The Story Hour in Queens is a cultural project specifically directed to children age 3 and above. This project intends to introduce Spanish literature to parents and children, through reading, dramatization and art, with a variety of Latin American and Spanish folklore integrated in its core.
This program began as a monthly activity in September 2003. These activities are in Spanish, with the purpose of preserving our children’s mother language, as well as their cultural roots.
Since the creation of this project, The Story Hour in Queens has produced a number of events with actors and community members volunteering their time and efforts. In addition to the readings and dramatization of popular stories, there are crafts workshops, face painting, etc. The literary and cultural selections aim to introduce children to the most distinguished representative works of the host countries.
One of our long-term and most ambitious goals is to help children make reading a habit at an early age, which helps develop their ability to reflect and think creatively. Such motivation is obtained by dramatized representation of folk tales, as well as by art workshops. Both activities allow the children to practice what they have learned. Moreover, this learning method proposes to approach Latin American cultural values in a safe community space, thus speaking to an idiosyncratic element of our children’s lives, helping to reinforce their language abilities and cultural identities, no matter if they were born overseas or in the USA.
These activities are intended to thrive in groups, where actors expose the ideas through the dramatization of a story. At all times the child’s participation is evident through their comments, discussion or answers to questions thrown by the characters of the story. The art workshop is organized around the same theme of the story and in it children are encouraged to develop some skills and to reflect on what they have learned.
The Story Hour in Queens books are selected with much thought. They are intended to reflect the cultural diversity of our city. Simultaneously, these dramatic adaptations must meet the specific needs of children, facilitating and maintaining their interest. The Story Hour creates a cultural environment precisely designed for children, reminiscent of those that their parents can relay from memory. The love and care with which stories are selected hope to evoke an early love of reading. All these activities are accompanied by songs and rounds. These rounds help to reinforce their memory, build an entertaining atmosphere and sew the first seams of their Latin American heritage into their collective consciousness.