I can plan a preschool storytime with my eyes closed, but when it comes to planning school-aged storytimes I am much less confident. Thankfully there are some really fantastic blogs out there with book and song recommendations for this age group. Do you read Storytime All-Stars? Well you should because she has tons of thematic school-age storytime outlines. There’s also the Harris County Public Library’s master list of storytime themes with a column for school-age storytimes. I love Jen in the Library’s school age posts because she shows how to take one theme and adapt it for multiple age groups. And a new-to-me blog that has a great variety of seasonal themes is Carol Simon Levin’s Program Palooza. Next, we’ve got the fabulous Abby the Librarian who has a series of posts on her afterschool storytimes. Lastly, for school age programming in general my favourite resources are Thrive After Three and Bryce Don’t Play. All of these wonderful bloggers inspired me to create a Pinterest board where I’ll be adding School Age Storytime Books and Songs that work for kids ages 5-12.
For this Grade 1 storytime I stuck with a loose theme of “funny stuff” or things that make you laugh. I wanted to promote the library as a fun and welcoming space and what better way than to read about farting dogs and talking crayons. I was inspired by a blog post (which I can’t find now!) where someone did booktalks during a school visit by offering the kids choices between books, kind of like in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure. Giving kids a choice in what they read is a great way to adapt your storytimes for older kids. So here’s what I did:
1. Welcome and Introduction
After introducing myself, I briefly went over these key messages.
- The library is for everyone!
- You can borrow lots of things from the library! (Ask kids for examples)
- The library is a place to have fun!
- You can learn new things at the library!
To emphasize this last point, we started by singing “The More We Get Together” using sign language.
2. Walter the Farting Dog VS. Brief Thief
I asked the kids if they’d rather read about a farting dog or an iguana who uses underwear as toilet paper. Not surprisingly, they chose the farting dog.
3. Fruit Salad
To adapt this song for school-age kids, we brainstormed different fruits and vegetables that had three and four syllables. They were really into it! I also asked them to create the hand movements, so they were essentially creating their own song.
4. The Three Ninja Pigs VS. The Day the Crayons Quit
Their teacher had just read Drew Daywalt’s gem of a book, so they voted on the ninja pigs. I seriously love this book! The rhymes are clever and funny and I especially appreciate the fact that one of the pigs is a girl.
5. Herman the Worm
One of my favourite songs to teach school age kids. If you’re worried about promoting cannibalism (umm, do you see that look on my face?), you can do a tamer version where Herman eats fruits and vegetables. The kids actually knew this version though and we had a blast adding in other family members!
6. Felt Story: Too Much Noise
Based on the book by Anne McGovern, I learned this story in my MLIS program and have been itching to try it out. I asked for a volunteer to make each animal sound as a way to get the kids involved with telling the story. I also passed out scarves and we waved them each time we said, “Outside the wind blew the leaves through the trees (whoosh whoosh). The leaves fell on the roof (swish swish).” It’s a funny little folktale that conveys the message that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.
7. Book Browsing Time
After we finished the felt story, I told them that I would love to help them find a book to take home so they could continue learning and having fun. These kids were already familiar with the library, plus my branch is pretty small, so we spent the second half of their visit searching for books and reading together. All in all it was a great visit!
13 thoughts on “Grade 1 Storytime: Funny Stuff”
Thank you so much for this post! I’m doing a storytime for a visiting class of 1st graders this week and I wasn’t sure how to organize it. I found this post on your blog and it was perfect! I love the idea of letting them choose which stories they read and that helps me too since my stack of potential books to share has just been growing. 🙂 I know you hear it all the time but both of you ladies are amazing and have helped me tremendously in my young career as a children’s librarian. Thanks again!
Thank you, Heather! I haven’t blogged much about my school-age storytimes so I’m so glad this one is useful. And we never tire of getting compliments – they really make our day! 🙂
How did you make the animal felt pieces?
They are from an old felt set that my library owns, so I didn’t make them myself. You could probably find some not-too-hard patterns online. Sunflower Storytime has a cute set of printables here: https://sunflowerstorytime.com/2011/04/25/farm-animals/
Hi ladies! Thank you thank you thank you for posting these ideas. I am responsible for a family storytime at my branch, and I have such a hard time planning for the group of 8-9 year olds that tend to show up. Like you said, I can plan a preschool storytime in my sleep, but school age ones are much more challenging for me. I’m going to try some of these ideas and browse your pinterest board for more ideas. Thanks again for all you do!
Thank you, Mimi, for your kind words! We try to add to our Pinterest boards whenever we find a good idea. Be sure to let us know if you come across any great reads for this age 🙂
Dana & Lindsey, I just happened upon your kind words and link to my blog Program Palooza (http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/) . Thanks for including it! I love the stories you included above and have done Hermie the Worm and another version of “No More Room” called “A Squash and a Squeeze” based on the book by Julia Donaldson for many happy kids over the years. This is an age group that loves hands on programming. In addition to seasonal storytimes, I have added plans for fairytale engineering, STEAM storytime surprises, “Picture This” art & artist programming, and many more ideas on my site. I hope your readers will visit. Happy to help with ideas, logistics, tunes, and books!
Thank YOU, Carol! Your blog is an invaluable resource for those of us serving children 🙂
I so often turn to your ideas and now have to do grade 1 class visit. It is to be a large group of 60 kids at 1 time (wanted less but that is what they are sending) – Herman the worm was going to be a choice. “To much Noise” felt might be to small for them to see at the back but dividing them into sounds may work. Any suggestions?
60 kids is a lot! I would probably shy away from a felt story altogether because I don’t have any that are big enough in size. But your idea of dividing them into groups to do the animal sounds could work for Too Much Noise. You could also ask for a volunteer to come stand up at the front for each animal. Something to make it more of a performance. With large groups I often choose to do a draw-and-tell story or an oral story. Chicken in the Library and Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle would be great for Grade 1. You can find them here: https://www.pinterest.ca/jbrary/oral-storytelling/
All the best to you! I’m sure whatever you do will be awesome 🙂
That’s so funny, the only version of Hermie the Worm I learned was where he eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Who came up with the cannibalism spin?! lol
haha, I have no idea! It’s such a weird little ditty.