Summer Reading Program 2013: part 2

Phew! Planning season seems to have come and gone while I wasn’t looking. School is finished in just two weeks and the summer reading program begins right after Memorial Day. I have the STEAM-y Storytime line-up ready to go and posted for all to see. While some of the multiple stations that I am cooking up for each week are still in the works, I thought I’d share the themes. Maybe you even have a suggestion or two! I’ll post the details as we do the programs.

Our library offers two storytimes each week, year round. I plan and lead both of them most of the time (we have two community members who visit for the preschool storytime also).  One is a preschool storytime and the other is a mostly toddler group. For the summer, we’ll be focusing on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) in the preschool program. Since we are using the Dig Into Reading theme, many of the storytime themes fit nicely. I even have a teen volunteer this year excited to help with the storytime activities. The preschoolers will love him!

This summer’s storytime themes:

Things That Go! I have used a vehicle related theme for storytime before, but not for awhile. It is a hit with everyone! There are lots of great books to read on vehicles, bikes, and anything that moves. We’ll make cars for a race track, have a car matching station, and make paper airplanes.

This one will go nicely with the Heavy Equipment Show and Tell we have planned for the beginning of the summer program. We’ll be closing off the side street near the library so four construction vehicles can park where families can get a closer look. A new excavator owned by the city a nd a dump truck will be among the vehicles on display. We’ll hand out cards with stats for each vehicle to provide a kind of self-guided tour since we’ll only have a couple of staff and volunteers on hand. It will also be a great time to sign up families who haven’t had a chance to get involved.

Under the Sea, Matey! We are a coastal community so an ocean theme, with a few pirates thrown in, is a perfect fit. We’ll include a sink or float experiment station among other fun activities. This is a great time to share Mango Languages, a digital language learning tool, with families since our library provides free access to the site and app. Mango offers pirate in their list of languages to learn and it is a kid favorite.

We All Dig Dinosaurs! What schedule of storytimes would be complete without dinosaurs? I purchased some small plastic dinosaur skeletons for reading prizes this year as well as a handful to use in an excavation station. We also took the opportunity to dig up some new-to-us dino books for the collection. What do you have planned?

Plants: How Does Your Garden Grow? In June, we’ll still be planting here and the greening of Alaska will be just getting underway.  Gardens are a big part of many families’ summertime  activities, so we’ll celebrate at storytime with matching games and fruit and vegetable crafts.

Let’s Mix It Up With Colors! I’ve been looking forward to using some of the great suggestions from Amy Koester’s Color Science for Preschoolers ALSC blog post. I thought I would add it to the schedule and get kids mixing, painting, and experimenting!

Independence Day! Preschool storytime will happen on July 3rd this year, so we’ll be celebrating the national holiday a day early. Last Fall, I heard about a great picture book ideal for sharing at storytime, and I’ll use it this year. The title? Betsy Ross by Becky White and Megan Lloyd (Holiday House, 2011). Activities for this one are still being cultured in the petri dish of storytime planning….

Digging Up Trouble With Trickster Tales Trickster tales are some of my favorite books to read aloud. When done respectfully, the stories shared from other cultures can be a great teaching opportunity. Alaska has many such tales and we’ll be including some of them in this storytime. Activities still in the works, so stay tuned!

Creepy Crawly Bugs! Local naturalists will be bringing local downed Spruce logs for scientific exploration during this storytime.  We’ll investigate, deconstruct, and identify the creepy crawlies inside. Bringing the outdoors in will be a blast!

Under Construction! We sponsor a LEGO® contest every summer, and this year will be no different. We’ll even bring LEGO®s to storytime to let kids build towers, castles, bridges, and more while they also build their literacy skills! It is amazing what narrative skills and vocabulary can be developed while playing with these building blocks.

What’s Under Our Feet? Rocks and Caves Several years ago, I stumbled on a great layers earthearth activity in a Montessori book. (I’m still looking for that book….) It is a play doh model of the Earth and all of its layers wrapped inside. Once the ball is made with the layers inside, the ball is cut down the middle and each layer is visible. My kids loved it and I know my young friends at the library will too!


This week I decided to bring out the pirate fun. I couldn’t wait for the official Talk Like A Pirate Day to come around again. There’s just something about storybook pirates and their socially acceptable mischief.

pirate booksWe had a regular guest reader join us for stories and songs this week at the library so he read the stories while I worked with kids on the letter ‘P’ scavenger hunt and the pirate crafts. It’s amazing how many kids don’t know how to make a pirate hat out of newspaper! Twenty more do now! It’s great rainy day fun and offers adults a bit of nostalgia.

This morning, I headed out the road for my outreach program. This week’s only stop was the fire station. The group of kids and parents that regularly comes to the fire station is not as big as at the library, but that’s fine. They are all familiar faces and we are getting to know each other better in a more intimate setting. I am happy to see everyone because there are a few faces I tend to see at the library only in the summer. It can be difficult to get into town for specific events during the winter-either because of weather, kid schedules, or just because of a shift to the wintertime mental state.

During storytime on the road, it was my turn to read the pirate books.  While everyone got settled, a couple of kids and I talked about the letter ‘P’ and looked through My ‘P’ Book.  They quickly rattled off a list of other words beginning with the ‘P’ sound while the littlest ones took turns playing with my felt ‘P’. We then moved on to stories. I read the tongue twisting Sheep on a Ship, The Pirates Next Door: Starring the Jolley-Rogers, a great book about differences, and Pirate Girl. Feisty girls need role models, too.

The flannel board was a success! I was proud to create this one and the kids loved it. The older kids chimed in on the song’s refrain and the youngest storytimers bee-lined to the board and the felt pieces as soon as I added them with each verse.  After which the little ones spent the rest of storytime taking off and putting on the pirate pieces.  Win, win. I got the flannel board idea (and the song suggestion) from Sturdy for Common Things.

pirate felt board

Pirate Song (Sung to “This Old Man”) via Work of Heart
This old pirate, has a hat
Where a skull and crossbones sat.
With an Ar, Ar, Ar, and an Ay Matey!
This old pirate sailed the sea.
This old pirate had a patch
Sailed the sea without a scratch.
With an Ar, Ar, Ar and an Ay Matey!
This old pirate sailed the sea.

Additional Verses:
This old pirate has a hook, uses it to hold a book.
This old pirate has a map, keeps it handy in his lap.
This old pirate has a bird, barely knows a single word.
This old pirate has a ship, travels the world in a single trip.
This old pirate looking for treasure, more than anyone can measure!

parrotAnd on to craft time! We made our hats and pet parrots before doing the letter ‘P’ treasure hunt, well, because pirates need accessories to find treasures!  If you need a tutorial on pirate hat making, check out Instructables. There are some other curiosities there also worth your time! As for the parrot, I took a template and instead of making one designed to wear on the shoulder, I modified the drawing so the parrot could be carried with the help of a Popsicle stick. It worked well for the wide range of ages at the library storytime and at the fire station.P treasure hunt

For the ‘P” treasure hunt, I laminated letters in different kinds of paper (2 of each) and then made a treasure hunt map with one of each kind of ‘P’. The others I placed around the room so that kids could explore and identify the letter. They brought the letter back to the map and taped it next to its match. Once we had all of the letters on the map matched, it was time for the treasure! I gave out library pencils to smiling pirates and we found out those pencils make great drumsticks!

By the way, if your library has access to Mango Languages, you should check out the Pirate tutorial. What a great sense of humor they have! I often show school age kids Pirate on Mango Languages because it is a great gateway to learning other languages on the site and exploring our library’s online resources.