Step Into Storytime, October 15

Last week the library was closed for Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day, so there was no storytime, but this week we were back in action! We started with seven kids, mostly on the younger side of our range, but as usual, more trickled in throughout and we probably had more than 10 altogether.

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The Giant Jumperee, Huff & Puff, 88 Instruments, Julian is a Mermaid, Where is the Green Sheep?, The Steves, Where the Sidewalk Ends
  • Hello song with ASL from Jbrary
  • Name song (“____ is here today, let’s all clap our hands, ___ is here today”)
  • The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury: this one went over pretty well! It’s fun to read, and it’s a little long for some of the younger ones but it’s got a pattern they can follow.
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Handed out scarves for Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda. Blow on the scarves (or just wave them) when the wolf huffs and puffs! Collected scarves.
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • Let children come up and select shaker egg or bells for 88 Instruments by Chris Barton, illustrated by Louis Thomas. Practiced shaking and making noise, then being quiet with hands (and instruments) in laps. Collected instruments after the book (and one last good shake).
  • Song cube: “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”
  • Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love. Explained that “abuela” means “grandmother” and “vamanos” means “let’s go,” otherwise let the pictures and text speak for themselves. This is the first time I’ve read this book in storytime and people seemed to really love the pictures.
  • Song cube: “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”
  • The Steves by Morag Hood. Such a funny book, adults and kids both responded well to the humor. Nice bright pictures work well for storytime also. Could do a tie-in craft with puffin coloring sheets or gluing pieces together. Or color puffins and then glue them onto one big sheet to make a puffin colony!
  • Song cube: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (I usually end with “if you’re sleepy and you know it, give a yawn,” and stretch and sit back down; this is a good quieting technique)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein: “Hug-O-War,” “Early Bird,” and “Pancake?”
  • Goodbye song with ASL from Jbrary
  • Clean up colored sitting mats, put on music (“Shake Your Sillies Out,” “Wheels on the Bus,” “Skip to my Lou”), blow bubbles, dance!
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Backup selection: Bear Says Thanks, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, Hello Hello, Monkey and Me, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Wow! Said the Owl, One Little Blueberry
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The final lineup
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Step Into Storytime, October 1

Today’s storytime was a big success! The weather (gray and threatening rain) helped bring people in, and Lots of Dots with a tie-in craft – gluing colored paper dots to a huge piece of butcher paper with glue sticks – was a huge hit. Hello Hello was a great book to start with, too – I forgot how many excellent opportunities it affords for interaction (“Hello Tongue, Ears, Hands, and Nose”), and it has a built-in quiet pause (“Hello Quiet”). For “Hello Bend” I demonstrated how to wiggle like an octopus, and at “Hello Neighbor” I asked the kids to turn and say hello to a neighbor.

Last week I made some early literacy signs to hang up along with a Step Into Storytime sign; I laminated them so they’ll be reusable. (I made them in Canva; if you’d like copies, I’m happy to share the PDF.) During “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” I mentioned that fingerplay helps develop fine motor skills.

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Book covers
Hello Hello, Hooray for Hat, A Greyhound A Groundhog, Some Bugs, The Odd Egg, Monkey and Me, Lots of Dots
  • Welcome and announcements
  • Hello song with ASL
  • Name song (there were about 10-11 kids to start, some more trickled in later)
  • Passed out scarves right away for Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel – wave the scarves hello! Keep them for the song cube.
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • Hooray for Hat by Brian Won (lots of kids caught on to the pattern of the story and said “Hooray!” at the appropriate times)
  • Song cube: “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”
  • A Greyhound, A Groundhog by Emily Gravett and Chris Appelhans (I brought a little stuffed greyhound from home and let the kids come pet it after the story)
  • Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi and Brendan Wenzel (I pointed out that it says “words by” and “bugs by,” which I love. “Author” and “illustrator” aren’t as meaningful for little kids; “wrote the words” and “drew the pictures” are easier to understand)
  • Song cube: “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “I’m A Little Teapot” (it landed against my chair, so both sides were showing)
  • The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett (with a big alligator SNAP! with two arms at the end)
  • Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett (this is sing-song-y enough that I did it with all of us standing up and doing the animal imitations – waddling penguins, elephant trunks, etc.)
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot” again
  • Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier (some kids found “dots” – buttons – on their clothes when I asked, and one found “dots” in the flower print on her leggings)
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Craft: I taped a long piece of butcher paper to the floor and scattered colored construction paper dots on it for kids to glue with glue sticks. They LOVED it. Definitely something to do again in a couple weeks. When everyone was done I taped the paper up on the wall.
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This is my kid. No photo release form required.

Step Into Storytime, September 24

Today we had a big crowd at storytime! It was a gray fall day, so maybe the weather urged people inside, or perhaps they’re just getting back into the rhythm of the season (storytimes are a little more sporadic in the summer because of all the other programs we do). There were at least 15 kids in the 2-3 age range, plus assorted siblings and several late arrivals. In the beginning, we had more than ten but I did the name song anyway – it’s a great way to learn names and start building individual connections.

