Preschool Story Time: Family Heroes

Story Time Archives

Date presented:  Thursday, July 2, 2015

This story time was based on the theme suggestions from the 2015 CSLP Summer Reading Manual.  My goal was to have eight weeks of programming based on the theme:  “Every Hero Has a Story.”  To be honest, not all of those themes turned out to be great ideas.  Combined with the fact that these were some of the first story times I did, and we didn’t have much in the way of structure, well…let’s just say that you may have to be forgiving of some of the elements.  But, one of my goals for blogging about my story times is to include the good and the bad, so that hopefully others will learn, too.


When I presented this story time, I didn’t have much of an introduction set up.  Since the parents tended to be running late, I would spend the first five minutes or so talking to the kids and parents as they came in, and sometimes teasing what we were doing in story time that week.

Welcome Song

We used the same welcome song in preschool story time each week.  It was taught to me by my boss when I took over story time as the welcome song that families were used to, and I kept it as part of my story times.

Welcome, Everyone (Tune:  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

Welcome, welcome, everyone.

Now you’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 you’re here – let’s have some fun.

Credit:  Adapted from Public Library Program Ideas

Letter of the Day

Each week, we had a Letter of the Day for story time.  For preschool  groups, I gave an introduction to the topic that we were going to do, and a hint about the important word or words before asking them to guess the letter.  Some weeks the kids could guess the letter on the first try, and some weeks we spent a little more time trying to figure out what the letter might be.  We showed two cards:  one that showed the letter of the week, and one that showed how to make the letter in sign language.  This week was F for Family.

iPad Technology

During this summer, we had hoped to incorporate technology into story time wiht our iPads.  When I was planning, I picked a Storybots ABC video for each week that corresponded with the letter of the week.  This plan should have included the video “F is Fun,” but after trying this in one or two story times, I determined that our setup didn’t really allow it to work.  The screen on the iPad was too small for most of the audience to see (we didn’t have a way to project it), and honestly, the parents and kids alike were confused by why we were doing it.  So, this technology ended up dropped out of the outlines.

Story Box

This summer I introduced something a little different for my preschool story times.  Instead of having the books and activities in a particular order, which is how I normally do story time, I wanted to make it more interactive.  So, I created Ms. Jaime’s Story Box, a wooden box that contained everything I needed for story time.  I would include the books that I planned to read, as well as any flannel stories I wanted to share, and wooden music notes to represent songs.  The goal was for children to pick something out of the box to start the story time, and then pick another element once we’ve finished the first.  I don’t remember now the order that we shared things in (the hazards of not blogging about story time when it happens), but overall, it got to be part of story time that the kids were really excited about.  It was sometimes crazy, and our story time was sometimes disjointed, but it was a lot of fun.  For the purposes of blogging, though, I’ll just list the books and elements in the order that I planned them.

1st Book

Flip, Flap, Fly! by Phyllis Root – I picked this book because I just love the illustrations in it.  Seriously, the pages are absolutely gorgeous, and the rhyming text makes it such a great read for story time.  I love the anticipation of what the little bird will see next, and the hesitation that you can add while reading to see if the audience will help you “read” the story.


Our “Clap Your Hands” song was a staple for story time each week, and usually happened sometime after our first book as a transition to our next element.  Since the kids were usually excited about pulling out a book or a flannel story, the music notes didn’t really get selected as often.  As the weeks went on, I prompted them for when we would share a song, which let us work music in a little more regularly.  This is another song that I inherited from the previous children’s librarian, but it was such a hit with our groups that it was impossible not to include it each week.

Clap Your Hands

Clap, clap, clap your hands,

Clap your hands together.

Clap, clap, clap your hands,

Clap your hands together.

Clap a little faster now,

Clap along with me.

Clap a little slower now,

Clap along with me.

Continue with:  nod your head, shake your heads, stomp your feet, and (sometimes) shake your hands.

Credit:  Adapted from KIDiddles

2nd Book

One Hundred is a Family by Pam Muñoz Ryan – I picked this book because it showed a variety of families, and I wanted something that would appeal to the different types of family dynamics that might be present in my story time.  However, the book fell a little flat with the audience.  They weren’t interested in counting, and most of the concepts depicted didn’t really make sense to them.

Flannel Story

For this week, I had two flannel stories created:  Mommy’s Dresses and Daddy’s Ties.  Both are variations on the song “Mary Wore Her Red Dress,” and practice basic color concepts.  My thought was that we should have something to represent both the mommies and daddies of the families, so I created pieces for both.  Unfortunately, my dresses are apparently not up to preschool standards, since they were convinced that Mommy’s dresses were actually Daddy’s tank tops.  But, in terms of simplicity and color identification, they were a hit easily customized to the number of children in story time who wanted to participate.


I always included a second song or rhyme in my outlines for this group, although I very rarely included them in the story time session.  For this theme, I chose the simple fingerplay “Where is the Family?”  It uses the familiar song “Where Is Thumbkin?” to name the different family members on each finger.

Where Is the Family?  (Tune:  Where Is Thumbkin?)

Where is daddy, where is daddy?

Here I am, here I am!  (Hold thumbs up.)

How are you today, sir?

Very well, I thank you!  (Bend thumbs as if they are interacting with each other.)

Run away, run away!  (Hide hands behind your back.)

Continue with the rest of your fingers for the other verses:  mommy (pointer finger), brother (middle finger), sister (ring finger), baby (pinkie), and the family (whole hand).

Credit:  Adapted by Julie Dietzel-Glair in the 2015 Collaborative Summer Library Program Early Literacy Manual

3rd Book

What Sisters Do Best/What Brothers Do Best by Laura Numeroff – I love Laura Numeroff’s books, and this one felt like the perfect fit for story time.  Our previous stories had talked about babies growing up and the different types of families, and our flannel stories got mommies and daddies, so I wanted something that covered siblings as well, especially since several of our regular families included siblings attending together.  This book is beautiful and simple, so the kids were able to relate to it and stayed intrigued in the story.  They loved the idea of a flip book, too – two books are always better than one!  The only hiccup with this one was that they were disappointed that the text was exactly the same in both stories.

Goodbye Song

We ended story time with our goodbye song, which is always the same each week.  We always sang “The More We Get Together” from the Baby Love Song Time CD.  The response varied from week to week.


For this week, I thought that making our own family trees would be a really cute craft.  On paper, this seemed like a really great idea.  I found an adorable 3-D family tree craft, and cut a bunch of trees and leaves out from simple templates ahead of time.  In practice, however, this craft was an epic failure.  Even though I made the trees out of construction paper, they weren’t sturdy enough to stand on their own (cardstock might have worked better).  The kids had fun gluing on the leaves, but they didn’t really understand the concept of adding the different members of their family to their tree.  Most of them ended up bored with the activity, and the parents ended up doing most of the crafting.

How It Went

Unfortunately, I did this outline before I started keeping really detailed story time notes, so I don’t have any details about specific reactions or attendance for the week.  Overall, this theme wasn’t a complete failure, but I would definitely make modifications before using this outline again.  The idea of families makes a great story time theme, and the kids did seem to enjoy talking about their families.  I’ve done the family theme with preschool since, using different books, and it’s been more successful than this outline was.  I’d count this one as a learning experience in picking better materials to relate to the audience.


1 Comment

Filed under Preschool Story Time

One response to “Preschool Story Time: Family Heroes

  1. Pingback: Preschool Story Time: July Themes | Miss Jaime's Library Journeys

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