I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to ask storytime attendees for feedback with a short survey, and while I mulled over what questions to ask, I wrote down all the elements I bring to storytime aside from books: early literacy tips (for the grown-ups), scarves, shaker eggs, other musical instruments, flannel board, the song cube, the yoga cube, stuffed animals and puppets, various arts and crafts activities, bubbles, and music. I don’t use all of these in every storytime, of course, because that would probably be sensory overload, and it’s good to change things up; while the overall pattern of the program is the same each week, some elements are familiar and others are new. If you have a storytime program, do you evaluate it? What questions do you ask, and how? A quick search turned up a useful blog post from storytime goldmine Jbrary.
Here’s what we did today, with a group of about ten kids, including a couple of four-year-olds (welcome, because we had a couple of books that required sharp eyes – Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert and Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? – and the older kiddos are great at spotting the hide-and-seek characters).
- Hello and announcements
- “Hello Friends” song with ASL (from Jbrary)
- Name song (“____ is here today…”)
- I Wish It Would Snow by Sarah Dillard: I had planned to hand out scarves for this one, but I forgot. We talked about how we haven’t had very much snow yet this year. The adults were particularly engaged during this storytime – thanks, grown-ups! I also brought out one of our rabbit puppets, which I invited kids to come pat after the story.
- Yoga cube
- Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood and Ella Okstad: This has a bit of hide-and-seek to it, so I passed out scarves for this one instead. The littler kids had fun with the scarves, and the four-year-olds spotted the real unicorn right away.
- Song cube: “Row Row Row Your Boat” and “Shake Your Sillies Out” (with scarves)
- Spots in a Box by Helen Ward: This is a new favorite of mine. I like the rhyme scheme and the art. On the final page, the dots are textured, so I invited kids to come up and feel the book.
- Yoga cube
- There’s Nothing to Do! by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt: This completes our quartet of frog books…until they write some more!
- Song cube: “Where is Thumbkin?” Everyone loved this. Even the littlest kids have the fine motor skills to do a thumbs-up! I sang the Cambridge Public Library version, which omits the traditional “sir.”
- Pouch! by David Ezra Stein: This late in the storytime lineup, I like books with less text, and this one is perfect. To start, I asked which animals had pouches, and the kids said “kangaroo!” I told them that all animals with pouches are called marsupials. Word of the day!
- Yoga cube
- Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? by Stephen Savage: Again, my observant four-year-olds were quick to spot the escaped zoo animals.
- “Goodbye Friends” song with ASL (from Jbrary)
- Clean up mats, color with crayons
Before and after
Instead of putting down blank butcher paper, I drew a few outlines of circles of different sizes before our program. That way, kids could color inside those circles, or make their own, or draw anything else they wanted. I even saw a yellow snowman…