Story Time at The Joy of Kids

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

When Brandi Fears heard that Billings’ children’s boutique, The Joy of Kids, was planning to host a twice monthly Story Time, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. She says her husband actually helped her land the gig.

“He’s my biggest cheerleader,” she said. “And he knew I would be great at it.”

The Fears moved to Billings from San Diego, California, in June of 2013 for a job in the Bakken. Brandi says they loved Billings so much, that even when the job ended early, they decided to stay. Before their son Hunter was born, Brandi worked as a reading and comprehension specialist in California. She worked with students of all ages in the schools, in private clinics, and in their homes. Story Time was a natural extension.

“I loved taking Hunter to Story Time in San Diego, and I hadn’t really found anything like it here in Billings,” Brandi said. “I thought I could maybe bring something new and different to the equation.”

So what makes Story Time at The Joy of Kids so different? Brandi says it’s unique because she incorporates songs, corresponding crafts and activities – and they always serve delicious treats. She hopes to incorporate even more learning in the future.

She says she loves everything about Story Time.

“I love seeing the kiddos who are now regulars, who recognize the routine, and know all the words to the songs. I love picking out the books and brainstorming which activities to include each week,” Brandi said. “I especially love watching the kids’ faces light up as I read to them.”

She says her favorite children’s book is Ferdinand and the Bull, because it encourages little ones to be content with who they are, and that’s a really great message. Her son Hunter will be 3 next month, and he loves the Llama Llama series. For Story Time, Brandi loves books with great illustrations and fun characters. They recently celebrated famed children’s author Dr. Seuss’ birthday in extravagant style.

“I like putting voices to the different characters – if there are cute characters, I’m drawn to the book,” Brandi said.

Brandi says Story Time is important because it fosters a love of books and reading. It also teaches children the importance of listening, taking turns, and following directions.

“You will need to read your entire life. Fostering that love for books and reading early, encourages and builds a child’s vocabulary and overall comprehension. Listening to books and stories helps foster the imagination. Books are like movies in your imagination – once you learn to read you can take adventures to places you mryight never otherwise go, to times you’ll never have the opportunity to visit, and meet people you’d never meet in actuality,” she said.

She hopes to instill a love for reading in her own children, as well as the cute kiddos who attend Story Time – just as she did for her former students.

Want to know more? The Joy of Kids hosts Story Time every other Tuesday at 11 a.m. (next up is March 17, 2015). Participants look forward to reading stories, singing songs, and devouring some yummy snacks. Check out their Facebook page for additional photos and exact dates.

Can’t get enough Story Time? The Billings Public Library offers Story Time weekly, Monday through Friday in the Story Tower. Click here to check the schedule. Barnes and Noble also offers Story Time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 10 a.m.

About the author…Born and raised in southeast Texas, Jessica currently lives in Billings, Montana with her husband, her two year old daughter Savannah, and their newest addition, one year old Emma Kate. Jessica graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. By day, Jessica works as a licensed Realtor, and moonlights as a freelance writer/photographer for several businesses around town.