Look who’s back…

Helloooo! Is there anybody out there? I am back from a long hiatus! I moved jobs and it has taken a bit for the dust to settle. I apologize for my super long absence from blogging. I will try to not let it happen again. I changed jobs in the absolute middle of Summer Reading so things were a bit crazy. I am not sure I would ever recommend doing this… I guess there’s no harm in jumping in head first, eh? It’s all over now so I’ve been able to get my head on straight and have finally been able to sit down after a few weeks of running around totally crazy.

So, things have changed for me storytime-wise. I am now doing four storytimes a week, three of them are local preschools/daycares that come to the library and the other is an evening storytime for folks in the neighborhood. I am still going to plan one storytime per week and just run it three four separate times. So, when I discuss it in the blog, I will tell you about the books and any extras that are necessary to discuss then I will tell you what the kids thought.

The other HUGE difference is the preschools and daycares come for an HOUR so my storytimes are much, much longer. These groups are walking dozens of small children long distances so we are making it worth their while and having a long program for them. I know everyone has an opinion about appropriate length for storytime. I, myself think about 25-30 minutes is the sweet spot, but this is something out of my control. As a result these programs are very fingerplay, flannel board and movement heavy. I still read 3-4 books but that happens towards the beginning since the groups are generally less antsy at the beginning and can sit still then. After that we are getting up and moving a lot more.

Working at a new library always brings new colleagues to learn from and this place is no exception. The person I work with most closely is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fingerplays, so that’s been a huge help.

Finally, the last thing that has changed is I am not doing any crafts – for the time being. My preschool/daycare groups are all much too large and we don’t really have the space supplies. There also aren’t quite enough adults around to help. Each group has at least 45 children so it’s a little intimidating. I do want to get a craft started with my nighttime group, because that is generally much smaller. Eventually, I do want to start doing some crafts with the larger groups because frankly speaking I think it would be helpful for them and also a great use of that hour. Hopefully I can get this started soon!

It’s all a work in progress. Does anyone have any advice? I have been re-reading Storytime Katie’s blog entries because I know she is doing similar things. You will even notice she has inspired my first few weeks of planning on my own at this job.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. My groups are certainly not that large, but my Preschool Interactive program is loooong, at least 30 minutes of stories, movement, songs, etc. and then a process-oriented art project. I think process art is easier than a craft because it’s much more open ended and less instruction is involved. Of course, they tend to be messier too though…

    Here’s my storytime plans, feel free to borrow, use as is, or adapt. Note that they’re under construction though. https://sites.google.com/site/jllprogrammingresources/

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  2. Posted by Becky on August 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I have one storytime that has multi daycares (high kid to adult ratio). You can do some really simple crafts, I have found glue sticks work better than glue. Also things that can be quickly copied off when extra numbers attend vs. high prep. I do simple things like for one storytime we glue tissue paper on to cut out of fish then for the daycare storytime I have them color with markers a copy of fish outline. Not as much fun/cute but much more do able.

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  3. Posted by rachel on August 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I do hour-long storytimes with large groups (usually 40-70 kids). Most of our kids come with preschool or day care groups, so the adult-child ratio and space are always a factor for me when planning crafts. I only do crafts that involve crayons and/or glue sticks. No scissors, no liquid glue, no glitter. Some days the craft just ends up being a bunch of different construction paper shapes for them to glue onto a big piece of paper in whatever design they like. Or a headband that they color in to their liking before having a grownup help them staple it to their head size. I use the tables in our library’s community room, only place them on the floor with the legs still folded under, so the kids sit right on the floor criss-cross applesauce and do their crafts on the table in front of them.

    The other idea I’ve been considering is doing one big art project with the kids, rather than individual crafts. I was thinking of putting up some butcher paper on the wall and putting out different materials for the kids to make a mural, or all trace their hands, or whatever.

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  4. I don’t generally have THAT large of a group, but mine are an hour long. (3-5s.) I usually read about 3 books, then we do a craft. For bigger groups, getting them up doing fingerplays or other things that make them stand up and move around can help shake off the restlessness. Good luck!

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  5. When preschools come visit us, we don’t provide that long of a program for them (usually 25-30 minutes), but we do invite them to hang out and play/look at books in our department for as long as they’d like after storytime. We have foam blocks, puzzles, a magnet board, Legos, and AWE computers in our children’s room. But with such large groups, that might not be feasible (our groups are usually 15-20 kids). We also extend some of our younger storytimes by putting on some music, bringing out a bucket of toys and just letting the kids play for 15 minutes or so in the storytime room (again, with such a large group, that might not be feasible!).

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  6. Posted by Christin on September 6, 2011 at 1:24 am

    We do a lot of songs by “Dr. Jean” (Dr. Jean Feldman) and Greg & Steve. The songs are silly and fun, but I choose songs that will enhance/help develop pre-reading skills. We sing the alphabet forward and backward, do movement songs that have the kids moving to the left and right, songs that include lots of rhyming, alliteration, etc. and even nursery rhyme songs (many kids don’t know these anymore!). They’re active and engaged during these songs, and they play a big part in their love of books and reading! Combined with practicing motor skills, using visual aids (even books), and repetition each week, our time with music enhances our story time and allows us to keep the kids engaged for an hour!

    Reply

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