Date presented: Wednesday, June 10, 2015
I have been planning toddler story times for our librarian since about a month after I started. But, because our toddler story time is usually on Monday mornings (I work Monday nights), I haven’t been the one presenting the story times. However, in the summer we have field trips from a local group at the rec center. To accommodate this group, our toddler story time gets moved to Wednesdays. So, for the summer at least, I am taking over presenting toddler story times as well. For our first week of summer reading, we did our story time on superheroes!
Since the toddler families are not as familiar with me, I started off story time by introducing myself to them. However, we don’t really have a set of rules or information that we give before our story time, so my introduction is pretty short and basically includes my name and who I am.
We start every story time with the same welcome song: This is the welcome song that has been in place at our library for several years, so it is the one that I inherited. The parents and children are familiar with it and it is easy for newcomers to pick up, so we have decided for the foreseeable future not to change the welcome song at all.
Welcome, Everyone (Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
Welcome, welcome, everyone.
Now we’re here, let’s have some fun.
First we’ll clap our hands just so.
Then we’ll reach and touch our toes.
Welcome, welcome, everyone
Now we’re here, let’s have some fun!
Credit: Adapted from Public Library Program Ideas
Letter of the Day
Each week, we have a Letter of the Day that we highlight. We have laminated letter cards that we flip over when we show the letter, as well as a set that shows sign language letters. For summer reading, I created a superhero alphabet set using a great graphic that I found on Pinterest to create replace our normal letter set. I introduced our topic (and the summer reading theme) before introducing our letter for this week. When I introduced S for Superhero, the parents helped by making the S sound. I also show the kids how to make an S in sign language as part of our letter of the day as well.
My library received a grant that gave us 7 iPads. As a result, my director has asked me to work on incorporating more technology into story times and programming. Since we weren’t sure how the parents would respond to iPads in story time, we decided to start with something simple. I downloaded the StoryBots Learning Videos app (you can also find the videos online on the StoryBots website), which includes adorable videos with little robots singing about concepts. I had originally only downloaded the ABC Videos app, but I switched to this one since it also includes colors, numbers, shapes, and more that I hope to integrate in the future. Anyway, for this week, we showed the video “Say Yes to S” to highlight our letter of the day. The reaction was mixed – the kids seemed to enjoy the song (and some danced along), but they were not particularly interested in viewing the iPad. I think this is a combination of a new person AND new technology in the same week, so we agreed to give this another chance in future story times.
Our first book today was Do Superheroes Have Teddy Bears? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle. This is a book that we ordered especially with summer reading in mind, and it is adorable! The rhyming text is easy to read, but this book ended up being a little bit long for the group that I had.
After each book, we like to do some kind of rhyme or activity to get the kids up and moving and engaged in the story time. Since this group was not particularly active yet, I decided to move songs around from my original outline and went with S-U-P-E-R, which is basically spelling super to the tune of B-I-N-G-O. We had our superhero alphabet cards on the felt board so we could point to the letters while we sang.
There was a hero that saved the day
And Super was his name-o
And Super was his name-o.
Source: Adapted by Julie Dietzel-Glair in the CSLP Early Literacy Manual.
We sang this through twice (without removing any of the letters) before we moved on to our next activity.
At this point in the outline, I had planned to use the “Ready for Action” flannel board that I made (adapted from the CSLP Children’s Manual). I created boy and girl superheroes to dress (a future Flannel Friday post, I promise!), but I only planned to use one with this group given their attention span. However, since the group was overall fussy and having a hard time adapting to me, I decided to forgo this one for this week and move on.
After the flannel story, I had planned on doing a second song to encourage some movement. The original plan called for “Hero Pokey” from the CSLP Early Literacy Manual. Since we skipped the flannel story (and also because my group was not into singing our other song, either), we skipped this one as well and went on to our next book.
Our second book was He Saves the Day by Marsha Hayles. It’s a cute story about a little boy who saves the day in his imagination…until he finds that sometimes he needs a little help from mom to save the day. I was hoping that the parents would help out more with the “He saves the day!” refrain, but this one ended up falling flat.
At this point, I decided it was best to move on to our next part of story time, which is our parachute activities and free play. Before we move from our story time corner to the meeting room, we always sing The More We Get Together from our CD. Then I invited all the kids and parents to come with me to play with the parachute and other toys.
Each week, we lay out the parachute and have the kids play with it before we move on to free play. My boss, who normally does toddler story time, uses the same outline every week for playing with the parachute. I wanted to keep the same elements that he did, but I also wanted to start introducing some new songs and rhymes for the concepts. Since I didn’t want to overwhelm the kids with new information at once, I decided to start by just replacing one concept with a new song. The result was this outline of parachute activities:
- ABC Song: We walk the parachute around in a circle while we sing our ABCs.
- Counting: We walk the parachute around in a circle (in the opposite direction) while we count to 10.
- Colors: We lay the parachute back on the ground, and then I call out colors for the kids to touch. We call out colors and give them a chance to run to that color until we have covered all four colors in the parachute.
- Up and Down: We raise and lower the parachute while talking about UP and DOWN. The kids also have the chance to run underneath the parachute while it “falls” on them.
While I was at the Texas Library Association conference this spring, I attended the Guerrilla Storytime workshop. While I was there, someone demonstrated the Elevator Song, so this week I replaced our up and down activity with that instead.
Oh, the city is great and the city is grand
There’s a lot of tall buildings on a little piece of land
And we live way up on the 57th floor
And this is what we do when we go out the door
We take the elevator up and the elevator down
Take the elevator up and the elevator down
Take the elevator up and the elevator down
And we turn around
Source: Kendra Jones at Read Sing Play: https://klmpeace.wordpress.com/rhymes-for-baby-and-toddler-storytimes/#59
The parents helped out on this one to keep our up and down going. I think it’s a fun song, so I’m hoping to keep it again in the future.
After we play with the parachute, we have three tubs of toddler toys that we bring out and let everyone run around the room and have free play. We close the doors to the meeting room so that no one escapes, and then we can also be noisier if we want. This is also when I tried to spend time one-on-one with some of the toddlers and parents so that they would feel more comfortable with me, and reminded everyone to sign up for the summer reading program.
How It Went:
I have to admit, I was very intimidated to do this story time. Since the kids were not used to me, and because I was nervous, it was not one of the best story times that I have had. However, I think it has potential to improve with some work. I’m hopeful that the group will start warming up to me in the next few weeks and we will have better sessions. In general, I found the books were too long for my group’s attention span, but again, this may have been due in part to so much change in one week. I’m looking forward to seeing how future sessions go!