Friday, September 27, 2013

B is for Bedtime...and other night time things!

The second week of storytime this school year was challenging...mostly because I don't feel like I am really back into the "swing of things".  But after a mediocre Wednesday program, I revamped for a much smoother Thursday program.  Weekly repeated songs found here.

Books on Wednesday

Chicken Bedtime is Really Early by Erica S. Perl; illustrated by George Bates
I think this is a very cute book and I liked it a lot...however the font in the book is very difficult to read aloud while holding the book to the side, especially the letter "s".  Here is an example of the print:

Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep by Kimiko Kajikawa

I didn't want to present Chicken Bedtime again since it was so difficult to I changed up the books for Thursday.  The children seemed to like both of them.

Books on Thursday

Tick-Tock, Drip-Drop! A Bedtime Story by Nicola Moon; illustrated by Eleanor Taylor

Good Night, Sleep Tight, Little Bunnies by Dawn Apperley

Songs on both days

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
I emphasized to the parents/caregivers the importance of singing--how singing slows language down and children then hear the individual sounds in the words of the song.  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is a prime example of this.

My Thumbs are Starting to Wiggle
(Tune: The Bear went over the mountain)

My thumbs are starting to wiggle, my thumbs are starting to wiggle, 
My thumbs are starting to wiggle, wiggle all around.

Additional verses:
My fingers
My toes
My feet
My hands
My arms
My legs
My body
Last, but not tongue!

Additional Song on Thursday

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Nursery Rhyme

Wee Willie Winkie

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town
Upstairs and downstairs in his night-gown.
Rapping at the windows, crying at the locks
Are the children all in bed, for now it's eight o'clock?

To "play" with this nursery rhyme, we replaced in bed to things we do to get ready for bed--such as brushing their teeth, putting on PJs, taking a bath, reading a book.  Each time we'd repeat the whole rhyme and put in the new phrase.

Enrichment Activities

Glue square and triangles on pattern for a quilt
Sewing Cards
Sorting pictures between night and day onto magnet board

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


An outreach preschool storytime to Kindercare (presented on September 9) and Welcome School (presented on September 24)

It has been so hot here in Nebraska, that I couldn't bring myself to present a storytime on Autumn (yet).  We just finished celebrating ladybugs at our DIY table in August, I decided to continue the theme for my first outreach storytimes of the school year!

To start off we helped our poor ladybug find her spots by singing this song:

Pretty Ladybug (tune: Muffin Man)

Ladybug has no black spots,
No black spots, no black spots,
Ladybug has no black spots.
Pretty Ladybug.

Ladybug has one black spot,
One black spot, one black spot,
Ladybug has one black spot.
Pretty Ladybug.

Ladybug has two black spots,
Two black spots, two black spots,
Ladybug has two black spots.
Pretty Ladybug.

Continue adding black spots to the ladybug until it is filled.  I did six total.  I used math terms as I added spots, such as "The ladybug has two spots.  When I add one more spot she will have..."

We then read  What the Ladybug Heard by Julia Donaldson; illustrated by Lydia Monks

I introduced this story by asking the children what different farm animals say.  Then I told them that in this book there are a lot of those farm animals, but there is also a ladybug.  "What does a ladybug say?"  

Although the book is rhyming I let the children make all the animals sounds instead of reading the words, --which means for that part it doesn't rhyme (The cow says _______.  The duck says _______).  But the kids enjoy participating...which is more important than having those two pages rhyme, since the rest of the book does!

To stretch the legs and get the wiggles out we stood to sing this song that I made up about ladybugs.  I cut out clipart ladybugs for the children to hold and "fly around" for the song.

There's a Ladybug in the Air
There's a ladybug in the air, in the air.
There's a ladybug in the air, in the air.
There's a ladybug in the air, she flies without a care.
There's a ladybug in the air, in the air.

There's a ladybug in my hair, in my hair.
There's a ladybug in my hair, in my hair,
There's a ladybug in the air, try to catch her if you dare.
There's a ladybug in my hair, in my hair.

