If you’re anything like me, you need help remembering things from time to time. Life is far too complicated to try and make our brains keep everything organized and tidy, so we’ve got to turn to other methods.
Of course, while this can be applied to anything I’m talking in particular about storytime. There are a lot of reasons to document and track your storytimes — for your own personal use, for your yearly evaluation, to help train new staff members, to share with colleagues, and more. Here are my top five tips for documenting your storytimes:
- Start with a good plan. Since starting my new job, I’ve been in LOVE with Jbrary’s Toddler Storytime Planning Sheet. I’ve talked so much about the planning sheets that members of my Early Lit team have also switched over!
- Write up a small “How It Went” immediately after the program. On the back of my attendance sheet, you can find little notes like “I Know a Chicken = STORYTIME GOLD” and “[Child] absolutely lit up during Babies on the Bus today”. These small write-ups take very little time, but remind me of what materials I should use again.
- Take pictures. I take pictures of every flannelboard I’ve made and I took pictures of the crafts that I did. The flannelboard photos are organized on my blog and the craft photos mean I don’t have to keep containers full of example crafts. I can easily look at my flannelboard photos and remind myself of the materials I have available.
- Organize your materials. Don’t leave them all boxed up. (The exception to that is if you’re moving or changing jobs, which is when that picture was taken!) I’m proud to say that my flannelboards, puppets, and documents are now all at work where I can access them when I need to!
- Set your information free! I always remind friends and colleagues: I started my blog to keep a virtual record of my storytimes for me. So that I wouldn’t have a ridiculous paper trail and so I could access my storytimes from any computer with an Internet connection. If you haven’t thought about blogging for a personal record, now may be the time!
How do you document your storytimes? Does your library have a document/program reporting process? Any great ideas that I missed? Let me know in the comments!
– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library