There are a lot of things that go into a successful storytime, but planning is a huge part.
Whether you are doing a storytime with kids at a library or in your classroom, having a plan in your mind beforehand will eliminate those engagement killing moments where you putz with a CD player or ponder what to read next.
Most storytimes, regardless of setting, have similar components.
- Songs, rhymes, fingerplays
- Group or small group activities
We’re going to break these down a little.
5 Elements of a Successful Storytime
Before you ever say or sing or read anything, your kids will walk into your space. The space should be welcoming, organized, and child friendly. A few things to consider about your space;
- Is it clear where everyone should sit?
- Is it clean, organized, and inviting without being overwhelming?
- Have you put away or covered up things that aren’t child friendly? Kids will touch anything and everything they can.
Remember learning in school that when you are writing something you need to grab the readers’ attention from the start? Storytime works the same way.
There are TONS of great hello songs – but find one (or a couple) that you love and sing it every week. Your songs should be engaging and get the kids moving a little and excited about being at storytime.
The books you choose are so key to success. One of my goals here is to share excellent books to help with this.
There is a difference between a great book and a great read aloud book. If you are reading to a group there are certain books that appeal to a bigger crowd. I try to indicate on my lists which books fit in this category.
You will also want to think about your audience. A group of babies and toddlers will not sit as long as a group of 4 year olds. This is less obvious than you might think.
Another note – make sure you have read your choices aloud before you read them at storytime.
You want to read with emotion and as much appropriate drama as you can. This is impossible to do if you don’t know the book well.
3. Songs, Rhymes, and Fingerplays
Break up your storytime a little with some songs, rhymes, and fingerplays. This is an opportunity for your little listeners to move a little.
These activities are also a fun way to introduce vocabulary, concepts, and other learning in a playful format.
The songs you choose will again depend on your group. Their age, interests, developmental goals, etc should all impact the songs you choose.
4. Group or Small Group Activities
I have seen this part of storytime done so many different ways and done it differently myself depending on the group I was working with at the time.
For some groups you may skip this step entirely and just stick to songs. That’s fine.
Many storytimes will either contain some sort of learning activity or movement activity integrated in between or after the books. These often relate to the theme and learning objectives.
Sometimes they are just fun.
Other times, a table activity or stations are introduced during group time for the kids and/or families to do after story time. These again will vary depending on your group, space, allotted time, etc.
Regardless of your setting, it is traditional for storytimes to end with some sort of goodbye or transition song or rhyme. This is just a nice way to draw everything together and help kids get ready to move to the next thing in their day whatever that may be.
Ready to Plan?
I like to jot out my plan before each storytime. I write out the different parts of the storytime and my general ideas for each.
Sometimes the plan changes.
Reading your audience is part of the job of anyone doing a storytime. However, like I said at the beginning – having a plan in mind is key to success.
I typed up a simple version of a Storytime Plan for you!
Feel free to print as many copies as you would like for your personal use. Please do not reproduce or duplicate or redistribute without permission. Thank you.
And make sure to SUBSCRIBE BELOW to get a weekly storytime idea!