Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for . . .

Toddler Storytime

There are several library related subjects that start with T. Teens and Tweens being at the top of those subjects. Not that they are not important because services to Teens and Tweens are very important. However, I am going to discuss Toddlers today because we have not really mentioned them yet.

Toddler, which I define as 1-3 year olds, at least for my storytime is a unique storytime group. This age range is stretching the age group a little bit, but works well for my storytimes because parents who have kids who are too wiggly or independent for baby lapsit, which for me is 0-1 1/2 years old, can bring their child to the toddler storytime. Also, for parents who have a 3 year old that is just not ready for preschool storytime, which I have posted as 3-5 year olds, can still bring their child to the toddler storytime without being told that their child is too old. I like that this age group overlaps with my other two storytimes because there is no set age of development for kids and this gives a little flexibility to parents.

As I was saying, Toddlers are special and unique. They don't sit still, but can follow directions when they want to. They want to be grown up and independent, but still like to sit in mommy's (or daddy, grandpa, grandma, nanny, etc) lap. My storytimes are not quiet, in fact they are quite loud. (I do not have a community or storytime room, so the rest of the library enjoys my storytime right along with the toddlers and parents.) I try to encourage the kids who are able to sit, to sit in the front and those kids who want to stand (which is many) to stand in the back. This works pretty well and the parents try to help with crowd control. However, once one kid is crying, screaming, running around, all chaos usually ensues. That is when even if you have a storytime outline, you do whatever you can to bring your kids back to focus on storytime. Usually singing a song helps, it is amazing how a song will bring attention back to you. Try it next time you have a crazy, wild group!

For anyone out there who might be interested in starting a storytime for toddlers, here is the outline that I usually follow when planning for a toddler storytime. I do some variations, but we usually have the same general components. There are a few musts for each week: I read two books, we dance with bean bags, dance with George, shake our rattles, everything else rotates each week. I also try to include at least one early literacy skill pointer for the parents, sometimes I am able to get all 3 that I have planned. In all, my storytime will last between 20-25 minutes, depending on the attention of the kids who are attending that day.

Introduction to storytime
Reminding the kids and parents that if they need to move around or make excessive nosie during the storytime, they are welcome to leave and then come back when they are ready.

Opening Song
Open Shut Them with a verse that I inherited from a previous librarian.

Usually I do a theme just so I can narrow what book I will be reading, but sometimes I just read my favorites.

Bean Bag Dancing
Everyone gets a bean bag and follows the direction of the song. I have been using "Bean Bag Rock" from the CD Bean Bag Activities and Coordination Skills by Georgiana Liccione Stewart. This is a nice easy song for this age to follow.

Rhyme to get kids to sit down
I have a set of rhymes that I rotate each week.

Fingerplay or Flannel board Story
Depending on the theme of the week, I may have a flannel board story. If do not, I will throw in a fingerplay.

ABC and 123
Each child gets a laminated ABC and 123 sheet so that as we sing our ABCs they point to the letters, the same with counting and pointing to the numbers. It is amazing to watch the difference between the kids when they start storytime and point to random letters during the alphabet to when they are able to point to the correct letter. Usually this happens after they promote to the preschool storytime, but it is still fun to watch!

We usually dance to one of the many catchy songs by the Wiggles. They are recognizable and just fun to dance to. Each child gets a chance to dance with Curious George who is my storytime mascot. My picture with George is on the blog front page.

Again, I have many different songs that I rotate through each week. Some we sing more often than others because they are favorites!

Rhyme to get kids to sit down

Usually we do a game where they help match colors or shapes. This helps the kids learn their colors or shapes and learn to differentiate between similar objects.


Shaking Rattles
Everyone gets a rattle and we sing a song about shaking rattles. This song was passed on to me by another librarian.


All the storytimes end with BINGO. Taking away letters as we go and adding hands to help remind them when to clap and when to say the letter. I have colored each hand a different color and we count the hands each time a new one goes up, so they get to work on colors and counting all during BINGO!

Following storytime, I set out crayons and coloring sheets at the tables and toys in the middle of the children's area. This allows the parents to chat and the kids to interact. The toys and crayons are cleaned up after 20-30 minutes, which is after most families have left.

And that is a Toddler Storytime!

Posted by Anna


Andrea said...

I like the idea of the laminated ABC and 123 sheets. Copying plans afoot!

Allison said...

Sounds like a great storytime! I love all the different props and activities- such a must for this age group!