Thursday, January 12, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 1/11/17

I was supposed to return to story time on January 4th, but my whole household caught a bad cold, and I wound up having to cancel. So my first story time of the year was yesterday. I decided to return to my original approach from when I first started performing story times, which is to avoid themes and simply read good books. It made planning a lot easier, and I think the story time flowed better than the others I have done recently. There were 8 kids in attendance including my own, and here is what we did:

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
This book was very well received. With the exception of my three-year-old and her friend, all the other kids were under two years old and this was just right for them. The two big kids happily filled in the names of the animals for me, and my one-year-old stood right up front grinning ear to ear.

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand
I asked the kids to show me the different parts of their bodies as they were named by the text. That worked well for this age group and it seemed to keep the adults' attentions.

Song: Head and Shoulders

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Book: King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood
This book has always been hit or miss at story time. This was probably the best it has ever been received.

Rhyme: One Elephant in the Bathtub

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Christian Robinson
This book has a very brief text, but slowing down the pace and being careful not to flip through the pages too quickly helped make it work.

Song: One Little Two Little Three Little Penguins

We sang this song as follows: 

One little two little three little penguins
Four little five little six little penguins
Seven little eight little nine little penguins
Ten little penguins... waddle! 

In subsequent verses, I replaced waddle with other actions: sneeze, turn around, jump, sit right down. 

Song: Chickadee

Friday, January 6, 2017

February Story Time Themes

In February, I like to use themes connected to Groundhog Day (shapes and shadows) and Valentine's Day (hugs and kisses and mail.)

Shapes and Shadows

Suggested Books:
  • My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall 
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw 
  • What's Going on in There? by Geoffrey Grahn
  • Perfect Square by Michael Hall
  • Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald
  • The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss 

Extension Activities

Hugs and Kisses

Suggested Books: 
  • All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
  • I Love You! A Bushel and a Peck  by Rosemary Wells
  • Panda Kisses by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Kitty's Cuddles by Jane Cabrera
  • Cuddles for Mommy by Ruby Brown

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Love, Mouserella by David Ezra Stein
  • Seven Little Postmen by Margaret Wise Brown 
  • Mr. Griggs' Work by Cynthia Rylant 
  • Meerkat Mail by Emily Gravett

Extension Activities: 

Valentine's Day

Suggested Books:
  • If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
  • Valentine's Day by Anne Rockwell
  • Ten Things I Love About You by Daniel Kirk
  • Henry in Love by Peter McCarty

Friday, December 30, 2016

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

After 18 months, I have decided to retire this blog feature. Today's round-up will be the last. If you want to keep up-to-date with future reviews of easy readers and beginning chapter books, please browse past round-ups and subscribe to the bloggers who were regularly featured. Most of them review new easy readers and chapter books every month. Thanks, and happy reading in 2017!

Easy Readers

As the year winds down and ALA Youth Media Awards loom on the horizon, there has been lots of activity at the Guessing Geisel blog. Reviews from December include: Duck Duck Porcupine, the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, Snail & Worm, Mr. Putter and Tabby Hit the Slopes, the Andy and Sandy series, and What's Up, Chuck?

There were also a good number of reviews from Jean Little Library / Flying Off My Bookshelf, including Women Who Launched the Computer Age, Blip, Birdsong, Animals in Winter, and Ling and Ting Not Exactly the Same.

Great Kids Books reviewed We Are Growing, Provo Library Children's Book Reviews reviewed Juana and Lucas, and Sal's Fiction Addiction reviewed The Toad.

Chapter Books

There were three reviews this month of The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation. See them at Geo Librarian, Mom's Radius, and Becky's Book Reviews.

Other December chapter book reviews included:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Preschool Story Time, 12/14/16 (Christmas Theme)

This was our last session until January, and it was small, but everyone in the audience was a repeat attendee. My husband also came along, so I didn't have to worry about my toddler's usual weekly meltdown, which was a nice change of pace. I liked the plan, but I think I am still planning for those big boisterous groups I used to see in DC, and I still need to make some adjustments to suit this audience's personality a little better. But I expect the story time to grow during the winter months, too, so a lot of what I plan for the future will depend on that. In any case, here is my Christmas story time set list:

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Christmas Tree! by Wendell and Florence Minor

Flannel Board: Lights Shining Bright on the Christmas Tree
I made a Christmas tree for the flannel board with enough Velcro attached to the front to hold four lines of lights and a star. I added one string of lights per verse of the song, then changed the lyrics to accommodate the star in the last verse. I had to use my homemade hand-held flannel board in order to be able to manage all the moving of the pieces, and this made the transition from verse to verse more awkward than I was expecting.

Song: My House Has a Christmas Tree
I wrote this piggyback song based on Old MacDonald Had a Farm after seeing this video from King County Library System. I changed the words to eliminate references to Santa, since it seemed weird for him to have a tree, and to make the syllables in the lyrics match the tune.

Rhyme: Five Little Snowmen Riding on the Sled

Book: Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee

Song with Ukulele: Jingle Bells
This was probably the best activity of the whole story time. This group does well with familiar songs and stories - I think I need to incorporate fewer obscure items into future story times.

Book: Christmas Parade by Sandra Boynton

Song with paper props: Christmas Alphabet 
When I originally used this song at story time, I had an entire whiteboard ledge to spread the letters out on. I thought I could simply show one letter at a time and have it work the same way, but the song goes by too quickly for that to be feasible. This was the flop of the session. I wish I had found this video before the session - it's Makaton sign language, not ASL, but it would have been fun to learn, and I think the kids would have liked it much more than my lame paper prop.

Song with Ukulele: ABCs

Song with puppet: Mr. Sun

Book: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star illustrated by Julia Noonan
This seemed to be the book that held everyone's attention the best. Again, it's a familiar song. We are fans of the familiar in this group.

Song: We Wish You a Merry Christmas
This was my goodbye song. We sang the chorus and then action verses like this:

Let's all do a little clapping
Let's all do a little clapping
Let's all do a little clapping
To spread Christmas cheer! 

In the final verse, we waved.

Story time starts up again the first week in January! I'll be back then with more plans to share.
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