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Smarty Pants Storytime: School Readiness

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Smarty Pants Storytime: School Readiness

LA County Library, Calif.

Education - Birth thru Teens | 2019

Innovation Summary

In collaboration with the LA County Office of Education, LA County Library has redesigned its traditional storytime as Smarty Pants Storytime by introducing core school readiness competencies based on state curriculum standards. The redesigned program helps prepare children for school and equips them with the tools necessary to be successful learners.

Problem Statement

At an 18% poverty rate, many low-income families in LA County struggle to afford traditional childcare for their children ages zero to five. These children may not receive essential early literacy training, and developmental disabilities may go unnoticed. Different school districts, 65 in our service area, have different recommendations on the skills children should possess to be prepared for school; the library identified those skills most commonly recommended and incorporated them into the Smarty Pants Storytime program.


Each Smarty Pants Storytime is designed to help children develop competency in the following areas: basic reading, basic math, problem-solving, social interaction and regulation of emotions and behavior. Curriculums with these indicators are introduced in a fun and interactive setting, utilizing songs, stories, games and activities. The program also emphasizes parent and caregiver engagement by modeling activities, explaining their importance and offering take-home activities for continuing the learning at home.


Smarty Pants Storytime is a new take on the library’s traditional Storytime program to equip children with necessary competencies to become successful learners. Since October 2018, 87 library locations have held 3,086 sessions, resulting in 72,693 learning engagements for children and caregivers. Ninety-six percent of surveyed caretakers felt information provided was helpful and 83% felt that the program made them feel better prepared to deal with parenting and school readiness challenges.