Friday, December 19, 2014

Flannel Friday Inspiration: Get Well Bear

In an effort to boost the excitement for Family Storytime I'm working on a Doc McStuffins storytime.  (Wish me luck.)I made up these bandaids so that we could practice vocabulary while helping Doc help the bear get well soon.  (i.e. "Put the bandaid on the bear's elbow" and so on.)  An idea borrowed from Storytime Katie.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Babies

So I'm planning some grand post as a retrospective on my first year at the library, but who am I kidding? We're here for storytime plans, right?  So this is the baby storytime I presented last week and I think it's safe to say a fun time was had by all.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Little Yoga with Your Storytime

"Because you are alive, anything is possible"

—Thích Nhất Hạnh

I'm going to be completely straight with you: my November family storytime was a disaster. (Which is why you're not hearing about it until now...)  My evening session had a complete lack of parental participation and supervision and my Saturday session had only one child.  It was a total bummer because it was a storytime I was really excited to present.  I had books that I loved and an animal movement activity to have kids try out simple yoga poses, and was planning on giving parents more information on breathing and rhymes and lullabies help children's emotional development and success in school.  So much for that: you live, you learn?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Adventures in Readers' Advisory

As a library person, there are few things quite so satisfying as being present the moment a reader connects with just the right book.

I had an interaction with a young lady today who liked adventure stories and historical fiction, and wouldn't you know it: Code Name Verity was sitting right there on our shelf!  (And I didn't even have to consult our databases to come up with that one.)

She was so excited and thankful and I don't know if she was just pulling my leg, but the phrase "I need to come to the library more often" was uttered.  I hope she enjoys her book, and I'm really excited by the prospect of having someone eager to come back to the library.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy Halloween Baby Storytime

I had an absolutely amazing Halloween-themed storytime this morning focusing on Print Motivation.  I had 10 babies, which is definitely on the higher end of my attendance spectrum.  Many of them were new to my library, and a few were brand new to storytime all together!

I pulled a couple audibles during this one--the last-minute addition of “White Ghost, White Ghost, What Do You See?” as individual flannel boards (if S. cut out all those pieces, I figured I had better use them!) and I bumped our Read Together Time/Bucket of Books to the beginning rather than toward the end of the storytime--I’m going to try again next week before I pass judgment on how that went.  This meant my Introduction and Example Asides effectively got bunched together “Print motivation means interest and enjoyment of books...Step One: pick a book that you like and your child will pick up on your enjoyment of the story...”  I tried throwing in a little extra something about how kids like visual aids like the flannel pieces, but it just fell really flat.

I also kept telling one of the babies who I see almost every week that I loved her purple overalls until one of the moms was finally like, “I think those are orange.”  (I was wondering why her mother was looking at me like I was crazy...)  So that probably tells you just how on my game I am this week.  Please don’t take my Early Literacy card away!

I’m glad I got to look at Print Motivation the week of Halloween.  I absolutely adore Halloween and there are so many fun rhymes to choose from.  Below are the rhymes we used this week, as well as a few more I’ve sprinkled in over the past weeks in anticipation of Halloween

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Picture Book: A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

A Perfectly Messed-Up StoryA Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Would it be over the top to say that Louie and I are connected across the astral plane? Perhaps. I will say that a picture book hasn't hit me in the feels like this since Baby Bear.

To begin with, consider the fourth wall obliterated. Personally, I'm not a fan of photoshopping real-world objects over ink/paint illustrations, but here it actually works and doesn't just look creepy! (I'm looking at you 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore--that one still gives me the heebie-jeebies.) According to the "About This (Messed-Up) Book" blurb Jeff Schultz takes responsibility for the messes, and the rest is done in pen & ink, brush pen, crayon, and watercolor.

It definitely has that Patrick McDonnell flair, a combination of whimsy and quirkiness, and (un)surprisingly potent emotional content (one time, on the info desk Me...Jane made me cry.) A Perfectly Messed-Up Story is no different. My favorite little flourishes are the "This book belongs to Me" on the front pages, and opening the story up with "Once upon a time," and going from the watercolor scenery to the white, blank background is a striking visual cue. Along with a good dose of humor, we get the idea that even though life isn't always a fairy-tale, we're all still here and that's awesome.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Storytime Marathon Week: Day 6

It is finished!  Well, almost, we'll see how I'm faring after 5.  I had my second session of Monster Family Storytime this morning.  It was a good group of six kids (I had a father, too, for the win!) and very energetic, if a little less attentive.

As a matter of fact, one of my little monsters found my (apparently not so) carefully hidden instruments at the beginning of storytime and--wouldn't you know it--the parents started taking them and handing them out; Parents, no!  We need our hands free to shake our monster claws and our monster horns!

Ah well, we'll save the impulse control aside for another storytime.

Speaking of which, the kids this morning had fun with my flannel and Popsicle stick "Monsters Jumping on the Bed," (see it here) so much so one of my moms cleverly added another verse when we went directly from:

"Five little monsters jumping on the bed..."  to   "No more monsters jumping on the bed..."

