Storytime update

After several months of teaching myself new approaches to storytimes, I’m finally hitting my stride with both the Toddler and Infant storytimes.  It’s taken a lot of hard work, and I’ll admit to getting myself fairly worked up and stressed out about these two storytimes in the early months, but I’ve managed to find my own rhythm for each.

I’m still using Storytimes for Two Year Olds by Judy Nichols as my starting point for the toddler storytimes.  Nichols’ book contains a huge amount of useful information, suggestions, activities, and book suggestions, but she masterfully leaves enough room for the reader to add his or her own personality and ideas.  As I’ve become comfortable with the format and the age group, I’ve started to make each storytime my own.  Rather than depend on Nichols’ book suggestions (most of which are not in my library’s collection), I’ve found books that are in our collection that work beautifully with toddlers.  Instead of always using her suggested fingerplays and songs, I’ve pulled in some from Hugh Hanley’s collection that are more fun and less forced.

And, most importantly, I’ve mastered the art of using the flannelboard to tell stories.  Last week I premiered my masterpiece (so far, hopefully there will be more masterpieces to come): a full set of flannelboard figures for Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle.  It took me several hours to complete the figures, but they’re pretty fantastic, and the kids loved the story when it was told in that graphic format.  Happily, too, I had the foresight to make the figures on my own time, with my own supplies, so they belong to me and not to the library, and can go with me wherever my future might take me.  Wise, wise, wise – I left far too many materials behind when I left my last job.

And Betsy Diamant-Cohen’s Mother Goose on the Loose curriculum has made the infant storytimes a breeze.  Now that I’ve been using the MGOL format for a few months, I’m finding that the kids and parents who regularly attend are relishing MGOL’s predictable repetition, and we are having a real blast together.  And Jennifer has started up a Wednesday morning session of MGOL, which hopefully will build and grow just as the Tuesday session has. 

Now that I’ve reached a level of comfort with these two storytimes, and now that I’ve built up a library of materials and lesson plans, I feel like I can relax more and enjoy each storytime more than before.  And, I’m left with more free mental energy to use for ordering books.  It’s all good, all very positive.

3 thoughts on “Storytime update”

  1. I really want to know how you use the flannelboard successfully — my own efforts have always ended abruptly with me throwing the flannelboard away and just telling the story. Yet I would love to know how to do flannelboard well. And I really want to know if you can do a big flannelboard for bigger groups.

    ((Oo, oo, I know, do an online video of you showing how to do a flannelboard story! I’m serious!))

  2. Oh that is so awesome. You may want to check out my site – not to bombard you or anything but we have a lot of ideas there! 🙂 I would love to see a video too, that is something I haven’t been brave enough to make yet!! LOL

  3. Gee, darn, too bad I don’t own a video camera! 😉

    Funfelt – I will definitely take a look at your site – the more ideas, the better!

    And Dan, next time you’re up this way I’ll show you a flannelboard story, ok? (No guilt trip, but you’ve never seen my beautiful library…)

    I think the key to good flannelboard storytelling is in the story selection: it has to work in this format, or you’re sunk.

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