Blogger Alexa Newman

Storytimes on the Fly

Picture this:  you’re getting settled in for your morning,  maybe getting a cup of coffee, checking emails, going through mail when the message comes in:  someone has called in and now you are going to have to fill in for storytime. With fifteen minutes notice.  And they haven’t gathered their materials together in one place. You’ll have to punt.


This has happened to many of us, mayhap even most of us at least one time in our career.  These moments can be stressful and overwhelming, especially for people who like to be prepared. How do you find a theme, pull books, flannels, music, all in a matter of minutes?


Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years that can help you prepare a storytime on the fly.

  • Have office copies of your favorite picture books. 
  • Have playlists of your best storytime action music.
  • Keep a shortlist of your go to flannels and puppets.
  • Have a template for your storytime handout started – so all you need to do is plug in date and titles.

Once you’ve been doing this for a few years, you’ll have a library of programs.  It is fairly simple to open a handout and change the dates, make any changes you want, print and then pull the materials. 

Especially If you are still early in your career, I recommend having an emergency storytime prepared, ready to go. Having a backup storytime ready to go has saved me several times over the years.  


We all have different storytime styles,  but most of us end up following a formula that works for us.My personal formula  goes like this:

  • Welcome Song
  • Flannel game  
  • Book
  • Action Song
  • Book  or Flannel Story
  • Action Song
  • Book 
  • Action Song
  • Goodbye Song

Quick suggestions for pulling together at the last minute:

  • Caldecott Storytime — pull award winners for your program
  • Dance Party  – spin your best jams for the kiddos.  Pull out a parachute, scarves, shaker eggs, and ribbons and boogie your way through the storytime.
  • Flannel Storytime –  share classic stories on the flannel board.
  • Puppet storytime — kids love when we use puppets to tell a story.




Take a deep breath, you can do this!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *