“You put your right wing in, you put your right wing out, you put your right wing in and shake it all about,” sang Lilit Khamalyal, Throckmorton Library technician, to the popular children’s tune of “Hokey Pokey.”
Little kids ranging from toddlers to preschoolers chimed in with the “Turkey Pokey,” mimicked Khamalyal’s hand gestures, swayed their hips and turned themselves around to the lyrics. This was all part of the fun during the final children’s story time program of the year at the library Nov. 14.
The event included many Thanksgiving inspired sing-a-longs, a turkey decorating craft project and a reading of “Turkey Trouble” by Wendi Silvano.
During the reading, Emily Gerard, wife of Pfc. Chance Gerard, quietly snuck in to the back of the room with her son Greyson, 3, and 7-month-old daughter Claire in her arms. Emily whispered to Greyson and encouraged him to move up to the front of the group to hear the reading. Greyson attempted to go, but decided to come back to sit beside his mother.
“He’s a little shy when it comes to other kids, but he’s definitely having fun,” Emily said. “He loves books. I definitely feel (the story time program) will help his social skills because he’s really shy, so this type of thing is good for him.”
That was the Gerards’ first story time at Throckmorton. Emily said she came because she saw flyers promoting the event.
“I talked to a librarian (about the story time program) and she said a lot of kids come and parents, so I figured it would be fun for both my kids,” she said.
The goal of the program is to socialize the children while teaching them developmental skills through engaging activities.
“We sing a lot of songs and it helps them learn new words or learn to speak sooner,” Khamalyal said. “It’s very beneficial for parents too. We show them how they can do the same stuff at home and not just read a book. We show them how to make it more fun because some children don’t like reading books.”
When Khalmalyal led her first story time, she said she used to be shy and worried about how she could win the attention of a large group of kids. But now, she allows herself to be silly in front of the class and has fun with it.
“I enjoy doing this, especially when I see that they are enjoying it and they’re listening,” she said. “In the end I feel very good about myself that I made some kids happy.”
Among the 88 parents, caregivers and kids who attended, were Waynie Leite and her grandson Ray Rodriguez, 1. Ray’s parents, Sgt. Washa Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Ray Rodriguez, are currently outstation on separate missions, so Leite has been charged as his primary caregiver. Both grandma and grandchild are regulars to the Throckmorton story time program.
“He loves to interact with children, so we always come,” Leite said. “He likes the dancing and the singing part. He gets to learn the numbers and name of colors. He sees other kids learning and he feeds off the older kids.”
As for a new developmental skill Ray learned that afternoon? He learned how to turn around through the tune of the “Turkey Pokey.”
Story time at Throckmorton will resume in January 2019.