Fellow ALSC blogger Katie Salo wrote a post about storytime themes in October that got me thinking about the way we plan storytimes at my library. Inspired by her post, I decided to try something a little different with our spring storytime session. For our six weeks of storytimes, we planned five themed storytimes and I told everyone that the last week would be “Librarian’s Favorites”.
There are five of us that present storytimes in my department and for our spring and fall storytimes, we each plan at least one themed storytime week and we’re each responsible for presenting one session a week. It was really interesting watching my staff wrap their heads around planning a Librarian’s Favorites storytime. Unlike the themed weeks where we’re all reading some of the same books and doing some of the same flannels and stretchers, each person’s Favorites storytime will be unique.
I put together a handout each week that we send home with the kids along with their take-home crafts. Generally, I include a thematic book list and several related early literacy activities that families can do at home. For this week, I asked all of my staff to tell me three or four of their very favorite books for preschoolers and I sent home a list of “Miss Abby’s Favorites”, “Miss Theresa’s Favorites”, etc. For that week’s take-home craft, we’re sending home scratch-art bookmarks, leftover from our Afterschool Storytimes.
So what are some of my staff’s favorite books for preschoolers?
Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough (Candlewick, 1992).
Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman (Henry Holt, 2006).
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry (Dial, 2007).
The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010).
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood (Child’s Play, 1984).
I’m a firm believer in the power of GREAT readalouds and I hope that by encouraging my staff to select books that they LOVE, their passion for sharing stories will shine through even more than it already does. However, thinking thematically can stretch us as storytime presenters and might lead to finding a new favorite or adapting a book in a new way to make it more engaging. And I also firmly believe that no one was ever harmed by having a non-themed story or song snuck into a themed storytime program. If there’s a special favorite that doesn’t go along with your theme, just put it in there anyway.
And now I want to hear from YOU! What are your very favorite readalouds for preschoolers??
— Abby Johnson, Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN