It’s funny that I was just planning on writing a post about how I document my notes for storytime, and there are on Mel’s Desk was a post in March about this exact thing.
My only storytime responsibility is for infants at my library. As a result, I’ve found I’m not incredibly organized about how my notes get filed (ahem…”filed”…) away. If I was doing multiple storytimes for various ages, I’d need a different approach.
I hand-write my notes on whatever paper is around andput it at my feet while I’m doing storytime. I should say that this method isn’t fool-proof–my notes have been stolen by a wayward baby more than once. At first I felt self-conscious about needing notes, but nobody really cares or notices, as far as I can tell. After storytime, I stick that note in a clear plastic paper protector, along with all the other notes from this year’s storytimes. HAHAHA. I’m just now realizing that maybe this isn’t the best system. But it is one that works for me for now!
Additionally, I keep a list (an actual Word Doc that others can reference or print if need-be) of the books I’ve used in Infant Storytime for the session. When co-workers or patrons ask me I can check there first. I like to have a print-out of this list in a file folder, just in case I need to make a photocopy quickly. This file also comes in handy for making thematic bookmarks.
As disorganized and higgeldy-piggeldy as my aforementioned system might seem, I do have a specific outline for what happens IN storytime, and it was taught to me by my old boss who has moved on to sunny Georgia (from whence he came). When I was first hired at my library, it was my first library job EVER. I had no idea how to run a successful storytime. My boss gave me a great outline to try, and it saves me every single time. It works for every age group. All I have to worry about is finding books and activities that I love and filling in the blanks.
1. Opening Song + Shake Your Sillies Out (it’s good to get kids of all ages moving. You can sub in your favorite movement song).
2. Add in 5 or 6 big movement/stand-up rhymes and songs, like Ring Around the Rosie or the Hokey Pokey.
3. First book.
4. 5 or 6 small movement/sit-down rhymes. Lap rhymes, fingerplays, etc.
5. Second book.
6. Shaker egg song.
7. Little Mouse! This is probably one of my favorite parts. It’s so simple, and kids from birth on up really enjoy it. You have multiple houses taped up on the wall. A mouse is taped beneath one. Simply knock on each house and ask, “Little mouse, little mouse, are you in the ______house?” Lift the house and see if the mouse is there! Parents love it, too. In fact, my baby storytime parents just pranked me a few weeks ago by moving the mouse on me before storytime! Tricky. Could easily be made of felt for a felt board.
7. Good-bye song and bubbles. I keep it the same song (“Twinkle, Twinkle” off the Catch the Moon CD by Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell).
Of course, this doesn’t take into account all the time you spend looking for the perfect books, rhymes, songs+activities, etc., or all the early literacy tie-ins you might be making, or any handouts you might be considering. But, it sure is a nice outline to use for any storytime. Did a co-worker call out sick and you need to plan a preschool storytime in less than an hour? Use this outline and it just may save your storytime!