|Our story room!|
Our Spring Storytime Series ran from the week of February 21 through the week of April 18, taking a week off for Spring Break when many of our families go out of town. To compensate for eliminating the drop-in storytime, we offered an 8-week session (up from a 6-week session in the fall) and we offered five different time slots (up from 4 in the fall). Honestly, I don't think that this made a big difference and I think we'll go back to 6 weeks in the fall. Or possibly 8 weeks in the fall and 6 weeks in the spring to give us a little more Summer Reading Club prep time.
We offered the following time slots and families were asked to sign up for one class time and attend every week (as they are able):
- Mondays at 11:00am
- Tuesdays at 7:00pm
- Wednesdays at 1:00pm
- Thursdays at 11:00am
- Thursdays at 2:00pm.
We limit sign-up to 25 children per class and usually one or two class times fill up. We almost never have all 25 children show up at the same time, though, so we always welcome guests. We are very flexible about letting in siblings and letting in other children as long as we have the space for it. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to come in, but they may send their child in alone as long as he/she is comfortable with that. Most of our parents come in.
There are five of us in my department that do programming, so we each took one time slot. We planned the themes out in advance and divided up the planning with each of us planning one or two weeks. The person in charge of planning a week picks out books and materials for storytime, trying to choose a variety of materials since every group will be different and every storyteller's style will be different. That person also chooses and preps a take-home craft.
In each craft packet, we include all the supplies to do the craft (minus staples like glue, scissors, crayons, etc.), instructions, and a sheet with a topical book list on one side and ideas for at-home activities on the other side. After we determine the themes for each week, I put together the handouts and it really doesn't take too long to bang them out.
I used the same opening and closing songs each week, which worked well. For opening, I used Raffi's "Shake Your Sillies Out", which was fine but the range is a little too low for me to sing easily, so I'm in the market for a different song for next time. For the closing song, I used "Do You Know What Time It Is?" I like using that one because we use it in our Mother Goose on the Loose and Toddler Time programs, so that provides some continuity. Here's the song:
Do You Know What Time It Is?
(Sung to the tune of "Do You Know the Muffin Man?")
Do you know what time it is? [tap wrist]
What time it is? What time it is?
Do you know what time it is?
Storytime is over!
Now's the time to wave goodbye... [wave hands]
Now's the time to stand up tall... [stand up]
But come back to see us soon [clap on beat]
See us soon, see us soon
But come back to see us soon
When the fun will start again!
I used the Memory Box every week, which went very well, although I don't think any of the kids actually learned the memory box rhyme that I said with them every week. And I don't think we planned it this way, but I believe that every week we had some variation on an activity asking kids to bring felt pieces to the board or have pieces to come up and put in a box. I like the continuity that this gives (and also it's something familiar because we do it with our Toddler Time programs, too).
Next time, I'd like to incorporate more music and possibly bring out the bells each week. I'd like to make a more conscious effort to have a felt board or item/box activity and come up with a rhyme or song for it each week. And I'd like to put more thought into my own storytime themes, so I am open to your favorite storytime themes!!
So, here are my questions for you librarians:
- What are your favorite storytime themes or readalouds?
- What have you tried with your storytime that's really worked well?
- What (if any) activities do you repeat weekly?
- What's your favorite opening song?