I’ve been doing storytimes for about three years now. In some ways I still consider myself a storytime newbie. My process for planning is constantly changing and adapting based on articles I’ve read or ideas I see others trying. I’ve written before about how I plan a toddler storytime and how I plan a baby storytime. Recently though I’ve started to think more intentionally about my storytimes in the context of a 9-10 week session.
We know repetition is important for learning. And I’ve always made it a point to repeat many of the songs and rhymes we sing each week. But I recently read an article by friend and colleague Tess Prendergast that’s published in the book Library Services from Birth to Five: Delivering the Best Start that got me thinking about repetition of stories. Tess’s article lists repetition of stories as one way storytimes can become more inclusive to families with children with disabilities. I knew this was something I needed to give more thought to. Simply put, I needed to start planning.
My storytimes run about 9-10 weeks depending on the season. It’s a mixed age group, but I mostly get toddlers and early preschoolers. For this winter session, I decided on three stories that I could adapt as both felt stories and puppet stories. They are:
- Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
- Jump! by Scott Fischer
- Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
Each story will get three weeks of sharing – once as the book, once as a felt, and once as a puppet version. To take it a step further, I couched these stories within three larger themes. Concepts related to the themes will be showcased in other books, songs, and flannel stories. Here’s what my planning document looks like:
|Colours and Counting||January 6||Dog’s Colorful Day||Brown Bear, Brown Bear||Old MacDonald|
|January 13||Maisy’s Rainbow Dream||Dog’s Colorful Day||Little Bunny in a Hat|
|January 20||Bear Counts||One Red Mitten Song||Dog’s Colorful Day|
|Rhyme Time||January 27||Jump!||Anna Maria||When Cows Get Up in the Morning|
|February 3||I Know a Rhino||Jump!||Little Bunny in a Hat|
|February 10||Rhyming Dust Bunnies||The Bus for Us||Jump!|
|Feelings and Emotions||February 17||Hooray for Hat!||Go Away, Big Green Monster||Mmm Ahh Went the Little Green Frog|
|February 24||Hug Machine||Hooray for Hat!||Little Bunny in a Hat|
|March 2||Grumpy Bird||The Very Busy Spider||Hooray for Hat!|
In addition to the book, felt, and puppets I also do a selection of songs and rhymes. Little Mouse usually always makes an appearance too.
I really like having this kind of overview because I can also plan out my early literacy messages a bit more based on each theme. For example, during Colours and Counting I can talk about using spatial relationship words such as “over,” “under,” “next to,” “above” and “below.” For my Feelings and Emotions unit, I’ll be rereading Mel’s great blog post that includes extension activities and early literacy tips. I feel so much more organized this way!
There are so many ways to retell a story; I just happened to choose felt and puppet stories for my first go around. In the future I hope to try draw-and-tells, stick puppets, interactive retellings (like with scarves), or even a dramatic performance. My goal is to do write separate posts about the felt and puppet versions of each story. That way you can see how I adapt and change the story each week, as well as get the kids involved with the retellings.
How do you plan out your storytime sessions? Let me know in the comments!