Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Babies Need Words Every Day Blog Tour: Singing in Story Time

Today I'm participating in a blog tour to help promote a great new resource from ALSC: Babies Need Words Every Day posters! The posters were designed by the Early Childhood Programs and Services committee using illustrations by Il Sung Na. Each poster highlights one of four early literacy practices: sing, talk, read, and play. My post today is inspired by this poster (shown below), which focuses on singing.

Singing is as much a part of my story times as stories themselves, and it is my favorite way to interact with babies. There are many ways to model singing during story time; these are the ones I use most.
  • Sing with props.  Singing with a puppet or other prop can make you - and parents - feel more at ease, since some of the focus is taken off of the singer and placed onto the object instead. Farm animal puppets are great for Old MacDonald Had a Farm, shaker eggs pair well with Shake My Sillies Out, and a scarf is wonderful for songs involving waving, washing, or hiding. By using items you have in your story time stash to inspire your song choices, you show caregivers how they can be inspired to sing by the toys and stuffed animals in their children's environment.
  • Sing about bodies. As the poster suggests, singing during diaper changes is a great way to promote a baby's early literacy skills. You can help parents build their repertoire of songs to sing at diaper time by introducing body-themed songs into your story times. Head, Shoulders Knees, and Toes, Tony Chestnut, Eyes Nose Cheeky Cheeky Chin, Where is Big Toe?, and Where Oh Where Are Baby's Fingers? have all been big hits in my story times, and at home with my three-month-old.
  • Sing a picture book. There are many board book and picture book versions of favorite children's songs. Engage babies and their caregivers by singing some of your stories! The Babies Need Words Every Day book list includes several singable titles: 
    • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Caroline Jayne Church
    • Baa Baa Black Sheep by Annie Kubler
    • Itsy Bitsy Spider by Annie Kubler
    • The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani
    • The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz
  • Sing a nursery rhyme. Nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce babies to rarely used vocabulary and fun rhythm and rhyme. Some popular nursery rhymes have been set to music, like Hey Diddle Diddle, Little Boy Blue, and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Many also fit the tune of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. Children's singer Marylee has a great album filled with singable nursery rhymes.
As a proponent of finding early literacy opportunities in everyday places, I think these posters are a great low-pressure way to keep parents and caregivers aware of the opportunities for sharing language that exist all around them, in the places their children visit in their daily routines. To reach families with babies, consider hanging a poster or two in a church crying room or bathroom, in the waiting room of a pediatrician's office, or above the changing tables at baby gyms and clothing stores, as well as in your library's children's area and story time space.

This blog tour continues all week. Check Reading with Red for the full schedule.


  1. Love all of your fantastic suggestions - thank you!!!

  2. This is a wonderful post, and I just love this Blog Tour! I'm a preschool teacher who also trains other staff at our Child Care Center, and I'm so excited to use the ideas from Babies Need Words Every Day to help some of our newer teachers. Thank you!


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