Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Preschool Story Time, 12/7/16 (Letter S Theme)

Today's story time attracted lots of repeat attendees, and I think these are the families who will form our core group as the year goes on. Not including me and my two girls, we had two moms and two dads, accompanied by a total of 7 kids. The theme, which existed solely to help me organize, was the letter S. 

To begin with, my own one-year-old freaked out at the thought of being held by someone else, and spent the whole first song of story time shrieking and being carried around by the children's programming coordinator from the church. She was not the only crying child, but she was the loudest and most persistent. This made for a very humbling start to the session - but I think it also made the other parents feel more comfortable about their toddlers' behavior.

In any case, here is the plan I used:

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Spectacular Spots by Susan Stockdale
This is the second week in a row that I opened with an informational book, and I didn't feel like it was well-received. I think I need to start looking for books that people already know and love and see if that stirs up a little more enthusiasm.

Flannel Board Song: Ladybug Has One Black Spot 
Instead of making a felt ladybug with detachable spots, I printed the same ladybug six times, each with a different number of spots, then covered it with contact paper and attached Velcro. It worked fine. I also changed the word "pretty" to "lovely" in the lyrics because I thought it sounded better.

Book: Snow by Manya Stojic
I think this book was the hit of the session. I'll have to remember to use Rain by the same author in the spring when I do a spring weather theme.

Rhyme: Five Little Snowmen Riding on a Sled

Song: Shake My Sillies Out 
I did this song differently than I ever have before, with these verses: 
  • Shake my sillies out...
  • Clap my sillies out...
  • Stomp my sillies out... 

This was a last-minute addition and it was not the best. I should have used Hands Up High but didn't think of until I got home.

Book: Mice Squeak, We Speak by Tomie dePaola
I asked everyone to make the animals' sounds as I read, and though they did, I felt a bit like they were humoring me. Again, stories with plot is what this group wants, so I'll be working on finding more of those.

Flannel Board Song: We All Go Traveling By 
Based on last week's success, I repeated this one, singing it this time. Probably the favorite activity of the session.

Song: Mr. Sun

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Book: Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming 
This was too long for a fourth book. I wish I had used this author's Sleepy, Oh So Sleepy, instead.

Goodbye Song: Chickadee 
I am still thinking of replacement goodbye songs. This one is working less well each week.

Preschool Story Time, 11/30/16 (Wheels Theme)

Last week's story time was very small - just two families besides my own - which was too bad, because I liked the plan I used. Hopefully in a few months, I can use it again with a bigger audience. (Note: I am not 100% certain of the order in which I actually performed these. I think I have incorporated all the changes I made on the fly, but it's possible that the windshield wiper rhyme and the traveling flannel board are in the wrong places in the line-up.)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: What Do Wheels Do All Day? by April Jones Prince

Song: There's a Little Wheel a Turnin' in My Heart
I usually do the Laurie Berkner version of this song, but I changed it up to make a little more straightforward. These are the verses I used:

  • ...little wheel a-turning
  • ...little drum beating
  • ...two hands clapping
  • ...two feet stomping 

Book: Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car by John Burningham
I am puzzled as to why only my own children seem to love this book. This group generally seems to prefer books with plot, so I tried to give them this simple story, and they didn't really take to it.

Song: Twinkle Twinkle Traffic Light

Rhyme: I'm a Windshield Wiper 
I wish there were more to this rhyme. It feels so awkward when you come to the end of a single stanza and it's just done. I may need to write an additional verse if I want to use it again.

Song: Bumpin' Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon

I did my usual verses:

  • Bumpin' up and down
  • The wheels turn around...
  • Waving to my friends...

Flannel Board Rhyme: We All Go Traveling By
I found this song at the last minute the night before story time and decided to give it a shot. It was the hit of the session and has become a favorite of my three-year-old at home as well. I chanted it for this session because I wanted to break up the singing, but would prefer to sing it.

Book: The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom
The guessing game element of this book has always worked really well for me, but it didn't grab this group. Even though the audience was small enough to gather around the book, the kids didn't seem to care much whether the bus ever came. Weird.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Book: Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
I wasn't sure the group thought this was funny, but it may have just been the small size of the group inhibiting their reactions overall. With some of the kids who normally come, but miss this session, it would have been a huge hit.

Goodbye Song: Chickadee
This is working less well as a goodbye song as time goes on. I may need to consider a new one for the new year.

Friday, December 2, 2016

January Story Time Themes

My favorite themes for January are related to winter weather (snowmen), the new year (calendar/seasons), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (friendship), and flu season (sickness.)


Suggested Books:

  • All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle
  • Making a Friend by Alison McGhee
  • Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
  • Pip and Squeak by Ian Schoenherr

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:

  • Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
  • Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike
  • How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham
  • Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:

  • Snowy Flowy Blowy by Nancy Tafuri
  • A Year with Friends by John Seven and Jana Christy 
  • Parade Day by Bob Barner
  • Calendar by Myra Cohn Livingston
  • Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak

Extension Activities

Get Well Soon 

Suggested Books:

  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
  • Imogene's Antlers by David Small
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Extension Activities

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review Round-Up: Books for Beginning Readers, November 2016

Here is this month's round-up of reviews of easy readers and beginning chapter books. Enjoy!

Easy Readers

Guessing Geisel featured detailed posts about both Can I Tell You a Secret? and The Thank You Book.

Waking Brain Cells and Sal's Fiction Addiction reviewed Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye. Sal's Fiction Addiction also reviewed The Great Antonio.

Jean Little Library had two "Small Readers" posts: Rabbit & Robot and Ribbit and Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World.

Other reviews were: the Pigsticks and Harold series, reviewed by Books 4 Your Kids, Pig and Pug, reviewed by Provo Library Children's Book Reviews, and Finding Providence, reviewed by Semicolon.

Chapter Books

Redeemed Reader and Orange Marmalade reviewed Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan.

In "Series Thursday" posts, Geo Librarian highlighted Sprout Street Neighbors: Five Stories and Meet the Bobs and Tweets.

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviewed four audiobooks of titles in the Princess in Black series. Books 4 Your Kids also reviewed The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation.

Mom's Radius reviewed Little Shaq, Star of the Week and Bicycling to the Moon.

Other chapter book reviews were Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx, reviewed by Ms. Yingling Reads, Dory Dory Black Sheep, reviewed by Sal's Fiction Addiction, Captain Awesome Meets Super Dude, reviewed by Provo Library Children's Book Reviews, and Bad Kitty Takes the Test, reviewed by Mom Read It.
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