Blogger Katie Salo

Stretchy Band in Storytime

A blue patterned drawstring bag with a large multi-color fabric band -- "stretchy band" -- on a wooden desk.

Today’s installment of storytime props is the stretchy band in storytime. (Previous posts: Instruments in Storytime, Parachute in Storytime, Scarves in Storytime, and Egg Shakers in Storytime.) I’d like to introduce you to my newest music and movement prop: the stretchy band! What *is* a stretchy band? The easiest comparison is a really big hair scrunchie. It’s a fabric band with tubing on the inside that works like a rubber band. It’s a great tool for music and movement classes, as well as a sensory storytime. How do you take the stretchy band out? I have the kiddos and caregivers sit or stand in a circle and I pass out parts of the stretchy band from the center. This also works well for collecting the band. The great thing about the stretchy band is that it’s easier to clean up than a parachute. Comfortably, about thirty toddler/preschool children can use…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Story Time Deep Dive at #alamw19

I have been lucky to connect with the amazing Mel (of Mel’s Desk) at past conferences, and she has been gracious to host some story time deep dives, at the Networking Uncommons, where attendees can come and chat about story time and youth services and brainstorm answers! If you are unfamiliar with Networking Uncommons it is a free space like a makeshift empty meeting room with tables and chairs to have informal meetups or just hang and chat. There are some art supplies and button makers if you feel the need to do some crafting! See my awesome coloring page from the Office of Intellectual Freedom that I started during this meetup! This year, the spot is super hard to find– across the street from the convention center and away from all the action of midwinter. But, we were joined by one other children’s librarian, and for 2 hours we…

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 Building Partnerships committee

Enhancing the Mind-Body Connection in Your Storytime

Long stretches of sitting can leave grown-ups stiff and little ones antsy.  Since exercise is known to boost children’s cognitive performance as well as stimulate their brain growth (Dewar 2015), why not incorporate some gentle movement into your next story break?  Tai chi, yoga, and your own creative take on physical expression can build the mind-body connection, and successful partnerships between multi-hyphenate authors, elementary educators, a public library, and a local nonprofit offer a roadmap for recreating a movement-filled storytime in your own space. If this is your first time incorporating movement into your classroom or library read-aloud, try starting with a book that will offer you and the children some basic guidance.  When an opportunity arose to bring author Sylvia Liu to a classroom for a tai chi-based book presentation in the spring of 2017, children’s literacy nonprofit An Open Book Foundation (AOB), which brings authors, illustrators, and their…

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 Kaitlin Frick

Oral Storytelling: Not Just for Grandma Anymore

Some of my best childhood memories revolve around my Grandma Juanita’s stories of her childhood. From tales of picking cotton – a story that taught me grown-ups always know when you’re lying – to a yarn about being chased by a bull, Grandma Juanita told the best stories. She also instilled in me a deep and lasting love of oral storytelling. It wasn’t until attaining my MLS that I’d come to realize the literacy benefits of such storytelling. While little formal research has been done into the effect of oral storytelling on early literacy acquisition, anecdotal evidence supports the theory that storytelling (as distinguished from story reading): teaches social and emotional skills; builds vocabulary; helps children become better listeners and readers; reinforces the importance of imagination and creativity; and promotes cultural awareness and expression, among other things.