This summer, I decided to do a storytime celebrating the kids who are about to start Kindergarten this fall. We really had fun with the kids and parents really appreciated it, many taking pictures throughout. Our schools go back August 1, so I figured mid-July would be a great time to do it. Our newest library assistant is a former Kindergarten teacher, so I got some great ideas from her as I planned this program, and then we ran it together.
We used a typical storytime format, but inserted some activities to reinforce some of the skills kids will need for Kindergarten (raising our hands to talk, walking in a line, writing their name, etc.) Here’s what we did:
Welcome: We made die-cut apple nametags and invited the kids to practice writing their names (either alone or with help from a parent). This helped later in the program as we were practicing raising our hands and waiting to be called on.
Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello (my old standard)
Storytime Rules: Just like the kids will have rules in their classroom, we went over the rules at storytime. Sit criss-cross applesauce, raise your hand if you’d like to speak, don’t bother your neighbor, etc.
Date: I found this nifty little date song on Kelly’s Kindergarten:
(To the tune of Frere Jaques)
Today is Tuesday (Today is Tuesday)
July 9 (July 9)
That’s the date! (That’s the date!)
Calendar: I brought out our big calendar from the office and we counted the days until Kindergarten starts (August 1 for most of our students). Something important to note is that not all the schools start on the same day. I did a little research to make sure we knew when the private and public schools were starting.
Raising Our Hands: I asked the kids to raise their hands and tell me what school they will be going to this year. Um, most of them didn’t actually know the name of their school, but it was still good practice for raising hands, which was the point. I’d maybe pick something different to ask them next time.
Book: Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson. This is a great, basic book about a kid getting ready for and going to his first day of Kindergarten. It goes over all the things kids typically do to get ready (packing a backpack, eating breakfast, etc.) and then shows some basic activities kids do when they get to Kindergarten.
Song (Following Directions): If You’re Wearing Red Today. I used two-part directions with this song, asking kids to stand up and then get in line once I called the color they’re wearing. Before we start this song, I ask kids to look down at their clothes and notice the colors they’re wearing. My storytime partner stood at the door to be the line leader and we got the kids in line pretty quickly.
Walking in a Line: Once we had everyone in our line, we practiced walking quietly around the Children’s Room and down the hall and then back. The kids were super! They were quiet and stayed in line very well. We emphasized that this is something that they’ll be doing a lot once school starts.
Book: Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes. I love this book for addressing the fact that many kids worry about a lot of things (especially the first day of school!). I shortened it a tiny bit, cutting out one of the sections about things Wemberly worries about.
Song: We practiced another Kindergarten readiness skill: our letters. I passed out the bells and we sang the ABC song together.
Mystery Bag: I brought out our mystery bag with several different letters in it and drew letters out one at a time. As a group, we thought of words that began with each letter. Again, we practiced raising our hands and waiting to be called on.
Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is? (my other old standard!)
Take-Home Packet: I found a cute school bus craft on Pinterest (which I simplified a bit) and I also included a handout of 10 Ways to Get Ready for Kindergarten from Countdown to Kindergarten. After our song, I showed parents everything that was in the packet and I gave a little spiel about our beginning readers storytime that we’ll be starting in September.
We put out a display of books about Kindergarten for patrons to check out after the storytime and encouraged everyone to take fliers about our new storytime. Everyone, kids and staff alike, had a blast celebrating our newest crop of Kindergarteners!
And one thing I love about this program is that we can very easily recycle it next summer since we’ll have a whole new batch of kids getting ready to start Kindergarten.
Have you done a back-to-school storytime or a special program for incoming Kindergarteners? What’s been successful for you?
— Abby Johnson, Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN