I realize now that I’ve never shared my process for planning and setting-up a storytime. Not that it’s so fascinating. I just like to hear how other people think things through, so I thought maybe you do too.
My library system has a set curriculum for storytimes that includes a set of themes that last for six weeks each. While I’ve been here, I’ve gone through one of those and am now emerging into a second round. I am very liberal with my interpretation of the theme pack that’s created for us. Typically our theme pack has a list of books that go with the theme and ideas for fingerplays, rhymes, and songs, and possibly even a craft. I find that I just don’t feel excited about a storytime that someone else has planned. They’re never quite the way that I would do them, and as we all know, you need to be enthusiastic to do a good job.
So I start with the theme and I pick out a book and a song that go together and get me really excited. Then I find a craft to match. Then I find a few other books that may or may not be related and some little activities to make it all blend together. Since I’m now serving ages birth-5 in each storytime, I break down the parts of storytime something like this:
For the babies:
A board book or big book
A nursery rhyme to sing or a baby bounce
A couple songs that can be done with props and crowd engagement
A short, but cute, book
A song where they have to follow directions
A flannel story or game
A couple upbeat books
So all in all, I try to come away with 2-3 songs to be done with videos, a song to sing, a nursery rhyme or baby bounce, a fingerplay, a flannel activity, and 3-4 books.
When I outline my storytime, I also break it down into the 5 ECRR practices, kind of like so:
Open, Shut Them