Which went:

"Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
Put those monsters back in bed!"

And miraculously, the monsters came flying back to the flannel board.  Who knew?  I thought that was pretty cute.  I'm saving that one...

I dropped Another Monster at the End of this Book in favor of "Horns, Fangs, Knees and Claws" (copied below for reference).  Once again, Go Away Big Green Monster was the crowd favorite and our craft was very popular:

Horns and Fangs, Knees and Claws 
In the style of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes"
Horns and fangs, knees and claws (Knees and claws)
Horns and fangs, knees and claws (Knees and claws)
Eyes and ears and tail and paws.
Horns and fangs, knees and claws. (Knees and claws)

I'm sure next week will present its own challenges (in particular my dearth of backroom and planning time, scheduling outreach, and arranging meeting room bookings for the coming year...) but for the time being shall we say, "stick a fork in me: I'm done."   Storytime accomplished. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Flannel Friday: Monsters on the Bed (Flannel+)

This week at the library, I had a Monster-themed Family Storytime.  We talked about Phonological Awareness and  I made this little flannel bed for my monsters to jump out of during "Five Little Monsters Jumping on the Bed."  We had a small enough group that everyone had a turn at pulling a monster out of bed.  

I wouldn't consider myself an artistic person, but I'm quite proud of how my painted Popsicle-stick monsters turned out! 

Five Little Monsters Jumping on the Bed

Five little monsters jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head,
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said
No more monsters jumping on the bed!

Four little monsters jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
No more monsters jumping on the bed!

Three little monsters jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said
No more monsters jumping on the bed!

Two little monsters jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head,
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
No more monsters jumping on the bed!

One little monster jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head,
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
Put those monster right to bed,
No more monster jumping on the bed!

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup was hosted at Library Village here.

Storytime Marathon Week: Day 4

It’s been an interesting week here at the library--due to plague and other unfortunate family matters, about a third of our staff have been out for most of the week--and tonight I present the storytime I almost forgot! My amazing manager, on the other hand, will be out spreading the good word of the library at Vietnamese family night at a nearby school. Allow me to put on my Outreach Liaison hat and hang my head in shame for overbooking this evening…

And now, on to storytime! Our Early Literacy skill is Phonological Awareness. Tonight’s theme is Monsters. I have anointed my favorite monster books. I have prepared my flannel cuteness. I have cut out more Big Green Monster yellow eyes than we could possibly need. (Seriously, my last Family Storytime had one child, but the show must go on!) I have “Monster Mash” queued up on the iPad.

Family storytime went swimmingly!  A small group, but a very participatory one.  Two in Pre-K, one toddler, one extremely well-behaved baby, and one school-aged big sister.  Pretty much to a person, Go Away Big Green Monster was the favorite.  Happily, our craft was the perfect takeaway for them!

My storytime plan is copied below.

#tbt: Got Late Fees?

The lovely ladies at Circ received this gem which was due back on March 10th 1984.  Do you think I could still win the $10,000 prize?
Who Killed the Robins Family

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Storytime Marathon Week: Day 2

So this morning I had my weekly baby storytime program.  If you've magically found your way here with no knowledge of what a baby storytime entails, it's heavily dependent upon parent/caregiver participation, and my job as a presenter is more to facilitate an interaction between the adults and babies.  I try to include a lot of singing and finger-plays and lap bounces--though babies rarely stay in laps--sometimes I'll bring out the flannel board to demonstrate dialogic reading, and we usually read one book together, or we take a few minutes for the adults to share a book--or a few pages--with their child/children.

This week our theme was "Fall" and the Early Literacy skill was Oral Language (which corresponds to Narrative Skills in the first version of Every Child Ready to Read).  I'm including a list of the rhymes and songs we used below.  Each week I have handouts for the parents that include the rhymes and a note about the Early Literacy skill we mention.

Most weeks the group is probably between 5 and 10 children.  Every week I use the same opening and closing songs; I always use "If You're Happy and You Know It," "Two Little Black Birds," "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

Baby storytime can be a little tedious, because you don't get as much feedback from the kids (RE: hugs) but I did have the wonderful experience of having a mom come up to me and tell me that since we did "Elephants in the Bathtub," they sing it every night at and now her daughter loves bath-time.  And that is just amazing to me!

The other nice thing about baby storytime is that it gives moms the opportunity to interact with one another.  Being in a community with a high population of military families, it's really satisfying to see the library as a place where people can connect to one another.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Storytime Marathon Week: Day 1

So today begins my storytime marathon week; I'm set to present four times this week between outreach, baby, and family storytime, so as the old adage goes, "One day at a time."

I've been presenting outreach storytimes since March, and I always get a bit of stage-fright before hand.  I had a dance instructor who told us that having butterflies just means that you care.  I'm going to the same Child Development Center that visited me over the summer and the students sang me 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' in Spanish.  I'm presenting the same Alligator/Crocodile storytime I did for our Family Storytime here at the library earlier this month (with a few adaptations); it's a program I prepared for, I've presented it twice already, and its all books and songs I enjoy.  Right now the thing that I'm most concerned about is just getting on post.

For myself, the thing I've found about storytime outreach is that it's wonderful once you get there!  It's the running around, playing telephone tag, and finding fill-ins for the public service desk that's an absolute bear.  I'm not a fan of talking on the phone, but I'll do it--I just can't seem to get anyone to call me back.  But for now the hard part is over.  I'm excited to hit the road; I'll let you know how it goes!

Later that day....

Well, I did get lost, but other than that, storytime went just about perfectly.  I had 16 preschoolers and everyone seemed to have a good time.  As always, the alligator puppet was well-received and "Teasing Mr. Alligator" was a crowd favorite.  I'm including the songs and stories we did below.

Open Shut Them
Open, shut them, open, shut them,
Give a little clap, clap, clap.
Open, shut them, open, shut them,
Put them in your lap, lap, lap.

Creep them, creep them,
Creep them, creep them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin.
Open up your little mouth,
But do not let them in.

Notes: Such a great story for building anticipation and dialogic reading.  

Teasing Mr. Alligator
Three little monkeys swinging in the tree
teasing Mr. Alligator can’t catch me….can’t catch me
along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be
and snapped that monkey out that tree

Two little monkeys swinging in the tree
teasing Mr. Alligator can’t catch me….can’t catch me
along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be
and snapped that monkey out that tree

One little monkeys swinging in the tree
teasing Mr. Alligator can’t catch me….can’t catch me
along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be
and snapped that monkey out that tree

No more monkeys swinging in the tree!

Notes: I think this one might be a touch more popular with caregivers than kids; it's absolutely precious!  I actually wondered if one of the boys had read it before because as soon as I opened it up he started going on about fire.  If you haven't read this one *spoilers* it's "The Ugly Duckling" and the eponymous crocodile is actually a dragon.  The kids really seemed to enjoy the way he sneezes fire and grows wings at the end.  

The Alpha-gator Story
(Since I can't take my magnet board on the road) I used the alligator puppet on one hand and went through the ASL alphabet with the other.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Flannel Friday: Pumpkin Edition

I'm planning a "Pumpkin Patch" themed storytime for October, working on building vocabulary.  Particularly I wanted to look at the vocabulary for feeling and emotions, because children who have the vocabulary to describe feelings are better at regulating their emotions.  I made happy features, sad features, surprised/scared, and angry features for the one pumpkin.  

I'll was going to do the activity after "Five Little Pumpkins" and prompt the kids and parents to make different faces; with a small group of preschoolers I think I could invite them to come up and make different face combinations.  

Halloween, here we come!   

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup was hosted at Mel's Desk here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

ELS Unconference

Storytime Book and Rhyme Ideas from Severn!

Preschool Book: Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman

I used this book for a sneeze-themed preschool storytime, along with Baa-Choo, and Flea's Sneeze.  The students really seemed to enjoy building the anticipation.  We got a little rowdy, but thankfully the results weren't quite so disastrous as the ones in the book!

Toddler Book: Breathe by Scott Magoon 

I'm planning on using this book for a quiet family storytime in November along with The Quiet Book, lullabies, and information about breath and relaxation.   

Toddler Rhyme:
From “Kindergarten Wall” 
By John McCutcheon

Of all you learn here remember this the best:
Don't hurt each other and clean up your mess
Take a nap everyday, wash before you eat
Hold hands, stick together, look before you cross the street
And remember the seed in the little paper cup:
First the root goes down and then the plant grows up!

Baby Rhyme:
“Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me” with Scarves

Shoo fly, don't bother me. Shoo fly, don't bother me
Shoo fly don't bother me, 'cause I belong to somebody.
I feel, I feel, I feel like the morning star.
I feel, I feel, I feel like the morning star.


I'm planning on using this cute little guy for a Monster themed Family Storytime in October.  We're going to be looking at phonological awareness, and wouldn't you know it, 'monster' and 'mummy' both begin with the M-sound!

  • Colored construction paper
  • White paper (I used scraps from recycling cut into strips)
  • Glue sticks
  • Googly eyes (Or provide crayons for kids to draw in eyes, if they so desire)

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

What to do:
  1. Print off copies of a naked gingerbread man.  That's right, two holidays one cut-out!  You can cut the little dudes out or provide scissors for kids to cut their own.
  2. Have kids glue strips of white paper to form the mummy's bandages.
  3. Add googly eyes (I think it really brings the whole thing together, don't you?)
  4. Play "The Monster Mash" and have a spontaneous mummy-monster dance party.
As an aside, you can offer kids a construction paper background (half a sheet should do it) to glue down their mummies and color around them.  I left out crayons for a similar decoupage Alligator 'A' craft at my last storytime and was really impressed by how creative the kids got.  (Who would have thought to give an alligator eyelashes?  It was so cute!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fizz Boom Read in Review

From Kick-off to the last of the prizes, my first Summer Reading Club was certainly a memorable experience, thanks to my fabulous colleagues.  I supervised our teen volunteers for the summer, which was a unique experience, to say the least.  And the Bubble Lady put me in a bubble for her presentation--another first!