By Chad Frey
Thursday morning Amy Bayes entertained about 20 children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 5 years old — reading books, singing songs and offering a puppet show — at the Newton Public Library.
Nearly every story time class is full for the fall session, and most have a waiting list.
"We are trying to teach children at an early age that reading is fun," Bayes said. "We are trying to teach early listening, and to be a model for parents. ... This makes a huge difference. I have kindergarten teachers tell me all the time they can tell who has gone through this and who has not."
It is entertaining — a children's book, songs with motions, a funny puppet show and a craft activity every Thursday morning.
But there's more going on than pure entertainment — every motion has a purpose during the songs. Bayes teaches basic sign language during each session.
"I went through a webinar just yesterday where they said when you teach sign language early, it helps with reading later on," Bayes said. "It really is a literacy thing. ... It really seems to help according to the people who study that kind of thing."