“Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.” So begins Little House in the Big Woods, the first book in an autobiographical series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder about growing up in 1800’s American. 150 years later, the Little House stories and activities are still wildly popular. And what better way to celebrate Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Birthday than to have a party at the public library as one of our Family Super Saturday events?
In the mood for a Dr. Seuss Storytime! Me too! With Read Across America Day coming up, why not celebrate!
It can be hard to find Seuss books that are short enough for a Storytime crowd. In the end, I chose:
Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Hop on Pop ( I read pages 1-31, ending with, “No Pat No, Don’t Sit on That!”)
Green Eggs and Ham (I read pages 1-25 and then skipped to page 49 and read till the end.)
My Many Colored Days
How it went:
Sometimes, the easiest Passive Programs are the best. In February, we just left out a craft station with some paper, pink hearts cut from our die-cut machine, crayons, and some glue sticks. Kids LOVED this station! So easy, so simple, and so very sweet when they even thought to give the librarian at the desk a Valentine!
2nd Week of February Storytime
The Hat: Week 1
If You’ll be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
The Hat by Jan Brett
Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman (We did not get to this book this week)
This Wednesday I woke up with a sick stomach and only about five hours of sleep. It was a Storytime morning, so I immediately went into, “What are we going to do if I cannot make it into the library?” mode. We do not have a staff person set up to take over Storytime if I am not there on Wednesdays, so if I do not come in, Storytime would not happen. I have a very wonderful director, and after a few texts, she told me stay home. My director has respect for me, the Children’s department, and what Storytime means for our library as a whole, not just a single program. And, I am incredibly thankful to work with her, both as our director, and as a person. I ended up being able to pull myself together (I knew that I was not suffering from anything that would be contagious), and went into Storytime anyway. The kids and parents had a great time, but the experience prompted me to post a question of the Storytime Underground Facebook page asking my colleagues how they handle a similar situations. 56 librarians responded. Missing a Storytime, as I read, is something that we all worry about. It can mean losing momentum with our programming numbers, and other consequences. Yet, some of the solutions and proactive plans that I read made me want to share my colleague’s wisdom.
To summarize the 66 comments, here is some of the best advise that my fellow children librarians shared:
The Mitten: Week 4
In the Snow by Sharon Phillips Denslow
Clifford’s First Snow Day by Norman Bridwell
The Mitten by Jan Brett (to hold up)
This is our final week for the telling of the tale, “The Mitten”! I think that having one consistent story for a whole month helps the Storytime kids gain knowledge and experience with stories through review, and it also shows the parents how a simple story can be retold and enjoyed in different ways. It is also a way for the kids to be more active in the telling of the story, and I can layer in actions and repeat-after-me-phrases that I could not do if I was sharing new stories all the time. I also like to bring some theater in the form of play for the final week in the telling of the story, and this week we used masks that Jan Brett made available on her website for our props that each child was able to hold for our final telling of the story! Thank you Lynette, one of university interns, who made printed, laminated, and cut the masks out for us! We did not glue sticks on the back of the masks. I think sticks can make homemade masks harder for little hands to hold.
The benefits of play time for children has been long researched, observed, and promoted by educators, doctors, teachers, and librarians. Written in 2012, this article, “The Importance of Play, Particularly Constructive Play, in Public Library” written by Sue McCleaf Nespeca and published by the American Library Association is an excellent resource for making the case for the importance of play.
Play is even one of the five “magic” words in early child literacy (Write, Talk, Read, Sing, and Play) that we promote in our Storytimes and early literacy education. However, it can be one of the more difficult ones to bring out in the library in our regular Storytime (and similar program) sessions. So how we do add more play time to our library programming? I believe that children’s programs work best when they work as family programs that bring the family together, and families together. To that end, how can Play Time not only promote early literacy, healthy social skills, but also build relationships between child parents and caregivers at the same time?
Have older students coming to your public library, and you want to do something more memorable than simply giving them a tour and some reading time? Would you like a fun, 30 minute program that would have your students racing to every section of the library, and learning lessons about where resources in your library are located in the process? Would you like to do all this, for no money needed? Well, I have the program for you! Introducing “Murder at the Public Library! Oh My!”