There's a ladybug on my toes, on my toes
There's a ladybug on my toes, on my toes
There's a ladybug on my toes, she stopped to take a doze.
There's a ladybug on my toes, on my toes.

There's a ladybug on my thumb, on my thumb
There's a ladybug on my thumb, on my thumb
There's a ladybug on my thumb, chewing bubble gum
There's a ladybug on my thumb, on my thumb.

There's a ladybug on my chest, on my chest
There's a ladybug on my chest, on my chest
There's a ladybug on my chest, she stopped to take a rest
There's a ladybug on my chest, on my chest.

There's a ladybug in the air, in the air
There's a ladybug in the air, in the air
There's a ladybug in the air, she flies without a care
There's a ladybug in the air, in the air.

The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn and Jack Tickle

Our final fingerplay was Five Little Ladybugs

Five little ladybugs climbing up a door,
One flew away, then there were four.
Four little ladybugs sitting on a tree,
One flew away, then there were three.
Three little ladybugs landed on a shoe,
One flew away, then there were two.
Two little ladybugs looking for some fun,
One flew away, then there was one.
One little ladybug sitting in the sun,
She flew away, then there were none!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A is for Apples...and other things we eat!

It was wonderful to be back with my preschoolers today at storytime!  Another year, so we are beginning again at the beginning of the alphabet.  But this time instead of focusing solely on the letter and sound I've changed it to encompass the letter and then build a theme around one specific thing that starts with the letter.

So A is for apples...and other things we eat.

Here are the words to our repeating songs we do every week.


The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall; illustrated by Shari Halpern

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Flannel Board/Fingerplays

Five Hungry Ants

Five hungry ants, marching in a line,
Came upon a picnic where they could dine.
They marched into the salad, they marched into the cake,
They marched into the pepper. Uh oh, that was a mistake!
4 hungry ants… etc.


“There was a man made of food. Made of food, made of food!
There was a man made of food. His name was Flip-Flap Jack.

His head was made of a pancake. A pancake, a pancake!
His head was made of a pancake. His name was Flip-Flap Jack.

Additional verses:
His hair was made of whipped cream
His ears were made of oranges.
His eyes were two blueberries.
His mouth was a sausage.
His body was a waffle.
His arms were two bananas.
His legs were strips of bacon.
His feet were made of French toast.
His nose was a strawberry.

"Stand-up" Song

The Ants Go Marching

The ants go marching one by one; Hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one; Hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stopped to suck his thumb
And they all go marching the get out of the rain
Boom!  Boom!  Boom!

Two by two--The little one stopped to tie his shoe
Three by three--The little one stopped to climb a tree
Four by four--The little one stopped to shut the door
Five by five--The little one shouted, "I'm glad I'm alive!"

Nursery Rhyme

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner
Eating his Christmas pie
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum
And said, "What a good boy am I!"

This year instead of just reciting the nursery rhyme we are playing with it.  Today we said the rhyme three more times, but this time substituting something else we could eat for the plum.  Wednesday we did banana, apple, and peach.  Thursday's group did banana, apple, and candy.

Enrichment Activities

Imaginative Play
  • Bake cookies
  • Make a pizza

  • Circle the food you like to eat on the paper and color

  • Playdough (fine motor skill development)

  • Matching game with different foods

The children on Thursday had fun rearranging Flip Flap Jack!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013-2014 Storytime Songs and Chants

Here are the repeating songs and chants we will do every week at Preschool Storytime.

(tune: ABC Song; words by Tammy Henry)

Welcome all to storytime
We will sing and we will rhyme
Read a book and then we'll play
Time for storytime
Hip, hip, hooray!
Now we'll sing our ABCs
We'll do them all, just wait and see!


Now I've sung my ABCs,
Let's start storytime, yessiree!

Sound Bus Song
(tune: Wheels on the Bus)

The A on the bus goes /a/, /a/, /a/,
/a/, /a/, /a/, 
/a/, /a/, /a/,
The A on the bus goes /a/, /a/, /a/
On the bus is apple.

