Storytime Planning

21 Dec

Our storytime schedule runs in 6-week sessions, 4 times a year, which allows me time to make changes, adapt, renovate, and change things that aren’t working.  Our winter session begins at the end of January which means I decided to start thinking about themes, no themes, books, activities, songs and everything else now.  Right before my holiday vacation.  That being said, I’ve got some great ideas and would love to share how I go about planning my storytimes.

I start with theme – I’ve done sessions with themes, without themes and times when I’ve mixed some weeks of themes with other weeks of just really great books.  This seems to be a personal choice, I know librarians who do both and it really depends on what you like.  I tend to like a little more structure, which helps me find the books I want to share.  So for this next session, I’ve thought up my themes by checking other storytime blogs, library websites and thinking about upcoming seasons and holidays.  For this session, I’ll be doing:

  1. Snow
  2. Winter Animals
  3. Winter Clothing
  4. The Color Red (for Chinese New Year & Valentine’s Day)
  5. Cookies
  6. Dinosaurs

I try and make sure to choose themes that will be well-liked across the group of kids I work with – when in doubt, dinosaurs and things-that-go are always really popular.  I also tend to lean toward more “boy” books and themes than “girl” books.

Once I’ve chosen my themes, I then start collecting books.  I’m pretty sure some parents think that I just grab three random books off the shelf, five minuets before storytime happens.  But, in reality I go through at least 5-8 books per theme to chose the best read alouds for a large group of kids (usually toddlers).

After I chose my books, it’s then on to flannelboards, extension activities and songs.  I try and tie these activities into my theme, but it doesn’t always works well.  And again, when in doubt – blow bubbles!

And then I type up my plans, of which I rarely use in storytime, but they’re always great to have if you mind goes blank!  I also like having them as a reference for storytimes in the future and as a great reader’s advisory tool, especially for preschool teachers working on themes.

That’s pretty much how it goes down and then I hope that by the time storytime has started, my books are in, my flannelboards are created and I can remember *most* of the words to any new songs.  How do you plan your storytimes?

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2 Responses to “Storytime Planning”

  1. Dawn Poses Guest December 21, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    I am barely eight weeks into my first “story time” circuit and it’s been a huge learning curve. I don’t really feel I’ve got it all down pat just yet and struggle with memorizing songs and just being able to stretch my story time’s to 30 minutes! I’m learning though to keep it simple and repeat same songs for a few story times and add in one new song each week until I learn them. I appreciate reading your blog so much because I realize the problems I’ve had can be turned into good learning experiences and now I am going to knock out a few weeks of planning at a time so I’m not as frazzled every single week. Thank you for sharing your ideas and creativity!

    • literacious December 21, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

      Dawn, I’ve been doing storytime for almost eight! years now and I still have weeks where the kids leave and I’m left sitting on the floor of programming room, thinking, “What the heck just happened?!?!?!” And planning in advance makes my life so much easier when storytime comes around, I just have to grab my materials, review my books and songs one last time and I’m ready to go! Just remember, if you’re having fun, your families probably are too!

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