Saturday, March 31, 2012

Storytime Basics-- Toddlers

I've started doing a weekly storytime for toddlers (ages 12-23 months.) This isn't a new program for the library, but it's a new program for me. I used to do this a few years ago, but the program's evolved so much since then (for the better) that it's an entirely new thing for me.

Toddler time is a bridge between the baby storytime and our preschool storytimes, but it has much more in common with the baby program. It's still designed as a partial lapsit (toddlers don't sit still for very long) and it's still rhmye-heavy, but it goes for 25-30 minutes. Because they don't sit still for very long, I only do rhymes that have action, bounce, or tickle.

Like all of our programs, it's a drop-in. Amazingly, this is one of our most popular programs-- we often "sell out" and even have to occasionally turn people away. :(

As this is a new program, I'm still tweaking it. As of now, this is how the basic structure goes:

Welcome spiel:

Good morning everyone! For those of you who don't know me, my name is Miss Jennie and I'm one of the children's librarians here at Oxon Hill and this is my monster baby, Jack. [note: Jack is a stuffed Wild Thing from Where the Wild Things Are] Now, the thing to know about monster babies is they weigh a lot less than people babies, so I can lift Jack way above my head and not hurt my lower back. I have a hard time doing that with a person baby. Monster babies are also ok when they land on their heads. Most people babies are not. I do my actions really large so everyone can see, but do whatever works for you and your child.

Sing the Welcome Song

it's to the tune of "Happy Birthday" and goes

Good morning to X
Good morning to X
We're glad that you're here
Good morning to X

We go around the room and sing it to each child. Because this is a popular program, sometimes we sing it like

Good morning to X
Good morning to Y
We're glad that you're here
Good morning to Z.

That way everyone gets a special hello, but there's still time left to read some stories.

Way Up in the Sky
2-3 Action rhymes
Pease Porridge Hot
Hickory Dickory Dock

Read 1st book

For the first book, I do a board book that I can get several copies of so we all have a copy and can read together.

2-3 Action rhymes

Read 2nd Book

For the second book, I do a short picture book that's not in board form. Only I get a copy (although I have extra copies in case people want to check it out afterwards!)

2-3 Action rhymes
This is the Way the Ladies Ride

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi

Each child has a maraca to shake as we sing and dance along.

Read 3rd Book

Like the first book, the third book is one where I have several copies so we can read it together.

Patty Cake
Every Little Cell

Sing the goodbye song. It's a mirror of the welcome song and is also to the tune of "Happy Birthday"

Goodbye to X
Goodbye to X
We're glad you came
Goodbye to X.

We go around the room and sing it to each child. If it's crowded or we're running late or people are getting fussy, we will sing

Goodbye to X
Goodbye to Y
We're glad that you came
Goodbye to Z.

For the first and third books, I do board books and I have enough copies so that every child + caregiver has a copy to read together and then I model interactive reading as we read the book out loud together. If there's an older sibling, I give them their own copy to read along with.

I'm able to have enough copies because we're a large library system and I can borrow copies from other branches.

Some rhymes change every week, but once I introduce a "new" rhyme, I tend to use it at least a few weeks in a row. Every rhyme (except for the longer ones) is done twice. I like to change rhymes so that the parents are exposed to a variety of ones to try. Also, as this program is aimed at the parents, a little variety is good so they keep coming back. I also change the books so that they are introduced to a wide variety of titles, authors, and illustrators.

The rhymes that I do every week are just personal favorites that tend to go over very well. "Hickory Dickory Dock" is one that I do for all my story times! The actions work well for parent and child, but also just for a child to do by his/herself. I started doing this one when I had children start to age up through different programs and it was one familiar to them when they hit a new setting and format.

I also have a "demonstration baby" (a newborn sized stuffed animal of one of the Wild Things) so I can model rhymes, actions, and reading.

I have a hand-out that lists all the books we read, songs we sang, and the words for all the rhymes (with action cues) that I hand out after the program is done so parents can play along at home. They are also free to check out the books we read, and most do.

Also, after every program, I wipe down the maracas with anti-septic wipes.


1 comment:

  1. I am suddenly internalizing the reality that I have agreed to do toddler storytime starting in the fall - and not just any toddler storytime, but a storytime that is currently being done by our beloved-to-the-point-of-cult-figure woman from the school district. and I haven't worked consistently with toddlers for...six years? I am clinging to your outline and hope it works magic for me!

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