A Tried and True Storytime Plan

At my location, I am the teen and baby programmer so I don’t often get to do preschool storytime. I really lucked out this week though, because we had3 outreach events scheduled so I got to do a preschool/family storytime 3 whole times! Of course, being the Summer-Reading overloaded librarian that I am, I planned one great outline and used it at each event. Which is a really great idea unless, you know, the same family happens to show up at two of them! That did happen to me, but luckily they didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they seemed rather pleased to already know the words to the songs. And so, without further ado, here is my tried and true storytime plan, used 3 times in one week to great success!

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Sing: The More we Get Together (with ukulele!)

Read: Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Sing: Mary Wore Her Red Dress

Fingerplay: Open Them, Shut Them

Read: Jump! by Scott M. Fischer

Sing: Mmm Ah Went the Little Green Frog

Mmm ahh went the little green frog one day
Mmm ahh went the little green frog
Mmm ahh went the little green frog one day
And they all went mmm mmm ahhh!!

We all know frogs go shanananana
shanananana shanananana
We all know frogs go shanananana
shanananana shanananana
They don’t go mmm mmm ahh.

Little blue fish: blup blup, kissy kissy kiss

Flannel Board: Little Mouse, Little Mouse

Read: Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett

Rhyme: 5 Little Monkeys

5 little monkeys sitting in a tree
hold up five fingers
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me!”
put thumbs in ears and waggle fingers
Along came the alligator quiet as can be
put palms together like an alligator mouth and weave back & forth
And SNATCHED that monkey right out of the tree!
open palms wide and clap loudly on “snatched”

Read: I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry

Sing: If You’re Happy and You Know it (with ukulele!)

There was no theme to this storytime, just books I love to read! The first time I did it, I used Oh No! by Candace Fleming, but afterwards I decided I didn’t like the way that flowed as a read aloud and I wanted something more interactive. So I swapped it for Count the Monkeys, which was a GREAT decision.

It was my first time using a song I learned from Jbrary’s AMAZING youtube channel and the kids loved it! They are a super great resource for storytime songs, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to check them out! I’m also getting so much better at playing my opening and closing songs on the ukulele. I think I’m ready to start branching out and adding more ukulele songs to my plans!

Lapsit, or joyous fun with babies

Lapsit is one of my favorite, favorite parts of this job. I get to be in a room full of smiling babies and caregivers and we always have so much fun singing, reading, dancing, and playing. We have Lapsit at my library once a month for 0-24 month olds. There can be a wide variation in ages and abilities, from true infant lapsiters all the way up to busy walkers. Lately we’ve had mostly walkers attending, which has made it a little easier, but I want to make sure parents know babies are welcome starting from birth.

I have been doing this program for a year now, and this fall I am finally feeling like I have it down. I have a pretty set schedule I use each month, and I repeat many of the same songs and rhymes. Almost everything I do in lapsit I learned from the talented Mary Frasier during my internship at the Monroe County Public Library. The links below are Mary herself singing the opening and closing songs I borrowed from her! I have also learned a ton from the amazing Melissa at Mel’s Desk. She knows so much about baby storytime! So here it is, my plan for a typical lapsit.

Opening Song: Hello Everybody

Bubbles and Music

Read a Book

Open Them, Shut Them (my own variation)

Song/Flannel Board

Fingerplay or Rhyme

Read a Second Book

Dancing (with scarves, bells, shakers, etc.)

Goodbye Song: Clap Your Hands

Craft or Play Time

I read two books, which sometimes I shorten, we always sing the same opening song, closing song, and do Open Them, Shut Them somewhere in the middle. We always blow bubbles to music at the beginning and dance to music at the end. In the middle I mix it up with different bouncing rhymes, songs, flannel boards, or nursery rhymes.

So there it is! Lapsit lasts about twenty minutes, after which parents usually stay around and chat. I have just started adding a more structured play or baby craft portion at the end which has been very successful. I’m getting better at squeezing those important literacy tips for the parents in as well. I’ll be sharing more specific plans for my lapsits in the next few weeks. How do you structure your lapsits? Any tricks or tips for us?

Green, Green, Green!

Last week I had a very successful story time with our visiting day care group, so I thought I’d share. The day care comes weekly to visit our library with a class of three-year-olds. This week the theme was all about green! We had a lot of fun with this one.

Opening Song: Open them, shut them. This same group of kids has been visiting the library for over 6 months now, so they love singing this song with me and doing the hand motions at the start of every visit.


Story: Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes. This is such a lovely and thoughtful story by one of my very favorite authors. There are a lot of lovely soft greens in the illustrations, and on one page the rabbit wonders what it would be like to be green. The children enjoyed the magical illustrations and wondered different things along with the rabbit.

Song: Five Fat Peas.

Five fat peas in a pea pod pressed. (show fist)

One grew, two grew, so did all the rest. (count with fingers)

They grew and they grew and they did not stop. (show growth with arms)

Until one day the pea pod POPPED! (clap hands)

Story: Green Wilma by Ted Arnold. This is an odd little story but the children thought it was hilarious! Wilma wakes up green one morning and only wants to eat flies! I really enjoyed making the group laugh with this story.

Rhyme: This is a Turtle. 

This is a turtle.

He lives in a shell. (show fist)

He pokes his head out (poke out thumb)

when he wants to eat.

And he pulls it back in (hide thumb in fist)

When he wants to sleep.

Story: Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox. This is now one of my favorite books to read out loud! I haven’t had this much fun reading a story in a long time. The kids enjoyed this story so much. They participated after each time I asked, “But where is the green sheep?” and their answers were so cute! Usually, “We don’t know where he is?” And they really enjoyed following along to solve the mystery of the green sheep. Definitely going to read this one again soon.

Song: Shake your Wiggles Out!

Story: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Can’t go wrong with this classic. I love the shouts when I pull this book out: “I have this one at home!” I always tell them I am glad they are reading books at home.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this very green storytime. Come back soon for more!

Thoughts on Programming

One of the things I thought about before I decided to specialize in Children’s and Young Adult Services was programming. From my viewpoint as a circulation clerk, it looked like programming was about 75% of what the children’s librarian at my library did. Huge, complicated programs with hundreds of tiny details that all had to fall into place and it was a lot of planning and a lot of stress. I wasn’t so sure I wanted any part of that.

So I hesitated. Did I really have it in me to plan programs? Was it really how I wanted to spend a significant part of my time doing? In the end I decided to go forward with it, but it was still a worry in the back of my mind. So when I started my internship at my local public library this semester, I asked to get as much experience with programming as I could. I needed to make sure I really wanted to do this aspect of the life of a children’s librarian.

Now that I have observed and participated in a whole month’s worth of children’s programs, I can say with enthusiasm that I am convinced. Programming is great! It is not nearly as intimidating as I anticipated, tons of fun, and so rewarding too! I’ve observed a variety of programs, and I’m happy to think that every thing I’ve observed so far, I would be pretty comfortable doing in a future job too. Preschool storytimes, baby programs, first grade tours, storytimes in front of a full auditorium, read to a dog programs – they are all fun and they are all centered around the things I truly am passionate about – developing early literacy and sharing a love of reading with children. I’m so lucky that my internship coordinator is going to be giving me an opportunity to actually present a couple of these programs later on in the semester.