Indicating Impact by Tying Children's Programs to Research


In addition to using outcome surveys to demonstrate impact of our programs for youth, we are considering a kind of logic model that ties our programs to educational elements proven to help prepare children for school. It’s one that will be familiar to many of you. The syllogism goes like this:

  1. Research shows that when these 6 skills are taught to young children, they are better prepared to enter elementary school.
  2. We teach these skills in every one of our storytimes.
  3. Therefore, young children who attend our storytimes are better prepared to enter elementary school.

I’m interested to hear feedback on the anticipated effectiveness of using such a model for demonstrating outcomes, in particular from any libraries that have used this approach.

(Note: We have a similar approach for demonstrating effectiveness of school-age programs, using “APAS” [After School Program Assessment System].)


We design our storytimes and evaluate our storytime presenters (with observational checklists) in these areas:
I. Print Motivation/Loving Books
II. Language & Vocabulary/Understanding Words
III. Phonological Awareness/Understanding Sounds
IV. Letter Knowledge/Understanding Letters
V. Print Awareness/Using Books
VI. Narrative Skills & Comprehension/Story Awareness
VII. Parent/Caregiver Connection

It makes sense that we would also have periodic outcome survey measures that correlate. Periodic, because, as you point out once we know it works, it’s logical that we don’t need to spend resources or “participation capital” with our customers on verifying it over and over again?


Christa, thank you for the response! JPL is taking a similar approach. By observing programs and verifying that they are including the essential elements, we are able to vouch that we are actually meeting the standards.

I’d like to share your checklists with our youth services team. Would you mind sharing them? Either upload to this forum if that is possible or e-mail to

Richard Mott


It looks like I can only upload image formats to this forum, Richard. I’m sending the Self-Evaluation, Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Storytime Observation Checklists to you in a separate email. If I’ve missed how to post them here, please feel free to share!

Also, please note that these evaluation checklists are about four years old and due for a refresh as part of our Programming Support & Evaluation Project work happening now through Spring 2017, so stay in touch!

We have based the checklists on Ready Readers standards set by national, state, and local organizations. We have state-certified trainers in our Youth Services staff who provide accredited trainings for early learning care and education providers. I believe that, for the most part, these classes are based on the same standards we design into storytimes. I’ll send contact info for our Early Learning Coordinator via email as well.

Christa Werle


Thank you so much for these resources, Christa. Our Youth Services Manager is going to be delighted to see them.


Hi Christa,

You should now be able to upload all file types, not just images. Please share again :slight_smile: Thanks!


Preschool Storytime Observation Checklist.docx (735.1 KB)
Baby Storytime Observation Checklist.docx (712.9 KB)
Toddler Storytime Observation Checklist.docx (743.0 KB)
Storytime Self-Evaluation Checklist.docx (718.1 KB)


Sure enough! I can! And I did. They are uploaded in a reply to Richards original request.
Thanks Sam!


Just joined the Project Outcome community, so sorry for the late response… Our library district is using a similar approach of tying our storytimes to educational and child development research and then creating marketing/communications materials to share with parents/caregivers, community partners/agencies, and internal staff. This way we’re able to consistently demonstrate the value of our storytimes and differentiate them from the many others offered in the community. We’ve found this is very valuable also with our Outreach groups who may not visit our physical libraries. -Katie



We LOVED your checklists. We are very interested in seeing what your newest version will look like. We really appreciate you posting these. They have been a wonderful and have provided us with a structure from which to start. Thanks again! Please keep us posted, if you could.


I will certainly share info here as it’s ready. Looks like it will be June-ish! Thanks, Jill!


I would love to have these documents, too! I found that if you convert the doc to a pdf you can then drag and drop it in the text box. Thanks for sharing all this terrific information!
Kristi Miller


Hi Christa,

Did your group end up revisiting your checklists and evaluations for youth staff? We are starting to work on ours now and thought I would check in. Thanks again!


It’s in progress, I think in planning right now… If you’d like to talk to the lead on the project, please feel free to contact Joy Feldman, Early Learning Coordinator,, 360-651-7105.

From the project description: This project will plan, develop, and implement the documentation, communication, staff training, and storytime assessment practices necessary to ensure that all attendees of Sno-Isle Libraries storytimes experience the elements proven by VIEWS2 and ECRR2 to improve young children’s literacy development.


Hello, all. Our youth services team has just completed a revision of program standards and evaluation forms for pre-school, school-age, teen and adult programs (The revision was made because community youth serving agencies agreed to use a common standard – the Weikart PQA . We adapted ours to stay in line with theirs.

I thought you may be interested. They are attached here.
2017 school age observation.docx (77.2 KB)
2017 early childhood observation.docx (76.0 KB)
2017 adult observation.docx (66.6 KB)
2017 teen observation.docx (76.8 KB)
2017 Programming Standards.pdf (329.0 KB)

Warm regards,


Thanks - very interested. Congratulations on moving forward!