Blogger Kary Henry

To Theme or Not to Theme…

It’s the age old question, isn’t it? To use storytime themes or not. To me, themes make sense. Instead of feeling constricting, themes give me a safety net and let me soar freely above them. After, cough, many years of doing outreach storytime, though, I was in need of a new approach!

As I mentioned, using themes for my outreach storytimes has long been my approach. Because I send the year’s worth of themes to the early childhood directors in August, using themes also allows the teachers to know what to expect each month. I change it up each year and have fun coming up with new, creative themes. I try to choose unique themes on everything from STEM to mindfulness, animals to movement. And yet. This summer, as I was planning the 2023-24 school year, I found myself bored. Even new themes that I had never used before felt stagnant.

So I did what any good library professional would do: I asked around! What themes had others thought of that I hadn’t?

Twitter screenshot that says "I'm someone who still prefers using themes for preschool outreach storytimes. What themes have YOU thought of that I haven't?"

To the rescue came Melissa Depper! Melissa is the Storytime Supervisor at Arapahoe Libraries. Her awesome but (in her words) inactive blog, Mel’s Desk, is still available. She shared the incomparable Saroj Ghoting’s approach of using verbs rather than nouns. Brilliant! Suddenly, ideas were flowing.

Each theme allows me to customize for different age groups, gives me enough freedom to explore a variety of books, and encourages the little ones to be involved and engaged. I’ve shared my final choices for each month below.

  • September = Feeling
  • October = Imagining
  • November = Experimenting
  • December = Playing
  • January = Creating
  • February = Moving
  • March = Growing
  • April = Splashing
  • May = our Summer Reading Program theme

Are you a storytime themes aficionado? If so, what are some of your favorite themes this year? Or do you go theme-less? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

This post addresses the ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group and V. Outreach and Advocacy.

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