Recipe for a great storytime

Yesterday’s preschool storytime was a BLAST – for me and for the kids.  Here’s what made it so fun:

“Open, Shut Them” ~ The group has learned our opening song well, and everyone now sings along with me.

Otis by Loren Long ~ The kids really, really, really liked this book.  They listened with rapt attention; reacted with concerned faces when the calf is stuck in the mud pond; and nearly cheered when the calf got free.  When the story was over, I asked the group what they thought of the story, and they simultaneously yelled, “I LOVED it!!!!”  Though some reviewers indicated that this book might be more for adults than kids, my experience yesterday tells me that it will become a modern classic with kids.

Ready for Anything! by Keiko Kasza ~ A silly story that doesn’t push its message too much, Ready for Anything gently deals with a character who worries excessively.  The kids liked this book a lot (though not with the level of love they expressed for Otis), and we had a good time reading it together.  One girl even predicted the surprise ending, which was fun for us all.

“The Silly Dance Contest” from Jim Gill’s album, Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes ~ We have all of Jim Gill’s albums in the library collection, and they’ve become so popular that I had to use some programming money from the Friends to buy copies exclusively for use in my storytimes.  These albums are popular for good reason: Jim Gill “gets” kids.  We had a great time yesterday bopping around to this song, giggling so loudly that the parents came to observe through the story room window.  My eternal thanks to Maureen A. for telling me about Jim Gill a couple of years ago!

Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty ~ I was worried that this quiet story might not work well in a storytime, but it was a hit.  It even provoked a discussion about how Jeremy changes from the beginning of the book to the end (and a child started the conversation, not me). 

“The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” Abby’s version ~ This week I decided to add a few more layers to this song, going beyond Hugh Hanley’s “Huge Enormous Spider” and “Very Quiet Spider.”  Those two additions are so much fun that I added the very fast spider, the very slow spider, and the very loud spider (ending, of course, with the very quiet spider, for sanity’s sake).  The toddlers on Monday had a good time with these additions, but the preschoolers yesterday REALLY hammed it up. 

And, for our final story, I pulled out my feltboard version of The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle.  And the zebra finger taster puppet somehow thought that each child yesterday tasted like a kind of bug – butterfly, mosquito, dragonfly… – which made for a lot of final giggles before we all belted out “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

2 thoughts on “Recipe for a great storytime”

  1. Can you do a post sometime about your song-leading strategies for this age group? I would love to hear what you do that works so well.

  2. Will do, if I can – I’ve been trying to think about how to describe it. Stay tuned!!

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