Books face out on storytime chair
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!, Oh No George!, Please Mr. Panda, Count the Monkeys, Five Little Monkeys, Chu’s Day, Still Stuck
  • “Hello Friends” song with ASL
  • Name song (“Hello ____, hello ___, hello ____, we’re glad you came today”)
  • Handed out shaker eggs for Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora
  • Kept the shaker eggs for Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton. Collected shaker eggs after.
  • Song cube: ABC song
  • Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
  • Song cube: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
  • Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed by Eileen Christelow (jumping encouraged!)
  • Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle”
  • Scarves (by audience request) for Still Stuck by Shinsuke Yoshitake. Collected scarves.
  • Goodbye song with ASL. Put away colored mats. Dance party with bubbles! (We have an old ipod loaded up with Raffi and Disney versions of classic kid music. And I brought my own bubbles from home because I am devoted to Pustefix bubbles.)

I skipped the flannel board and craft this week, but for next week I am thinking of a craft with paper dots and glue to go with Lots of Dots, and maybe The Very Hungry Caterpillar flannel board again…if I can make a butterfly before next Monday!

Step Into Storytime, September 17

There was a smaller group at storytime today, but that allowed me to do the name song (“____ is here today, ____ is here today, let’s all clap our hands, ____ is here today”) after our usual “Hello friends” song. If the group is bigger than ten or so, I don’t do it, but because we only had seven or eight today, we did. I think it’s a good way to start because all the kids feel included, and it helps me learn the names, so I can address kids by name throughout the storytime.

When we use the song cube, or sing a new song, I make sure we do it twice, because young brains are hungry for patterns and repetition.

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Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?, Flyaway Katie, Five Little Monkeys, My Heart Is Like A Zoo, Perfect Square, Make A Wish Bear, Where Bear?
  • Welcome: Glad you’re here, please keep the doors clear, take snacks outside, feel free to come and go as needed.
  • “Hello Friends” song with ASL
  • Name song
  • Book: Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle”
  • Hand out scarves
  • Book: Flyaway Katie by Polly Dunbar
  • Book: Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow
  • Collect scarves
  • Book: My Heart Is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall (with flannel, but not interactive)IMG_20180917_094132
  • Song and activity: “Shake Your Sillies Out” with shaker eggs
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Book: Perfect Square by Michael Hall
  • Song cube: “Itsy-Bitsy Spider”
  • Book: Make A Wish Bear by Greg Foley
  • Song: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”
  • Book: Where, Bear? by Sophy Henn
  • Goodbye song with ASL
  • Activity: coloring with crayons on a big piece of butcher paper (one bowl of crayons at each corner of the paper)

See last week’s Step Into Storytime here.

Step Into Storytime, September 10

Today kicks off our fall series of storytime programs, and mine is “Step Into Storytime” for two- and three-year olds (though siblings are allowed to join, and we’re pretty lenient about ages; the come-and-go-as-necessary philosophy enables kids and their grown-ups to leave if they’re having a tough time and come back in when they’re ready, or next time).

We started off, as usual, with an introduction and a few guidelines (keep doors clear, take snacks outside), then our welcome song: “Hello friends” with sign language. I sang it through once with the motions, then showed each sign (should have done that first!), then we sang it through again, and lots of the kids and adults participated. Next:

  • Song cube: “Zoom zoom zoom, we’re going to the moon” (standing, twice)
  • Book: Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley
  • Activity: Adding leaves to the tree on the flannel board. I think every kid participated and we had 16 leaves!
  • Song cube: “I had a little turtle”
  • Book: Hooray for Hat by Brian Won (“Show me your grumpy faces!”)
  • Song cube: “ABCs”
  • Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleIMG_20180910_095130
  • Activity: Very Hungry Caterpillar flannel board. At the appropriate point in the story, a kid would come up and remove the fruit the caterpillar ate that day (apple, pears, plums, strawberries, oranges). One kid who wanted to participate didn’t get a chance to take fruit off the board so I let her take the caterpillar off. And note to self: I need to make a butterfly!
  • Song cube: “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” (standing, twice)
  • Book: Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex (kids loved the big sneeze!)
  • Song/activity: I passed out shaker eggs and we stood to sing “Shake Your Sillies Out.” Kids brought the eggs back to the front and put them in the bag at the end of the song.
  • Book: The Duckling Gets A Cookie by Mo Willems (I put my flannel Pigeon and Duckling up on the flannel board but we didn’t do anything with them)
  • Song: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to calm a slightly squirrelly crowd. I meant to do the “Goodbye Friends” song with ASL like usual but I forgot!
  • Activity: Coloring with crayons. I traced one of the pages from Blue Chameleon and made copies for kids to color however they liked. We have a giant bin of crayons and they color right on the floor – next time I would scoop a few smaller bowls of crayons and spread them out around the room. People were great about putting the crayons back when they were finished!

Overall, this was a great storytime. Hooray for Hat seemed to be a favorite, several kids recognized The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I think the Mo Willems book might have been more successful earlier in the lineup.

We have a whiteboard along one wall, and after “Welcome to Step Into Storytime!” I had written the five activities that support early learning: Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play. Next time I want to incorporate more early literacy information into the storytime for caregivers, explaining in a sentence here and there why I’m doing what I’m doing (why sing songs twice, for example, and why do fingerplay or sign language) to support that early learning.

