Blogger Katie Salo

Instruments in Storytime

Instruments are pictured on a purple rug. They include two small hand drums, rhythm sticks, hand bells, Boomwhackers, hand shakers, and a xylophone.

Today’s installment of storytime props is instruments in storytime. (Previous posts: Parachute in Storytime, Scarves in Storytime, and Egg Shakers in Storytime.) Instruments are such a fun topic, with a huge array of different kinds of instruments; I could spend all day writing about them. But let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… (Kudos to anyone now singing “Do, Re, Mi” from The Sound of Music. What instruments do you have at the library? Mostly percussion instruments: gathering drums, sound drums, rhythm sticks, bells, Boomwhackers, hand shakers (including egg shakers and maracas), and some miscellaneous (xylophone, two sets of finger cymbals, sandpaper blocks, tambourines). How do you take instruments out? The same way that I do egg shakers; the instruments are always in a container and I pass them out one by one. How do you store the instruments?: In plastic bins or fabric bins,…

Blogger Katie Salo

Parachute in Storytime

Several children stand underneath a giant parachute. Most of them are blurry from action. In the middle stands a librarian, holding up part of the parachute.

Today’s installment of storytime props is the parachute in storytime. (Previous post: Scarves in Storytime and Egg Shakers in Storytime.) Are you ready to go over the basics? What size parachute do you use?: I have three different parachutes at the library. Two fit in our smaller programming room (parachutes size 10 feet and size 12 feet). This works for classes of 20 kids or smaller. Our large parachute fits our large programming room (parachute size 24 feet). I’ve used this parachute in classes with 70 kids before. How do you take the parachute out and put the parachute away?: In our large music & movement program, I ask the kids to find their grown-ups and stay with them while I pass out the parachute. For classes when I’m the only grown-up in the room, I have the kids touch the wall until I finish setting up the parachute. This…

Blogger Katie Salo

Egg Shakers in Storytime

A child is sitting on the grass, holding a blue bin. Inside the blue is a red egg shaker covered in paint, rolling around the sheet of paper at the bottom.

Today’s installment of storytime props are egg shakers in storytime. (Previous post: Scarves in Storytime.) Before we dive in, let’s cover some of the basics: How do you pass egg shakers out?: Um, as un-chaotically as I can. I have a basket at the front of the room and ask the children to come up and take an egg. It takes a bit of time to pass them out, but it works at my library. I’ve heard of librarian having caregivers take an egg as they come in and hide it until it’s egg shaker time. I’ve also heard of librarians who have prop baskets throughout the room.   How do you put egg shakers away, keep them clean, and store them?: I ask everyone to clean up together. Sometimes, I call out, “If you have a red shaker, come put it away” or “If you are two years old,…

Blogger Katie Salo

Scarves in Storytime

If you don’t use scarves in storytime, I’m going to (hopefully) change your mind with this blog post. But first! Read Abby Johnson’s 2016 ALSC blog post Scarves in Storytime to get a scarves primer down. Welcome back! (You did go read Abby’s post, right?) Abby did an amazing job covering the basics of using scarves in storytime, answering questions like: “How do you hand scarves out?”, “What do you do with them?”, and “How do you put scarves?”. But what about questions regarding Using Scarves in Storytime 201? How do you keep scarves clean? A time-honored, important question to ask. After every storytime, our scarves are washed in a washing machine. Here at the library, our washing machine is a top-loader, so I do use a delicates bag to protect the delicate fabric of our scarves. After a wash, they’re line-dried on a clothesrack. If your library doesn’t have…

Blogger Katie Salo

Kindergarten Bootcamp

It’s the mid-point of summer reading and school supplies have started popping up in stores around us. Know what it’s time for? Kindergarten Bootcamp! Kindergarten Bootcamp is a four-day program designed to give entering kindergarteners the opportunity to experience a classroom setting and practice being a student before starting school. We review kindergarten concepts (alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes) while practicing social-emotional skills like sharing, lining up, transitioning, and group work. Quick Details The class is capped at twenty-five kids. Three staff members participate: one primary teacher, one music teacher, and one art teacher. Class runs from 9:30-11:00 a.m. so we do work on an abbreviated schedule. Caregivers do not stay with their child past drop-off. Set-Up I use our large meeting room and have two different areas set up: one group area and one station area. On days when I schedule art or music, those are held in our…

Blogger Katie Salo

State Reading Lists & the Early Literacy Librarian

One of my favorite tools in my librarian toolbox are our state reading lists. Before I get into the reasons that the state reading lists are awesome, I’ll give you a quick overview. A Quick Overview In Illinois, a committee made up of teachers, librarians, and educators chooses a list of twenty nominees. From those twenty nominees, kids and teens can read and then vote in February/March for the reader’s choice award. The book with the most votes then wins the Award for the year the voting took place. Illinois has four lists: Monarch Award for K-3rd graders Bluestem Award for 3rd-5th graders Rebecca Caudill Award for 4th-8th graders Abraham Lincoln Award for 9th-12th graders Many other states have their own lists. Some are by grade and some are by subject. (Check out Texas Maverick Graphic Novel Lists!) Why I Love State Reading Lists First of all, most of our…

Blogger Katie Salo

Helping Patrons Navigate Beginning Readers

As the librarian responsible for the beginning readers section at my library, I’ve been working on ways to help my patrons navigate beginning readers. And there was a ton of room for improvement! So…before I got started, this section looked like this: It’s a functioning section, of course. Patrons could reach the books and browse. But it wasn’t the experience that our picture book bins provided. Comparing the two sections (that are right next to each other), I could see that the readers were being left behind. I knew I needed a plan. Weed. The kind of deep weed where you not only check circulation and condition but also content. Is this book a good beginning reader? Has it been surpassed by a newer book? Tidy. Those half-haphazardly placed displays were not working and looked awful when empty. And the shelves were a nightmare! Nothing held up the books in…

Blogger Katie Salo

Five Quick Tips for Book Displays

For the past few months at the library, it’s all about the book displays! I’ve been working on our new centralized display area, as well as some other face-out displays on acrylic holders. It’s been wonderful getting to work on displays again and I love promoting our materials this way! And now…I give you my five quick tips for book displays: Keep your sign short and sweet. I love being creative and creating display pieces, but I have recently adopted the idea of “less is more”. Since I manage so much more at this library than I did in times past, I love taking advantage of signs that are already pre-made or tweaking signs to serve my purpose. My library uses LibraryAware and I love it, but there are other sources such as Canva. Diversify your displays. Make sure that you’re reflecting your community in your book displays. I make…