Preschool & Family Storytimes

My library offers storytimes two mornings a week at the library for ages 3-5 (preschool) and their caregivers. During the summer we expand the age of the storytime audience to ages 3-7 (family). Siblings are welcome.

My storytimes are play-based early literacy programs which last about one hour. Stories, songs, rhymes, and movement are intentionally chosen to strengthen the six early literacy skills: phonological awareness, letter knowledge, narrative skills, vocabulary, print motivation and print awareness. We sing, read, play, talk, and write to build those skills, modeling practices families can repeat at home. I incorporate STEAM elements into my program plans because it helps engage a variety of kids, is important for encouraging future scientists, engineers, artists and developers, and because I am passionate about science. I use both traditional and new media in my programs, with special emphasis on joint media engagement. With all types of media I regularly explain why I chose a particular book, app, felt board story or toy (shaker, puppet, parachute, scarf) and how it connects to early literacy and childhood development.

Here are some of the themes I have used in storytime that are highlighted in blog posts.

Preschool Storytimes and Family Storytimes:
App-ily Ever After Digital Storytime: Animals
Back to School
Bears
Berries and Jam
Books with Rhythm
Bugs
Bunnies (Easter)
Colors
Construction
Dinosaurs
Dogs
Farm Animals
Fall & Moose
Fiber Arts
The Dark
Food
Friends (Valentine’s Day)
Frogs
Halloween
Hannukah and Christmas
Happy Unbirthday!
Independence Day
In the Jungle
I am Thankful
Making Something Out of Nothing
Monkeys
Monster Mayhem
Mother’s Day
My Body
Opposites
Our Five Senses
Pigs
Pirates
Rhythms & Sounds
Robots
Sharks Under the Sea
Sound & Music
Splish, Splash, Water!
Spring Cleaning
Summer
Taste & Smell
Things That Go! Go! Go!
Tigers
Trains
Under the Sea, Matey!
Weather, part 1
Weather, part 2

2 thoughts on “Preschool & Family Storytimes

  1. I am responsible for a story time that is referred to as “toddler time”, but is for ages 2-5. There is another story time for birth to 2. Do you think I’d be better off following a model similar to your toddler time or preschool time?

    • Hi Christina, We started by providing preschool storytime (many, many years ago) and eventually added the 2 and under storytime based on community need and staff time/resources available. In the 3-5 program, I read more stories and include more (play based) literacy activities well suited for the slightly older children. As you know, kids develop at different paces, but generally kids 3-5 are more comfortable at the longer storytime. Each community and library is different and some focus on family storytimes with a variety of ages because that fits the community needs and staff time available for these types of programs. Others divide up the storytimes even more because they have more staff available and a larger population. What I do is not perfect, but it provides a fun, engaging, positive storytime experience for as many as possible.
      Logistically speaking, toddler time shifts in terms of kids’ ages and I may have lots of babies at one time of year and lots of toddlers at another. I keep this in mind as I plan. I find its easier to keep families engaged when the 2 year olds are with the babies. They lead the pack which builds confidence and helps guide my planning.
      I will add though, that I never “card” kids at storytime. Space and materials are not an issue for us. Families are welcome to bring younger or older siblings and if someone stops in for a storytime focused on a different age, I welcome them, describe the options and let them decide what is a good fit. It usually works out that the grown-ups identify the developmentally appropriate fit. And, I ask grown-ups to stay with wondering little ones.

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