May 9—Story Time in the Gardens, one of Aiken's springtime traditions, is a time for families to bring their children out and hear a few books read aloud.
This time can be particularly special for mothers, offering them bonding time with their children without stress or cost. The program, which aims to promote literacy, provides a free book to each child who attends, allowing them to build up their home library.
With Mother's Day approaching, a few mothers in attendance at the reading on April 20, where 95 children and adults gathered, remarked on how meaningful that hour was to them.
"Reading is very important for little ones and for them to be able to come get a book and enjoy that time (is great)," said Julia Martin, who came with her grandchildren. "It made a difference with my kids when they were little."
Research from the Archives of Disease in Childhood shows that reading with young children can foster support for the relationship between a child and a parent.
"When parents hold positive attitudes towards reading, they are more likely to create opportunities for their children that promote positive attitudes towards literacy and they can help children develop solid language and literacy skills," the paper reads.
Rebekah Thomas, a mother, said it's great to be outdoors for the event.
"We come out here for the kids and (to get) some interaction," Thomas said.
Sabrie Breeland, who came with her daughter, echoed that point, saying her daughter doesn't attend day care so it's nice for her to be able to "play with other kids and just see other kids playing and hear someone reading and interact with other people."
The Children's Bureau, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping children thrive, lists seven benefits of parents reading to their children. One of these is that it helps to develop a bond between parent and child.
The bureau wrote that reading to children "not only helps you bond with them, but also gives your children a sense of intimacy and well-being. This feeling of intimacy helps your child feel close to you, and the feelings of love and attention encourage positive growth and development."
Story Time in the Gardens is held every Tuesday at 4 p.m. through May and is for ages 8 and younger. The event is free to attend and is held on the grounds of Rye Patch, located at 100 Berrie Road.