New study says toy “sleepovers” can help kids’ literacy

Getting young kids involved in activities that involve reading is important to encourage their literacy skills. And when the kids can bring their favorite stuffed animals along, everyone can participate in the fun!

You may remember a few months ago CMLE’s office mascot Orville got to take part in a great Stuffed Animal Sleepover program offered by the St. Cloud Public library.

These events are becoming increasingly popular all across the world, and thanks to a new study, can even promote early literacy skills. This article from School Library Journal explains just how useful these events can be to get young kids interested in reading!

Many stuffed animal sleepovers work in a similar way, where the kids come with their furry friends and hear a story, sing some songs, then leave them behind for the night to have “adventures.” Library staff photograph the animals getting into mischief in back rooms, reading books together, and sometimes even pick out a book to share with their human friend the next day. When the kids return in the morning to collect their stuffed animals, there are more stories and sharing of photos and snacks.

There’s been some research done that shows how beneficial these events can be for young children. The article cites a Japanese study that found after attending a stuffed animal sleepover, preschoolers were more interested in the picture books in their classroom and read out loud more to their stuffed toys.

The article also talks to a children’s librarian that has held a stuffed animal sleepover and has seen the benefits of the program. She shared how kids were interested in the books their toys were reading and curious about the library itself.

Want to get a program like this started at your library? The article offers some practical planning tips to consider before and during the event. As always, feel free to contact us at CMLE HQ for brainstorming or problem solving!