Friday, June 22, 2018

A Perfect Storytime

Today was continuation of the "Library Day" theme I've been doing all month, but my storytime today was one of those rare, amazing storytimes that is just perfect, where the kids are completely engaged the whole time, and love every story and song that you do.

This is a special group to start with, as it is the classroom where I first developed my storytime skills as a volunteer while I was working as a page at the library. At the time I was caught in a catch-22: I needed program experience to advance, but as a page I was not allowed to do programs at work. I was fortunate to find a volunteer opportunity at this nearby daycare, and after 9 months I finally got promoted to the position I currently hold. So in addition to being grateful, I've been working with this same classroom for about 4 years now. It's been a different group of kids each year, but the same teachers.

We started with our welcome song, then I introduced the theme by asking them if they remembered where I worked. It took a few guesses and additional prompting, but someone finally came up with the library. We talked about all the different things to do at the library, then sang our story song.

Library Day Storytime
I started with my favorite library-themed storytime book, Froggy Goes To The Library by Jonathon London and Frank Remkiewicz. Froggy is always well-liked by kids, and I like the humorous way this story teaches appropriate library behavior, and shows such exuberant enthusiasm for reading and storytime. The kids laugh at his forgetting to get dressed, ewwww at his breakfast of home flies and ketchup, and love joining in Froggy's silly song and dance, which we all did together.

Library Day storytimeAfter discussing using your inside voice in the library and how libraries are fairly quiet most of the time, I told them I knew a story about a day the library was NOT quiet at all, and let's find out why. 

Then we read Zachariah Ohora's The NOT So Quiet Library. Oskar and Theodore's quiet day at the library is interrupted by a gigantic 5-headed monster! They convince the monster that books aren't for eating, but then the monster wants to eat them instead! What will they do? Age-appropriate drama with a happy ending, and of course Ohora's wonderful illustrations (I just love his style!).

We followed that up with Laurie Berkner's "These Are My Glasses", which has proven to be popular with all the kids.

Library Day Storytime
Then we finished up with Brian Won's latest in his "Hooray!" series, Hooray for Books! I'll be honest, I don't think it's his best work, and don't find it as engaging as Hooray for Hat!, but the kids still seem to like it pretty well. 

Turtle can't find his favorite book. Did he loan it to one of his friends? One by one he asks the other animals until finally he finds the bottom of Lion's huge stack. Kids will like cheering "Hooray for books!" each time, and predicting where Turtle's book will turn up.

After that we sang our closing song and ended with passing out stickers.

How It Went

As I said, this turned out to be one of those rare, perfect storytimes. I'd like to think I always do a good job reading, but this time I felt like I absolutely nailed each book. And the kids were so engaged, seemingly hanging on every word, and I mean all of the kids! This is so rare, but particularly for this group who has been the most difficult class to keep engaged out of the four I've had here. They're good kids, but have always been a challenge and required the most engaging books, and even on a good day there's always lots of wiggling and getting distracted. But today, they were ALL quiet, still and listening! It was just amazing! They liked all of the books and the song, but I think The NOT So Quiet Library had them riveted in suspense.

While this was a wonderful storytime, it was also rather bittersweet. As I've said, this group has always been special, and after initially volunteering I was able to fold them into my outreach storytime program when I got my current position 3 years ago. But, now I'm about to transfer to the children's department in the suburban branch closest to my home, and I had planned on letting go of this storytime and letting my replacement in Outreach continue with it. However, after today I'm seriously having second thoughts and trying to think of some way to keep doing it at least once a month, even if I have to go back to doing it on my own time as a volunteer, especially since at least initially my new job will only have 1 family (mostly toddlers) storytime a month.

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