Last week’s storytime was all about the zoo!

We started, as always, with our opening song – The More We Get Together and then Wave One Hand. Then I asked if anyone had ever been to the zoo before. A few children had been, but everyone said they had seen zoo animals on television or in books. We talked about which animals were our favorites – monkeys, elephants, giraffes, lions, and penguins were all mentioned. It was fun to hear the reasons some children shared for why they chose a favorite.

The first book I shared was the big book version of From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. This is such a great interactive book! On each page, we identified the animal and then, after I read the text, we all repeated the animal’s action – “I can bend my neck. Can you do it?” When I read “I can do it!” on each spread, I emphasized and pointed to each word in turn as I read them aloud.

From Head to Toe

Early literacy tip of the day: When reading text, point to the words as you read them, especially repeated words. This helps children understand that the words you are saying are connected to the printed text.

Next we did a flannelboard and learned a new song, We Went to the Zoo One Day (to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb). I told the kids that I’d sing it once and then they could sing it with me because it was a very easy song. And, of course, this was the moment when I couldn’t remember the tune to Mary Had a Little Lamb, haha! The grown-ups and I all had a good laugh about that one. I feel pretty good about the fact that it’s easy to laugh at myself and then try again when I make mistakes in storytime. The storytime group we have is very forgiving!

After our flannelboard, we always do some fingerplays. For this session we are using two – Where is Thumbkin? and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. This part seems like a favorite for the children in this group and I think I might add another fingerplay to the routine or even start rotating between a few different ones.

We do some bounces after fingerplays and there is the cutest little boy who always wants to sit in my lap for these, but he wasn’t here this week. It’s really different doing a bounce rhyme with no one on your lap, haha! There are a couple of shy little ones who will sit on my lap during playtme, but not when everyone is looking at them during storytime. The bounces we are doing this session are Big A, Little A and A-Bouncing We Will Go.

After fingerplays and bounces, we sing Open, Shut Them and get back to our next book.

The second book I shared this week was 1,2,3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle. This is a wordless counting book with animals on a train headed to the zoo. On each page, I asked the children to name the animal. When they answered, I would elaborate by saying, for example, “Yes! It’s one grey elephant on a train!” And then we would count the animals or make the animal sounds. Both books and the flannelboard were a big hit today – I felt like a storytime superstar!

123 to the Zoo

After the second book we move into a couple of action songs, which this session are I’m a Little Teapot and The Wheels on the Bus and last is our closing Ring Around the Rosie.

This storytime went really well for my group and I will definitely be using some of these elements again.