Guerrilla Storytime: British Columbia Library Conference 2014

At the British Columbia Library Conference this week Lindsey and I hosted Canada’s second ever (Go Nova Scotia!) Guerrilla Storytime. We had an awesome and dare I say brilliant group of 40 Youth Services library folk all ready to take on the Challenge Cup.

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Here is what went down…

1. Share your favourite welcome or hello song.

Hello Friends with sign language
Hello, friends. (x3)
It’s time to say hello.

Goodbye, friends (x3)
It’s time to say goodbye.

The More We Get Together with sign language
The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together the happier we’ll be.
Cause your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends
The more we get together the happier we’ll be.

The More We Read Together
The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
Cause your books are my books and my books are your books.
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.

The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
Read big books and small books, read short books and tall books
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.

Come Along and Sing With Me
Come along and sing with, sing with me, sing with me
Come along and sing with me
On this storytime morning
(clap with me, roll with me, stomp, shake…)

Hello Everybody and How Are You?
Hello everybody and how are you, how are you, how are you?
Hello everybody and how are you, how are you today?
Hello everybody and clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands
Hello everybody and clap your hands, clap your hands today.
(stomp your feet, roll your arms…)

Gilly Gilly Gilly Good Morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning, good morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning to you.
Mini mack mini mack mini mini mini mack
Mini mack mini mack mini morning
Mini mack mini mack mini mini mini mack
Mini mack mini mack mini morning.
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning, good morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning to you.

Who Came to the Library? (Use with a mirror and beautiful baby for best results)
Who came to the library?
Lindsey, Lindsey!
Who came to the library
Lindsey did!

Well Hello Everybody, Can You…
Well hello everybody can you touch your nose, touch your nose, touch your nose?
Well hello everybody can you touch your nose, touch your nose?
Well hello everybody can you touch your toes, touch your toes, touch your toes?
Well hello everybody can you touch your toes, touch your toes?
(Pat your head, rub your tummy…)

Bread and Butter
Bread and butter, marmalade and jam
Let’s say hello/goodbye as high as we can!
(low, slow, fast, quiet, loud)

Try also: Peanut butter, marmalade and jam

Guerrilla Storytime Bag
Bag of storytime goodies!

2. What are your welcoming routines or beginning of storytime rituals?

  • Puppets or “book fairies”
  • Have puppet pass out “listening dust” to all the children. Run the dust on your ears, in your hair, etc

Wiggle Bag! (pass around bag while singing to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Put your wiggles in the bag, in the bag
Put your wiggles in the bag, in the bag
Put your wiggles in the bag
Where they can zig and zag
Put your wiggles in the bag, in the bag!

3. How do you handle chatty or uninvolved parents at storytime?

  • Introduce involvement! (“Put up your hands if you’re going to help me sing this one”)
  • Focus conversation of parents on topic at hand
  • Include them with an old school favourite (eg Raffi)
  • Use parent-child rhymes (can also be used child +child)

Here’s a Cup of Tea
Here’s a cup, and here’s a cup, and here’s a pot of tea
Pour a cup, pour a cup, and drink a cup with me!

  • Verbal reminders that they’re included
  • Straight up ask parents for their cooperation as you try your best to run a program for their family.
  • Don’t be afraid to try a song/rhyme in your audience’s first language! Burnaby Public Library’s Embracing Diversity Project is a great resource for this.

Liăng Zhī Lăo Hŭ (Two Tigers)
Liăng zhī lăo hŭ, liăng zhī lăo hŭ (Two tigers, two tigers)
Păo de kuài, păo de kuài (Run fast, run fast)
Yì zhī méi yŏu ěr duo, yì zhī méi yŏu yĭ ba (One without ears, one without a tail)
Zhēn qí guài, zhēn qí guài! (How strange, how strange!)

Paa, Tuhod, Balikat, Ulo
Paa, tuhod, balikat, ulo (Feet, knees, shoulders, head)
Paa, tuhod, balikat, ulo (Feet, knees, shoulders, head)
Paa, tuhod, balikat, ulo (Feet, knees, shoulders, head)
Pumadyak tayo at magpalakpakan (Stamp your feet and clap your hands)

4. How do you learn kids’ names to help with behaviour management?

  • Nametags
  • Go around and practice counting out the syllables in each person’s name
  • Just call everyone Bob and they think it’s hilarious (debatably the quote of Guerrilla Storytime)

Let’s All Clap: Welcome Song
Let’s all clap cause _____ is here, ____ is here, _____ is here
Let’s all clap cause _____ is here.
____ is here today!
(insert child’s name)

5. Opposite Problem of Knowing the Kids Too Well

  • Two minute share time before starting storytime to deal with “the chatters”

6. How do you promote writing/print awareness in storytime?

  • Do a draw and tell
  • Draw a letter on app and have it appear on screen
  • Book displays: before and after storytime children and parents can look at books
  • Mystery box (including creature and corresponding letter, eg. A mouse and the letter M)
  • Masking tape letters on the floor
  • Raising Play Program: storytimes which focus on daily letter or number, with “homework” to reinforce for pre-Kindergarten crowd
  • Gel bags to trace letters (no mess!) or playdough
  • Importance of crafts to help develop fine motor skills which in turn contribute to the ability to write later on
  • Pointing to words in books
  • Have caregivers trace letters on childrens’ hands and vice versa
  • Play sound games: put up felt pieces on a felt board and have kids help you decide which pictures contain a certain sound. I did this for the “V” sound and put up pictures of a vehicle, vase, violin, glove, dove, etc.

7. What early literacy tip do you share with parents?

  • Phonological awareness: that’s why we sing so many farm animal songs!
  • Turn baby around to face you so baby can watch your lips move
  • You don’t have to be a good singer for your child to love it!
  • Run finger along text while you read
  • Build vocabulary with uncommon words, get excited about them!
  • Asking, what do you think is going to happen?
  • Introduce upper case AND lower case letters
  • Importance of having books around for babies to get to know, learn how they function and start to enjoy them!
  • Teacher shared that kids have lost book awareness (how to turn pages) so Yarrow library now incorporates book orientation into storytimes for pre-K crowd
  • When talking to families around holidays or baby showers, suggesting they buy books as gifts, especially for those who might not otherwise be library users
  • Bring out Mem Fox’s statistic “Children who know 8 nursery rhymes by the time they’re four will be better readers”
  • Encourage parents to really know a handful of songs and rhymes, not to worry about knowing them all.
  • Helping parents learn the words: bookmarks/handouts with words, flipchart for large groups/new people

8. How can we help children with autism feel comfortable at storytime?

  • Practice 2 mins at a time
  • Library tours with family beforehand
  • Invite just the parents to storytime first
  • Send program to family in advance so they can practice at home
  • Talk with parents about the fact that at school they’ll be with their typical peers and it’s important to be in early literacy settings with their peers as well
  • There are lots of resources to make storytimes more accessible and play to the strengths of children with autism
  • Accept that storytime isn’t for everyone. Ask them if there are other programs that the library could offer that would be more beneficial for them.

9. Share your favourite song, rhyme, fingerplay or “get the wiggles out” activity.

Les Petites Marionettes
Ainsi font, font, font
Les petites marionnettes
Ainsi font, font, font
Trois p’tits tours et puis s’en vont.

Les mains aux côtés
Sautez, sautez, marionnettes
Les mains aux côtés
Marionnettes, recommencez

My Thumbs Are Starting to Wiggle
My thumbs are starting to wiggle
My thumbs are starting to wiggle
My thumbs are starting to wiggle
Around and around and around.
(Sing about other body parts as wiggles spread!)

Fruit Salad
Watermelon, Watermelon, (big circle with hands)
Pa-pay-a, pap-ay-a, (chop air in front of body on each syllable)
Ba-a-a-a-nana, Ba-a-a-a-nana, (swing arms down like rocking a baby)
Fruuuuit Salad, fruuuuit salad! (dance it out!)

