Monday, March 28, 2016

Preschool Storytime: Mail

This was SUCH a fun storytime! The kids were into the books, the activities were really fun, and we had a great time. Since our schools are on Spring Break this week, I was not sure how attendance would be, but we ended up with a great crowd and they were just really into everything. Here's what we did:

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Opening Activity: Mail call! Today, I introduced our topic via some mail. I showed the kids the giant letter they had gotten (addressed to them) and we went over each part of the address (name, library name, street address, city, state, zip code). Then I opened up the envelope and read the letter to them. (Source: Youth Services Shout-Out post by Amanda Struckmeyer)

Book: Delivering Your Mail by Ann Owen (Picture Window Books, 2003). This is a simply and straightforward introduction to mail carriers and it talks about what they do and how they deliver the mail. Several of the kids chimed in that they know their mail carrier or they have seen a mail truck driving around their neighborhood. Children are curious about their world, so I love to read books that explain something that is familiar to them. I bet kids were anxious to help check the mail that evening!

Book: Mule Train Mail by Craig Brown (Charlesbridge, 2009). Expanding on what we had just talked about, this book tells the true story of Anthony Paya, the mail carrier to the village of Supai on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona. This village at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is the only place still getting mail delivered by mule train. The text is too long for preschoolers, so I paraphrased some pages and skipped a few pages to make it shorter. Before I started reading the text of the book, I read a little bit from the author's note in the back to introduce it and so that kids and parents would know that this is a true story.

Felt: Six Little Valentines. We got this one from Storytime Katie, of course. The kids loved it! We talked about rhyming words as we read the Valentines and it's a great introduction to the parts of a letter (stamp, address, opening up an envelope).

Stretch: We had been sitting for a long time at this point, so we got up and did one of my favorite wiggle songs: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I like to stretch this song out by first asking kids to find some of the body parts mentioned in the song to "test" them ("Where are your... knees? Where are your... toes?" etc.). Then we sing the song at a normal/slow speed. Then we sing it again faster. Then we sing it SUPERFAST, which always ends in lots of giggling.

Book: Hi! by Ann Scott (Puffin, 1994). In this book, little Margarita and her mother visit the post office to mail a package and Margarita wants to wave hi to everyone, but no one pays her any attention. This book not only introduces kids to what a post office looks like and what people go there to do (mail letters, post cards, packages, etc.), but we talked about Margarita's expressions and feelings. How does she feel when no one will wave back to her? How does she feel at the end when the lady at the post office counter is friendly to her? Talking about feelings helps children expand their vocabulary and prepares them to feel and express empathy.

Activity: Mail carrier letter game. I took this one from Ms. A who does our Reading Rockstars storytime for beginning readers. Each week, she puts letters into envelopes and passes them out and then the kids do a song with them and a game identifying words that start with that letter. First, the kids hold up the letters and we sing our song:

(Tune: Do You Know the Muffin Man?)
Oh, have you seen the letter M
The letter M, the letter M
Oh, have you seen the letter M?
It makes the sound muh-muh-muh

Oh, yes I've seen the letter M
The letter M, the letter M
Oh, yes I've seen the letter M
It makes the sound muh-muh-muh

Then I say words and if they start with "M", kids hold their Ms up in the air. If the word does NOT start with "M', kids put their Ms down on their lap. This can go as long or as short as you want, but I did about 6-7 words, really emphasizing the starting letter sounds.

After we were done, I asked the kids to put their letters back in the envelopes and bring their envelope up to put it in the mail basket.

This is a great activity for practicing making and listening for letter sounds. It's a game, which makes it fun for the kids, but it's also a great way to insert some new vocabulary and to help children hear the smaller sounds in words.

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is?

Activity Stations: 

  • Write a letter! I put out paper (plain and I found some graph paper that I thought would be fun), pencils, crayons, and envelopes (I found these rainbow ones in a cabinet, but plain would also be fine!) so kids could draw a picture or write a letter and send their own mail. This is a great activity to insert some writing into your storytime. 
  • Blocks
  • Alphabet puzzle 
  • Alphabet letter matching games 
Additional resources: