Last week we got an email asking how to build confidence in delivering a storytime, especially if you’re new to the field or not used to working with young children. I wrote up these tips, and rather than having them disappear into the interwebs, I decided to share them here in case other people are looking for some ideas on how to become more confident in providing storytimes to children ages 0-5.
1. Find Songs You are Comfortable Singing
2. Use the Same Hello and Goodbye Song Each Week
3. Choose Age Appropriate Materials
4. Ask a Co-worker to Observe You (and Vice Versa)
This can be nerve wracking but getting someone to give you feedback can be a big confidence booster! They’ll let you know all the things you did awesome and things you can improve. If you’re not sure where you’re going wrong, having another set of eyes can shed some light (or simply let you know you already rock!). Ideally, this person would be someone who also does storytime and can look for things like book selection, pacing, interaction with kids, early literacy message, etc. On the flip side, try to observe as many other storytimers as possible. I’ve gotten so many good ideas from watching my colleagues, and it’s perfectly acceptable to take the things you like about their style and adapt it to yours.
5. Build Relationships with the Families
Something that has really helped me feel more confident is getting to know the families at my library. Know their names – the kids, especially. That way when the toddler is trying to pull the felts off the board you can say, “Felt stories are so fun, aren’t they Sophie? But we’re going to leave those up there for now and play with them later.” You can also ask the kids to sing with you before you start a song. For example, I say something like, ” Who’s ready to do Roly Poly? Jayden are you ready? Show me your hands; let’s start rolling them like this.” Having that connection with the kids and parents lets them know that I care and that I am friendly.
6. Check out Storytime Underground
7. Try New Things
Don’t be afraid to try something different. If you’re taking over for another librarian, it’s totally fine to mix things up. Maybe his or her style isn’t your style. I started to incorporate egg shakers, scarves, and bells into storytime because that’s what I love. My co-worker on the other hand uses tons of puppets. Both work great for our families! So don’t be afraid to switch things up and ask the families for feedback.
So my fellow storytimers, what are your tips? Please leave a comment with your ideas!