grants and Awards

Organizations that have Supported the Traveling Storytime Program through Grants and Awards

  • Peninsula Community Foundation
  • Danforth Foundation
  • Claire Giannini Fund
  • Palo Alto Women's Club
  • Northern California Childrens' Booksellers Association
  • Friends of the Redwood City Public Library
  • Redwood City Library Foundation


Comments from Daycare/Preschool Providers

  • "The Redwood City Development Program has benefited greatly from Traveling Storytime. Our center works hard to instill in our children a true love of reading and this program helps us to achieve that goal. Our children enjoy and look forward to these visits."- Nancy Chidester, Program Director

  • "My daycare children look forward to each day that Sarah comes to read to them. When I tell the children, "Guess who's coming today?", they reply with excitement "Sarah!". The children love the books and the felt board stories." - Gina Gonzales
  • "For many years, Ms. Vidyut has made learning fun and exciting for the children of Learning Garden Montessori. She is a wonderful person, and truly cares about the children and people with whom she interacts. We are very lucky to have her." - Maryam Adibnazre

  • "My four year old son attends Jean Weingarten Peninsula School for the Deaf and once a week a volunteer from Traveling Storytime comes to read. My son never paid attention to books - he has a very short attention span - but a few weeks ago I saw him actually interested and sitting through an entire felt board story.I am really happy to see him now paying attention to stories and also building vocabulary and using his imagination. I am very appreciative."- Mother of a student at JWPOSD

Comments from Volunteers

  • "I started reading for Traveling Storytime when I retired as a Kindergarten teacher ten years ago. I enjoy being with the children and reading to them. Traveling Storytime is a great program and seems to be very successful. The children always seem to be happy when I come and are eager to hear me read the stories."- Dorothy Hessler

  • "I was a little hesitant when I first volunteered three years ago; Would I be good enough? Would I be able to hold their attention? Would they like having me there? After my first half hour at a preschool, I knew that my worrying was baseless. They're so attentive during the reading, and they love the finger puppet rhymes, stretches and songs. The half hour goes by so quickly - it seems we'd only just begun!" - Linda Kruger