Preschool Story Time: The Hero Inside Me

Story Time Archives

Date presented:  July 9, 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.

Introduction

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.  These story times were held in an open part of our children’s section, so they were visible throughout parts of the library and to anyone who was in the children’s department.

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 M for Me.

iPad Technology

During this summer, we had hoped to incorporate technology into story time with 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 “The Mighty M,” 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

Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom by John Rocco – I picked this book because it fit beautifully with the theme.  Superheroes within ourselves?  Exactly what I was going for with this outline.  And I absolutely love John Rocco’s illustrations.  I’m lucky enough to have a picture he drew at the Illustrator Sketch-Off at TLA one year that’s Super Hair-O of Texas.  But I digress.  As far as story time books go, this one was just okay for my audience.  They like the dramatic pacing when I read it, but they didn’t really make the connection of the internal hero.

Song/Rhyme/Activity

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

Image result for llama llama time to share

Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney – I picked this book because Llama Llama is such a classic character, and the books are fun and easy to read.  And, since many of my story time friends were either siblings or enrolled at least part time in a preschool program, sharing seemed like a good message.  Of the books that we shared, this one was probably the favorite.

Flannel Story

For this week, I went through some of our existing resources to see what we had that might work.  I found this set of Children of the World felt pieces, which we used for the song Ten Little Children.  If memory serves correctly, the song is included with the resource book for the flannel pieces.  As far as flannel stories go, this one was a bust.

Song/Rhyme/Activity

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 action rhyme “Let’s Move” as a way to get some of the wiggles out.

Let’s Move!

Hold your right hand high.

Hold your left hand high.

Shake your fingers and clap, clap, clap!

Stretch your right arm out.

Stretch your left arm out.

Take a little hop and turn once about.

Bend and touch your toes,

Then stretch up to the sky.

Like a little bird spread your wings and fly!

On your right foot, hop.

On your left foot, hop.

Jump with both feet…then it’s time…to…STOP!

Credit:  Adapted by Amanda Struckmeyer in the 2015 Collaborative Summer Library Program Early Literacy Manual

3rd Book

Image result for llama llama and the bully goat

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney – Because one Llama Llama story isn’t enough!  I thought since Llama Llama was generally well received, a second Llama Llama book would work well with the audience.  The response was mixed – some were excited to see Llama Llama back again, but some found it repetitive.  Unlike the previous title, the concept of bullies was a little more abstract for this group and they weren’t as interested.

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.

Craft

For this week, I thought that a friendship rainbow chain would be a cute and simple craft.  I got the idea from Kindergarten-Lessons.com.  I used a diecut that we had in the building of a little boy and girl holding hands, and gave each child a rainbow of choices to string together.  We decorated the faces on each of the children.  Overall, it was a pretty simple craft, although the hands on the children were a little too small and flimsy for more enthusiastic glue users.

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 “Me” works as a theme that I’ve since used, but the good citizenship/hero aspect was a little abstract.  Elements of this story time have appeared in “All About Me” and “Friends” story times that I’ve done, which have been more successful.  In terms of character repetition, I’ve since found that repeating the character from one week to the next, instead of within the same story time, is a more successful strategy.

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