One of the things I was crazy excited about when I got this job was the idea of doing storytime. I mean, what could be better than sitting down with a bunch of happy little 3-5 year olds and reading them picture books? Nothing. Nothing could be better than that, am I right? I get that there will be those days, but I really can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing with my life right now.
During my first 6 weeks on the job, there was already a storytime session running so I did a lot of observing at my branch and others in the system. Which was really cool because it was interesting to see all the different ways that people did things. I saw so many things that I would love to be able to incorporate into my own storytimes and I figure I’ll get there one day, but for right now, I just want to get as comfortable as I can with the basics so that I know I’m delivering a solid, engaging, and fun early literacy experience for my patrons. I just want them to love coming to the library!
A new session started at the beginning of January and I was so excited (and a little bit nervous!) to start doing my own storytime. Because of the scheduling, right now I am alternating weeks with my colleague, so for this session I only have 3 storytimes, but it’s kind of nice to be able to kind of dip my toe in to see how the water is before jumping in the deep end, haha!
My very first storytime was 2 weeks ago Thursday and I decided on a theme of Pets because I knew there were tons of books I could use. Honestly, too many choices is one of my personal stumbling blocks, and I did read LOTS of picture books in deciding what to use. But, it wasn’t hard to actually make a decision because I loved the books I chose so much. I figured if I loved them, they were my best bet for a successful first storytime.
So here’s how my first storytime went:
Because we are alternating, we decided to use the same songs for continuity for the kids. The opening song we are using this session is “Oh, Mr. Sun”. I had never heard this song before, but I really love how cheerful it is and I find myself singing it a lot at home. It drives Ken crazy, so that’s an added bonus!
When I first read Emma Dodd’s What Pet to Get, about a boy who wants a pet but doesn’t know what kind, I knew I was leading with that. I love this book! And the kids all loved it, too! They made the best comments about why the pets Jack suggested were bad choices. “Look at all those sharp teeth!” “That elephant wouldn’t fit in his house!”
Next I did a flannel board rhyme, “Five Little Pets” (and I am so proud of how cute my flannels turned out! I’ve only made flannels once and had never seen this felt collage method before, so it took a while, but it was totally worth it in the end!)
We sang “Baby Bumblebee” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and then did some stomping and clapping with a Two Little Feet rhyme.
A Pet for Petunia by Paul Scmid was a hit with the parents and the kids, though I think the moms found it funnier than the little ones did. I had a lot of fun reading this one, especially Petunia’s rant, haha!
After that we did a fingerplay, “Five Fancy Goldfish”. I have to admit I am not as comfortable with fingerplays, so they don’t seem to grab kids as much as when some other people do them. I plan to ask to do a “study abroad” to go observe some more people doing some storytimes because I really think that’s helpful. I’ve also been watching the videos on Jbrary a lot to see how they do them.
Next came more songs…”Baa, Baa Black Sheep”, and “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”, which has become another favorite for me. We moved around a little more by doing “Can You?”
Can you hop like a rabbit?
Can you jump like a frog?
Can you waddle like a duck?
Can you wag your tail like a dog?
Can you fly like a bird?
Can you swim like a fish?
Can you sit back down and be still like this?
They LOVED this! We hopped and jumped, waddled and wagged, and just giggled the whole time!
After that, they were ready to listen again for a really cute, really quick rhyming book called A Dog Is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan. Everyone was laughing at this and trying to guess what animal would come next!
I know it seems like a lot to pack in, but we actually had time for one more short book, so I ended with The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems. And, of course, everyone loved this one, too. How can you not love everything Mo Willems does?!
We didn’t do a closing song because, in our storytimes, once the reading, singing, and dancing are done, we move on to a craft and after craft we have a short playtime.
My craft for this week was a Goldfish bowl.
I really don’t think it could have gone much better for my first time doing storytime. Both kids and parents seemed to have a good time and were engaged the whole time. There was a little boy who was attending for the first time and his grown-up told me he was very shy. She was surprised that he made comments and answered questions while we were reading stories and with how much attention he gave to making his goldfish bowl just right.
After playtime, when we were cleaning up, he came up to me and whispered, “I really like playing here.”
I whispered back, “I’m so glad you came. I hope you come back next week.”
And he responded by whispering again, “I hope you’re here again.”
I can’t even tell you how those five little words filled up my heart! Like I said, could there be anything better?
Two other books I considered using were Dogfish by Gillian Shields, and Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown: