I am really anxious to improve upon my preschool story times to really make them more supportive of early literacy in a pro-active way. That's why, for this week, I tried some new things. I'm pleased to report that they all went very well!
Flannel Board: HAT
I asked the kids to help me identify each letter, then I modeled sounding it out. Since most of the kids are a little young yet to be sounding words out on their own, I didn't linger over the reading too much, I just sounded it out twice, then said, "The word is hat! And you helped me figure it out!"
Before we started reading, I asked the kids if they have any hats at home. Most did, and they were happy to share about their baseball caps, winter hats, and cowboy hats. Then we read about the different hats worn by people in the book - all of whom are famous historical figures and talked about whether we did or did not have hats like theirs at home. (We decided that Francisco de Goya's candle hat was not safe.)
Rhyme: Hats on Everyone
Activity: Whose Hat is That?
This started out as a flannel board, but when the color copy machine broke down, I had to change tactics. I wound up hunting down black and white clip art images of various types of hats (firefighter, astronaut, baseball, cowboy, etc.) and printing them to our staff printer. Then I printed two versions - one labeled, and one unlabeled, and stapled each version of each hat on either side of a black piece of construction paper. I held up the unlabeled side to initiate conversation, asking the kids to tell me who might wear each hat. Then when we had figured it out, I turned it around to show the words for each hat-wearer. My very last image was of the hat belonging to Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat, which led us right into our next book.
Boy, is this book long. The intended age group loved it, but the toddler siblings and random walk-ins who kept coming in and out of the room really made it hard for them to listen. I had to stop several times to ask adults to gather their little ones, and even then, it was difficult. The kids liked the book, though, and most of them agreed they would not tell their mothers about the cat's mischief.
Song: Hat, Coat, Pants, and Shoes
There is a definite difference between ages 3 1/2 to 4 and ages 5 to 6. Kids under five love this song; kids older than that still do it, but they don't giggle nearly as much. (It was a hit with these preschoolers.)
The kids loved this one, especially the few who had read it before and knew when to shake their fists and say "Tsz, tsz, tsz!"
This was the best preschool story time I have done this Fall. I think the others were fine, and just as fun for the kids, but this one was more intentionally educational and intentionally supportive of print awareness, letter recognition, and print motivation. I have just learned that I will be assuming full responsibility for all programming from birth to 5th grade starting in mid-November, so my hope is to develop a routine for preschool story time especially, where the sessions will look similar and focus on more of these early literacy skills.
I use the same hello and goodbye songs at almost every session. Click here for the tunes and words. For descriptions of each of my story times, click here.