Of course, with this song you will substitute a different letter and sound each week.  I have four different objects "ride the bus" so we sing the song four times.

Rhyme Time Song

I'm so happy that you've come to storytime
Now listen very carefully to my rhyme
Stand up straight...and stomp your feet
Clap twice...and take a seat
We'll begin when I ring...
The rhyme chime.

(this is followed by a Nursery Rhyme)

ABC Chant

Now it's time to say goodbye

Animal Goodbyes

See ya later, alligator!
Blow a kiss, goldfish!
Be sweet, parakeet!
Take care, polar bear!
Give a hug, ladybug!
Todaloo, kangaroo!
See ya soon, raccoon!
Bye-bye, butterfly!
Out the door, dinosaur!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Preschool Storytime to Start!


Preschool Storytime will start again on September 18.  We will run two sessions again this year--Wednesdays at 10 AM and repeated on Thursdays at 10 AM.

The format will be similar to past years--a letter a week approach.  However, this year I am changing things up a little bit and making each letter more of a theme.  For example, our first week is going to be "A is for Apples (and other things we eat!)".  

 During the first part of storytime we will focus mostly on the letter, its sound, and words that start with that letter.  The rest of storytime will focus more on the theme for the day.  Following storytime children and parents/caregivers are invited to stay and participate in enrichment activities.  These activities will include such things as playdough, coloring, cutting, gluing, imaginative play, games, and other "expereince" type activities.  Children can choose to do all, or just some of the activities.  Parents are encouraged do the activities with their child and enjoy time together.  This is also a time for children to interact with each other and for parents to talk with other parents.

Preschool Storytime will incorporate all of five elements of Every Child Ready to Read:  singing, talking, reading, playing and writing.  These practices help to build a foundation for future reading and learning...and they are all fun and easy to do!

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library®, PLA and ALSC logos are registered trademarks of the American Library Association and are used with permission.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Owl" Always Love You!

In September we celebrate Grandparent's Day!  This month at the Do It Yourself table we have several activities focusing on our grandparents...and even a special owl craft you  can make to give to them to let them know how much you love them!
Here are the activities for this month!
  • Make an owl out of hearts to give your grandparent(s) with a little heart that says, "'Owl' Always Love You"!

We got a huge donation of wallpaper samples
from our local Sherwin Williams!
I wasn't sure if wallpaper books were even around anymore!

  • Fill out a "family tree" with the names of your parents and your grandparents!
  • Solve three logic puzzles!
  • Color a picture!

So remember to stop by the Do It Yourself table any time you visit the library!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Every Child Ready to Read Overview

Last week I presented an overview of Every Child Ready to Read to parents involved in the Bellevue Public Schools program "Parent Connections".  I developed this program with the help of Every Child Ready to Read, as well as my own knowledge gained from study and practice.

I began the workshop by stressing the important role the parent(s) have as their child's first teacher and also that the practices I will be talking about are probably things they are already doing or things that can easily be incorporated into their day.  As parents strive to be more mindful their interactions with their child, early literacy skills can easily be introduced and emphasized.

Often new parents feel awkward talking to an infant or singing silly songs to a toddler.  But as parents understand the importance of early literacy skills they will begin to do these important activities with their child and soon those actions become natural as they see the benefits.

I think it is so important for parents to understand that they do NOT need special equipment and they can start where ever they are.  It's never too early...or too begin using these five practices that build early literacy skills in children.

Talking is not talking to a child, but talking with a child.  Using conversational style talking and listening--allowing a baby to respond in gurgles.  It is asking children questions that get them talking instead of asking questions that a child can respond to with a nod or a simple yes or no.  Parents can easily build vocabulary by expanding on what a child says.
Parent:  "What do you see out the window?"
Child: "Car"
Parent: "I see a big, blue car driving down the street.  It is driving very fast!  What else do you see?"
...and so forth.

