Basics of Storytime

Kids who frequent storytime at most libraries are typically between the ages of 3 and 5, though it is also common for libraries to offer baby and toddler storytimes.  These are crucial years for building vocabulary and literacy, but kids at these ages just can’t sit still for a story for fifteen minutes.

That’s why its important to have a mix of stories and stretchers (songs, fingerplays, dances, felt stories, etc.) at any storytime.  One great thing about doing stretchers is that it gives the kids a break from having to focus on the stories.  It also gives them the chance to get up and move around.  Once the kids shake out their wiggles, they are ready to listen to the next story.  But songs, felts, and fingerplays serve another purpose, too.  They help kids make connections to the text and build vocabulary.  Songs slow words down, which often helps kids to understand them better.  In addition, props give kids visual clues to decode meaning.

I start by welcoming the kids and asking them to keep their eyes forward and their ears open.  I also let teachers know they are welcome to participate in our activities.  Then I move right into my hello song.  For a basic storytime, I use four books and four stretchers, but that changes depending on age.  Younger kids typically need fewer books and more stretchers.  My plan may also vary depending on the needs of the students.  Finally, I end with a matching goodbye song.

Please visit the Themes tab for a complete list of my storytime plans.


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