Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to storytime, of course!
For my first storytime of the new season—after a summer full of special guests—I decided to start with the basics. After all, libraries are truly special. I love getting the chance to talk about what makes them tick. I also really wanted an excuse to read Chicken Story Time. What better to pair it with than a book about book-loving Lola?
NOTE: For information about my approach to storytime, check out this post.
Opening : “If You’re Ready for a Story”
Since I was subbing at a different branch, I adopted the staff’s signature opening song. I like it, and I may just have to give it a try if we decide to switch ours at my branch.
Song: “Let’s Go Riding on an Elevator” (with scarves)
The highlight of storytime was seeing all the babies lifted in the air by their caregivers. Who knew this song would work so well in baby storytime, too?
Rhyme: “Open, Shut Them”
Book: Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn, illus. Rosalind Beardshaw
Puppet/Rhyme: “Little Mousie Brown” (with puppet)
After storytime, a little one came up to me and asked if he could see Little Mousie Brown again. I let him knock on the wooden box she lives in, listen to hear if she’s there, and peek inside. His mother later told me that his grandma makes special little boxes with critters in them and gives them to her grandchildren. After hearing all that, my heart was full. In fact, I just about melted!
Song: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”
Book: Chicken Story Time by Sandy Asher, illus. Mark Fearing
Goodbye: “Goodbye Friends” (with ASL)
How It Went: This was a much younger crowd than I am typically used to. Most of the kids were preverbal and/or shy, so they weren’t the most interactive bunch. But the grown-ups were the true superstars of this storytime: they were engaged, interactive, and fun. Next time I go to this branch, though, I really need to brush up on my baby and toddler storytime skills.
The first book was excellent for teaching library skills. But, since I expected a chatty audience, I didn’t think to really teach—I more or less expected that they would already know what happens in Lola’s library and answer accordingly. Wrong! I think it may have been helpful to either use a whiteboard or some visual cues to go along with actions.
The other book was fun, too, but it also elicited less participation than I thought it would—despite the fact that I handed out multiple chicken stick puppets and encouraged excessive clucking. I wonder if my energy was too much or too distracting. This has been a problem before. The kids watch me instead of participating. (Side note: this is why I firmly believe storytime should not be a performance. We should listen to our audiences and adjust accordingly.)
The last thing I’ll say about this storytime is that I completely failed to bring up race. Jessica Anne Bratt was right: you really do need to practice pointing out the race of characters like you do everything else. I assumed it would come naturally but, sadly, both shared readings resulted in missed opportunities.