HARRISONBURG — Three-year-old James McAvoy jumped up and down, danced and sang at Massanutten Regional Library’s Central Branch during storytime Saturday afternoon.

His father, Scott McAvoy, 36, of Bridgewater, said storytime has changed since he was a child. It’s more interactive now.

“I came to be inspired, too,” he said, adding that he plans to take the lessons he learned at the library home with him.

The McAvoys were among roughly a dozen people to participate in the quarterly Donuts with Dad.

Randy Ours, a children’s specialist at the library, said the event was started about nine months ago partly to introduce male caregivers — including fathers, grandfathers, uncles and older brothers — to telling stories to children.

Often, Ours said, mothers are the ones who have storytime with children.

The Donuts with Dad also introduces fathers to new ways of telling stories.

Ours said times have changed when it comes to telling stories.

Ours, who worked as a kindergarten teacher for 10 years before joining the library staff eight years ago, said the times of children sitting with their legs crossed silently on a carpet are long gone.

He said storytime is active and engaging now.

Ours said libraries shifted they way they do things several years ago after research showed that children retain 5% of what they hear and 30% of what they do.

“It keeps them interested when they stay active,” he said.

Lennis Echterling, 71, of Harrisonburg, frequently brings his grandson, Gabriel, 5, of Richmond, to the library when he visits.

The pair are participating in the Summer Reading Program and stopped in to check out Ours’ storytime.

“We read a lot to Gabriel but we don’t interact as much,” he said, adding that he learned a few tips to make reading more fun.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6267 or pdelea@dnronline.com. Follow Pete on Twitter @pdeleaDNR

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