 

Summer Storytime II

My second all-ages summer storytime was this morning, and it was a full house! I didn’t get an exact headcount because people came and went, but the room was full, and I think I put out at least 30 mats, and all were in use. Like last time, I started with a welcome and a reminder to keep doorways clear so people could come and go. I also explained I would be placing the books I read during storytime to the side of my chair and anyone was welcome to check them out afterward.

  • Song: “Hello” song with American Sign Language (ASL) from Jbrary. Demonstrated the signs first and invited everyone to do the signs and/or sing along; sang it twice.
  • Book: There Might Be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Laurel Molk. This is one of my absolute favorites, and I brought along a stuffed lobster to show every time the line “…there might be lobsters” came up in the story. Some kids began shouting along, which was just what I’d hoped.
  • Song cube: I made a song cube with pictures on each of the six sides that correspond to a simple song; the first one was “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” I tried to get a different song to come up each time…sometimes a little manipulation was required.
  • Book: Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton. Some of the older kids had good guesses about what George would do.
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle”
  • Prop/toy: Hand out colored scarves (the Golden Rule of Storytime: you get what you get and you don’t get upset!). I enlisted three of the older kids to help pass out scarves, which we keep stored in empty tissue boxes.
  • Song: “Shake Your Sillies Out” waving scarves around
  • Book: Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda. We “huffed and puffed” or waved the scarves at the appropriate times during the story. All of the kids were super into it! Collected the scarves afterward, with helpers.
  • Book: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer – another book about a dog named George!
  • Song cube: “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (twice)
  • Book: They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel (only fair to read a cat book after two dog books)
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot” (twice)
  • Book: Still Stuck by Shinsuke Yoshitake. Most kids can relate to this one, and the grownups appreciated the humor too – I heard a few chuckles.
  • Song cube: “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”
  • Book: One Little Blueberry by Tammy Salzano, illustrated by Kat Whelan
  • Book: There’s A Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
  • Song: “Goodbye” song with ASL from Jbrary. Same tune as the “Hello” song, taught the signs first, repeated it twice.
  • Thanks for coming, time to put mats away so we can…
  • Dance to music (“Banana Bread” by Caspar Babypants) and bubbles! Bubbles are always a hit.

Summer Storytime

 

Today was my very first official library storytime! It was an “all ages” summer storytime, so I brought more books than I was planning to read, so that I could be flexible depending on who showed up. There was a good mix, from infants to about four years old. I didn’t get an exact headcount, but I think there were at least 15-20 kids, with several trailing in throughout the storytime (it’s supposed to be a 45-minute program, though we ended about ten minutes early).

Here’s what we did, with a huge hat tip to my fellow (and far more experienced) children’s librarians, Lauren and Ms. B:

  • Welcome, thanks for coming, introduced self, mentioned a few ground rules (leave the doorways clear, take snacks outside)
  • Song: “Hello” song with American Sign Language (ASL) from Jbrary. Demonstrated the signs first and invited everyone to do the signs and/or sing along; sang it twice.
  • Book: Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel
  • Song cube: I made a song cube with pictures on each of the six sides that correspond to a simple song; the first one was “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”
  • Book: Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee (I like to rotate the book 360 on the “it goes all the way around” page)
  • Song cube: “I Had A Little Turtle”
  • Prop/toy: Hand out colored scarves (the Golden Rule of Storytime: you get what you get and you don’t get upset!). I enlisted two of the older kids to help pass out scarves, which we keep stored in empty tissue boxes.
  • Book: Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda. We “huffed and puffed” or waved the scarves at the appropriate times during the story. All of the kids were super into it! Collected the scarves afterward.
  • Book: Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau
  • Activity: My husband made flannel pieces for our own Tickle Monster; I set them up before storytime, and as I read each page and a piece of Tickle Monster disappeared, I took off the corresponding pieces. With a group of all older kids I would have let them come up and take the pieces off, but because we had a lot of littles and this was my first time, I did it myself.
  • Song cube: “I’m A Little Teapot”
  • Prop/toy: Hand out shaker eggs. Shake shake shake…stop!
  • Book: Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. Kids shook their eggs every time Tyrannosaurus “WRECKS!” (And sometimes in between.)
  • Song: “Shake your sillies out” (with the eggs). Collected eggs.
  • Book: Please Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
  • Okay, we have time for one more song cube and one more book…
  • Song cube: “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”
  • Book: Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi
  • Song: “Goodbye” song with ASL from Jbrary. Same tune as the “Hello” song, taught the signs first, repeated it twice.
  • Music and dance and bubbles! “You’re Welcome” from Moana, bubbles. The kids were pretty into it, especially the bubbles. Some trickled out right away, others stayed longer. I had put out all of the books I read during storytime and invited people to check them out – several were taken!
  • Another thank you for coming, and a reminder to check the schedule for our other summer programs.

I’m already looking forward to my next summer storytime in August! What are your favorite read-aloud books? Favorite tie-in activities to do with scarves, shaker eggs, puppets, etc.?