Use wordless or nearly wordless picture books so the child can "tell the story" and you can ask questions, listen, and respond to the child.  One of my favorite nearly wordless picture books is Good Night, Gorilla  by Peggy Rathmann.

The pictures tell of the story of a little gorilla unlocking the zoo cages, letting all the animals out!  Children can talk about what the gorilla is doing, what animals are at the zoo and what they think will happen.  

I love how singing slows down language and we begin to hear individual sounds!  First, I had the group say say the rhyme "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".  Then we sang it.  We all noticed the rhythm and the syllables and individual sounds.  We also noticed that it took us over twice as long to sing it as to "say" it.  

I recommended listening to children's music in the car, at bed time, and during play.  The library has many children's CDs they can borrow.  We also have many books that can be sung.  Two examples:

Raffi has all kinds of songs into books, such as The Wheels on the Bus

and books by Iza Trapani, such as The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

I also spent a little time discussing how to create "piggy back" songs--taking a familiar tune and changing the words.  For example:  use the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and change the words to fit the situation, such as, "Now it's time to clean up toys, clean up toys, clean up toys. Now it's time to clean up toys so we can eat our lunch!"  Singing instructions is so much more fun than yelling them (for parent and child!)

As Every Child Ready to Read emphasizes, "Reading together with your children is the single most important way to help them get ready to read."  I also stress to keep the reading experience positive.  Keep it fun and enjoyable!  Don't force a young child to sit and listen--instead make it a bonding experience--something they look forward to!  Two books I showed the parents, both by Mem Fox, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever

and her picture book, Time for Bed.

And although parent usually groan when I remind them that re-reading books is very good for children, I stress it nonetheless.  Because re-reading books is vital for children to begin to understand that the words in the book will always tell the same story in the same way.  Children may even memorize the book and can then "read" the book to you!  This is a perfect opportunity to then point to the printed word as they "read", thus making another connection with print.

Try reading books that have repeated phrases, actions, movement or singing.  Mrs. Wishy-Washy is an example of a book that uses a repeating phrase that children can join in on or "read".

Nursery rhymes are also a great thing to read aloud to children.  They are short, fun, and easy to remember.  Since they rhyme the parent can leave off the last word of a line and allow the child to fill it in, such as: "Little Bo Peep has lost her ______."  Through nursery rhymes we also introduce new vocabulary that we can discuss together.  What is wool, master and lane in "Baa, Baa Black Sheep?"  I love Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose, illustrated by Scott Gustafson.  The illustrations are full page and beautiful!  The library has large variety of Mother Goose to choose from.

Finally, I stressed the importance of continuing to read aloud to their children even when they learn to read on their own.  I learned from personal experience that reading loses much of its fun when all you are doing is sounding out words!  Here is part of my "reading journey".   So I stress to parents the great opportunity to continue to share books together as their child learns to read.  I recommended Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook which has excellent read aloud suggestions.

Writing is not just copying letters on a worksheet!  Writing is using crayons, pencils, markers, chalk, paintbrushes, etc. to express themselves.  Writing to learning that one can put symbols on paper of what is said and then someone else can then read it.  One of the first things a child learns to write is their name, which is important to them.  Children should be supported in all their writing efforts--from scribbling to "making marks" to trying to make letter shapes to first letter of the word writing.  These are all stages a child goes through on their writing journey.

Writing also involves developing small motor skills.  This may look a lot like play--puzzles, blocks, beads, cutting with scissors, and playdough.  These kinds of activities strengthens their fingers and hands so they can control the writing utensil.

(By this time my hour was almost up, so here is what I emphasized to the parents)
Imaginative play is vital--pretending to cook, shop, take of a baby.  This is the best kind of play for toddlers and preschool children.  Keep "screen time" to a minimum, which includes TV, DVDs, computer games, and hand-held devices.  Parents should strive to buy toys that encourage unstructured play such as blocks, balls, playdough, and pretend play toys.

I will be doing another Every Child Ready to Read presentation in October.  I will be focusing on one of the five practices.