Storytime tips for working with toddlers

There’s nothing like watching an experienced librarian working with young kids during storytime. It’s a dance! It’s an art. Experience helps. But what if you are just starting out?

Perhaps this resource will help. It is a checklist for evaluating the literacy value of storytimes.  It is provided by ALA and is based on the literacy work of Elaine Czarnecki and Gilda Martinez and John Hopkins University, Center for Reading Excellence. It’s not written as tips, per se. But you can work backwards to see what techniques enrich the reading experience.

Dust off a book: physical science storytime!

Let’s begin our physical science storytime. Physical science studies the non-living world around us: air, water, wind, rock, minerals, glaciers, all sorts of things. But these non-living parts of our world also play a big part in our lives, and other animals’ lives, too. So, we’ll begin with an animal you might have seen…vultures! Continue reading “Dust off a book: physical science storytime!”

Life Cycles

Let’s learn about life cycles. How does a toad survive in the desert? Let’s find out.

Another animal lays eggs in sand, too-not in the desert, but on a beach. The mother animal weighs as much as a refrigerator full of food. Can you guess the animal?

Sea turtle mothers lay their eggs and leave them. The hatchlings must fend for themselves. But another kind of creature guards its eggs and the hatchlings.

Another has to begin the year by finding a home and building a colony.


And here is an animal family with a parent who takes protecting the young very seriously!

Honk, Honk, Goose

Storytime Props

This from Margaret Kownover, an experienced public librarian:

Using April’s picture books with school children

Picture books April has authored have “come alive” to school children at the library when I have used various props in conjunction with the story. For example, with the story “Turtle Turtle Watch Out!” I gathered together a sea turtle puppet (Folkmanis has a nice one), a raccoon puppet,a flashlight, a sign that said “Beach Closed Turtles Nesting”, a cat puppet and a heron, gull, whale, sailfish, jellyfish and seven sharks (for these I made stick puppets — I couldn’t find hand puppets for them) and a net. The children each take a prop and as I read we act out the story. Any children who don’t have a prop take up the chant “Turtle Turtle Watch Out!” and say this at the times it occurs throughout the story.

Another book, “Dig Wait Listen: A Desert Toad’s Tale” I have used with a rain stick. It works very well to read this lovely story and “hear” the rain right along with the story at the appropriate moments.

“Stars Beneath Your Bed” can be told in conjunction with stories about the stars — I have used it with a constellation program when we learned the legends about the stars and made a constellation viewer from discarded film canisters (drug stores that process film will save these for you). Instructions can be found on the internet by typing in a search for “canned constellations”.

“Shadows” is a great book to use with shadow puppet play and especially around Groundhog Day!

This post was originally part of the Children’s Media Professional forum.