Storytime in the Commons


Storytime in the Commons is is the Nine Network’s free summer reading series with curriculum-based, scientifically proven, educational content. Our trusted partners see our role in each community initiative as a trusted convener and storyteller around issues affecting our region as critical to improving the strength of the region.

Our goal in early education is to:

  • Advance child well-being by leveraging the collective resources of the Nine Network and Nine PBS KIDS in the areas of STEM, literacy and social emotional development
  • Connect parents, caregivers and educators with PBS KIDS resources and opportunities and provide information about how they can use these resources to promote early learning.

In 2016, as part of the Nine Network’s American Graduate Initiative to engage families in early learning and school readiness we launched Storytime in the Commons. Storytime in the Commons is a free monthly family event series hosted by the Nine Network of Public Media in the Public Media Commons in Grand Center. It is a partnership with Nine Network, St. Louis Public Radio, St. Louis Public Library, and various topic-driven community organizations. It brings the evidenced-based PBS KIDS’ learning model to life each summer with appearances by beloved characters and activities that reinforce a love of learning. This event series has continued to attract new families and bring other families back year after year.

In 2018, the five Storytime in the Commons events were themed to enhance the learning opportunities for children:

  • Care for Our Environment featuring Cat and the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2
  • Get into STEM featuring Peg + Cat and Sid the Science Kid
  • Respect Others featuring Arthur and Clifford the Big Red Dog
  • Embrace Cultural Diversity featuring Word Girl and Super Why!
  • Be My Neighbor Day featuring Daniel Tiger and Katerina Kitty

Activities at Storytime include reading stories (including one story in Spanish), meet and greets and photo ops with PBS KIDS’ characters and the Delta Dental Tooth Fairy and Tooth Wizard, games that help children grow, like building blocks, visits from the St. Louis Fire Department, Republic Services recycling, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Healthy Kids corner and more. 

We finished the Storytime in the Commons series with a special day dedicated to Mister Rogers and the positive messages his show promotes. Nine Network partnered with The Fred Rogers Company and PNC to hold a Be My Neighbor Day. Mister Rogers believed “we are all neighbors” and we explored what it means to be kind to your neighbors, a lesson both young and old can appreciate. Over 700 people attended September’s Be My Neighbor Day and enjoyed Storytime, meeting Daniel Tiger and Katerina Kittycat, activities and games, and a special Mister Rogers’ sing-along.