Put Your Hands Up High (to the tune of If Your Ears Hang Low)
Put your hands up high, put your hands down low
Put your hands in the middle and wiggle just so.
Put your elbows front, put your elbows back
Put your elbows to the side and quack, quack, quack!

IYHAYKI Song Mash-Up
If you’re happy and you know it
Head and shoulders, knees and toes X2
If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it,
Head and shoulders, knees and toes

If you’re beautiful and you know it
Shout hooray!

If you’re happy and you know it
do the Spiderman
do the Ironman
do the Batman

If you’re mad and you know it
HULK OUT!

Wiggle Waggle Went the Bear
Wiggle, waggle went the bear
Catching bees in his underwear
One bee out, one bee in
One bee bit him on his big bearskin!

Funky Spunky Monkey (to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider)
Funky Spunky Monkey climbed up the coconut tree
Down came the coconut and bonked him on his knee
Along came his mama and kissed away his pain
So the funky spunky monkey climbed up the tree again.

Someone asked: Why did you bring the parachute?! How do you use it?

A Ram Sam Sam
A ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli and a ram sam sam (x2)
A raffi, A raffi!
Guli guli guli guli and a ram sam sam (x2)

You are My Little Panda Bear, Little Panda Bear
You are my little panda bear, little panda bear,
I love you, yes I do,
And all the funny things you do,
I love you, yes I do,
You are my little panda bear, panda bears are rare,
Yes it’s true, there’s only a few,
And there’s no other one like you,
I love you, yes I do.

There was Crocodile
There was a crocodile (chomping motion with arms)
An orangutan (monkey action)
A foxy snake (slithery snake motion with hand)
And an eagle flying (flap arms)
A rabbit (make rabbit ears)
A beaver (make beaver teeth)
A crazy elephant! (make elephant trunk with one arm swinging)
Da na na na na, da na na na na! (swinging dancing action, snapping fingers)
(Repeat the song a number of times, taking out an animal each time till all you’re left with are the actions!)

The Elevator Song
Oh the city is great and the city is grand
There are lots of tall buildings on a little piece of land
And we live way up on the 57th floor
And this is what we do when we go out the door.
We take the elevator up and the elevator down, take the elevator up, take the elevator down
Take the elevator up and the elevator down and we turn around.
(And we sit back down- add to the end if you want to settle the kids.)

And that’s a wrap!  Thank you so much to everyone who came and contributed. We can’t wait to host another guerrilla storytime next year!

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9 thoughts on “Guerrilla Storytime: British Columbia Library Conference 2014

  1. Wow! This is so AWESOME. Go team Canada! I think you got Gold on this one. Sounds like it was a Whole Bunch of Fun.

    1. Team Canada indeed- everyone was excited to hear about the Nova Scotia Guerrilla Storytime and be part of the national movement 🙂 So much fun and so energizing, can’t wait for ALA!

  2. Quick question about a tip on number 7- “Teacher shared that kids have lost book awareness (how to turn pages) so Yarrow library now incorporates book orientation into storytimes for pre-K crowd.”

    Can someone expand on this further? What would a book orientation look like (or do you have some resources to share for this?)

    Thanks 🙂

    1. It’s been awhile since this event so I can’t say 100% for sure that this is what they meant, but book orientation means teaching the kids about how a book works. That would include: how to hold a book, where to find the title/author/illustrator, how to turn the pages, etc. It’s the skills kids acquire naturally when they are exposed to lots of books and reading, especially guided reading where caregivers point out text and let them help flip the pages. It could also include running your finger along the words sometimes so kids learn that in English text runs from left to right and that the text itself has meaning. In storytime you could hold a book upside down and ask kids if they are ready to read as a silly way to teach them how to face a book properly. I don’t have any specific resources for this and it’s not something I personally stress in my storytimes. I would highly recommend reading Reading Picture Books With Children by Megan Dowd Lambert for a great exploration of how to read all the parts of a picture book with children: https://jbrary.com/reading-picture-books-children/

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