I’m doing something new this fall: all-ages outreach storytime at our city’s new children’s museum. It’s really fun because (a) the space is completely different from a library (I’m onstage!), and (b) I have a lot more freedom because it’s something I do off the clock! Storytime all day every day—that’s the dream at least!
Opening: “If You’re Ready for a Story”
I’m trying out new opening songs. This is one I learned from staff at another branch in my system. I like that it makes storytime feel less like preschool circle time, but it still is a little “young” for some of those older kids in attendance. Will keep searching…
Song: “Let’s Go Riding on an Elevator” (with scarves)
Fun, as always. But I’ll remember to look up at the ceiling next time so I don’t hit any decorations. Oops!
Book: Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
Flannel Activity: “Little Mouse, Little Mouse” (with felt pieces)
This group was the most well-behaved I have ever done this game with. I’m used to being mobbed by children as they reach for all the felt pieces. I think what helped this time was that I made expectations very clear (raise your hand and I will call you to come up and guess a house). But also the grown-ups were superstars who helped keep order.
Book: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Song: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”
Book: Will You Help Doug Find His Dog? by Jane Caston, illus. Carmen Saldaña
Goodbye: “The More We Read Together”
How It Went: I did it. I read three books! Well, sort of. We really skipped through that last one because kids were looking pretty spent and the rest of the museum’s attractions were a-calling! I know best practices suggest 3-4 books in a storytime but I legitimately don’t see how one could make time for all that in 30 minutes!
All in all, this was such a successful storytime. I think what made it work so well was that every book was basically a game of hide-and-seek. And I got to show off my character voices in I Want My Hat Back. I. Love. That. Book. And I especially love the different interpretations of the ending. Preschoolers think the bear sat on the rabbit; older kids think the bear ate the rabbit; and, the kids at this storytime thought the rabbit simply went away.
Will You Help Doug Find His Dog? is a really fun book that is maybe a little advanced for younger kids as it poses a lot of interactive questions through direct address to the reader. It worked better to ignore the text and summarize. I think the book, because it is a process of elimination finding game, would make an excellent felt story. Next time, I might also try doing I Want My Hat Back as a puppet story.