On Saturday, I performed my first storytime in my new position. As it was a way of introducing myself and the way I do storytimes, I planned one that would allow me to test out multiple elements and props. Here’s the plan for this week’s storytime set.
Play song: My predecessor displayed music videos with a projector and iPad. Since I don’t want to do away with everything she did, I decided to keep that as my way of doing music as well. I played Drive My Car by Laurie Berkner first.
Introductions with Applesauce: I introduced myself and talked about the two rules I want to start with. One, I put down a line with duct tape to mark off my “no fly zone.” I asked the children not to cross it or touch the things I’m holding behind it during storytime. Two, I talked about listening ears and how you really know someone is listening to you when they’re quiet and looking at you. I always tug on my ears as a “secret code” to ask the children to show me their listening ears. They think this is fun, but it’s also a good way to get their attention and remind them of a rule if they’re speaking out of turn.
Applesauce, my horse puppet, came out and asked all the children for their names. I need to come up with a little activity for Applesauce during introductions. Maybe a joke every week?
Introduced flannel board with sock match game. I wanted to make sure that the kids got to see the flannel board up close and feel it before I started using it routinely. I was worried if I didn’t, I might wind up blocking curious hands or fielding questions in the middle of trying to use it for a story. I wanted them to understand it before I moved forward.
I found a sock match game through Flannel Friday and upgraded it a little for my needs.
First, I made a washing machine from a Tide Pods container I had. I had the children take turns pressing the buttons to add water and soap and then they pressed start. I shook it up and emptied all our clean socks on the floor in front of them.
Socks were paired with a number on one and dots on the other as pictured above. I let the children take turns finding pairs and “hanging them to dry” on the flannel board. It was a great hands-on introduction to the flannel board.
Secret word: I tried out introducing the day’s theme by pulling a secret letter from a fancy box. Our word is grumpy this week. (In my new library, the system sets a theme for the month and this month is feelings. I broke that down into a different feeling for each week.) I don’t think this really worked for me or the kids. I’ll keep trying it for a couple weeks, though, and see if it grows on me.
Sang If You’re Ready for a Story
Read Grumpy Gloria. Before reading, I tested out giving my ears a tug and all the kids tugged back at me to show they were ready to listen! Hooray!
Played flannel with Magoo. I introduced Magoo, my sheepdog puppet, and he told us how he lost his smile at the park and felt really grumpy. To help him find his smile, we retraced his steps at the park.
(Forgive the horrible glare. Storytime takes place in a loft with windows all around.)
First, Magoo played ball so we checked behind the ball, but nothing was there. Then, he got really thirsty so we went to the water fountain for a drink…and so on, until we found his smile buried with his bone at the end.
I plan to reuse this flannel all month with the events in a different order every time and his smile in a different place.
Played song: Goldfish by Laurie Berkner
Read The Pout-Pout Fish. I rhyme this in a sing-song way and I’m very expressive with the “blub, bluuub, bluuuubs.” It’s one of my favorites.
Played Little Mouse, Little Mouse.
Read I’m Not Sleepy.
Said owl-related action rhyme.
Played Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear.
Then I gave them time for a short, simple craft. I asked them if they would like to write a postcard to their former storytime leader, who has moved to different branch. I’d pre-made postcards with lined paper and stamps and I’d also put out crayons for them to draw a picture on the back.
It’s hard for parents/caregivers and librarians to adjust to a new storytime. I’m so lucky that there was some transition time between my taking over storytime and the former librarian moving on to her new branch. I was able to observe how she did storytimes and she even introduced me to her regulars. They always told me “I had big shoes to fill,” but she and I were able to reassure them together. The former librarian basically recruited me as her replacement because she knew that I would take care of her patrons with as much passion and energy as she did. Not a lot of new librarians can benefit from this kind of relationship but again, I’m so, so lucky that I did.
The parents who came Saturday seemed very happy with the storytime and said they would be coming back so I’m feeling more comfortable in the new place already. I think it helped that I kept some of her traditions with the songs she typically used and the video projection. I was so glad to see them accept the new props, too, though.