Preschool storytime is often the cornerstone of many children’s departments in public libraries. The age group commonly consists of those ages 3-5, however libraries have been known to widen that to be ages 2-6. Here is a list of 15 different resources to assist with library programming for those age groups with a focus on storytime. A number of the resources provide detailed overviews for storytime sessions, as well as suggestions for songs, rhymes, finger plays, and felt boards. These resources can act as inspiration, can provide guidance, and assist with creating and running preschool storytimes.
Storytime Katie (2016). Storytime Katie. Retrieved from: https://storytimekatie.com/
Storytime Katie is a blog focusing on childrens programming. The blog was started in 2010, by an Early Literacy Librarian based out of Chicago. The blog was started after she started a new position in which she took over all of the libraries storytime programs. There are storytime outlines, flannel board ideas and instructions, and songs, rhymes and finger play words. Her storytime outlines are based on different themes where she includes all of the materials used for the storytime: books, songs, crafts, and how it actually went. A strength of the blog is the inclusion of how the storytime went over, what would be changed and what would stay the same, allowing for easy adaptation. In addition to her own material, Katie provides resource to her favourite sources for crafts, flannel boards, finger plays/action rhymes, songs and themes.
Library Village. (2015). Library Village: Let the wild rumpus start!. Retrieved from: http://libraryvillage.blogspot.ca/
Created by three librarians out of Ohio, they have storytime outlines for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The blog goes beyond just storytime suggestions and provides posts on how to handle difficult situations, how to conduct outreach and a number of different related topics. The Library Village participates in Flannel Friday, posts unique templates and ideas for flannel boards, provides helpful ideas for crafts and activities such as sensory play, and show and tell during storytime. The blog is difficult to navigate, however the posts are tagged depending on the themes, allowing for some organization.
Jbrary.com. (2016). Jbrary…tune in for storytime success. Retrieved from: http://jbrary.com/
This is a great source of finger play, songs, rhymes, and instrument ideas for storytime. Jbrary is a blog run by two children’s librarians out of British Columbia. Their focus is on providing YouTube links that include the written words for the video. In addition to being a great resource for videos, there is also content for Flannel Friday, programming ideas, storytime outlines, storytime tips and tricks, and professional development. With the highlight of the blog being the YouTube videos, they are nicely organized into categories based on when you may wish to use them. For example ‘egg shaker songs’, ‘insects and bugs storytime’ and ‘hello and goodbye songs’.
Sunflower Storytime. (2016). Sunflower Storytime… laugh, sing, dance. Retrieved from: http://sunflowerstorytime.com/
A blog that started in 2010 with the original purpose of digitally organizing the creator’s storytime papers has since flourished into a useful resource for storytime. The blog content is broken up into four different categories: storytime plans, storyime resources, beyond storytime, and printables. Storytime plans are organized into themes and include detailed notes about what was shown during the storytime, and the sources of the ideas. The storytime resources include a collection of ideas for the different parts of storytime, for example a list of opening and closing songs, music suggestions and rhymes. Beyond storytime includes outlines of storytimes for family storytime and for school age students. Printables is a unique feature to the blog as it includes printables for different stories.
Abby the Librarian. (2016). Abby the Librarian: by day, youth librarian in Southern Indiana by night, blogger extraordinaire. Retrieved from: http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/
Abby is a Children’s Services Manager in Indiana who created a blog in 2007. She writes book reviews, encourages ‘reading wildly’, gives advice to future libraries, and provides information about a variety of storytimes. Her preschool storytime outlines are designed for the 3-5ish crowed. In addition to storytime information there is also details on other preschool programs that she runs, such as the preschool labs. The preschool labs are a new take on storytime where the start of the time together is a traditional storytime (books, songs, rhymes etc.), and the second part of the storytime is stations based on the theme being explored such as colours, sounds, and space.
ALSC Blog. (2016). ALSC blog: The official blog of the Association for Library Services to Children. Retrieved from: http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/category/programming-ideas/
The Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) is a group of over 4000 experts in the field conglomerating together in order to improve and ensure the future of library services to children. A great resource, not necessarily focused on storytime or preschool, however full of ideas and inspiration. A number of popular bloggers contribute to the site with their best stuff. The ALSC blog allows for a wide view of what is working and happening in libraries across the country.
Storytime Underground. (2016). Storytime Underground. Retrieved from: http://storytimeunderground.org/
Storytime Underground is not a typical storytime resource. Storytime underground is a blog that looks at a number of topics that most storytime blogs do not focus on. This is a community that works together to critique and create ideal storytimes, who share what is working and what they are changing in order to better their programs. Users are able to sign up for Storytime University in order to participate in the blog and earn badges for completing different tasks.
Beyond the Book Storytimes. (2016). Beyond the books storytimes. Retrieved from: http://btbstorytimes.blogspot.ca/
Beyond the Book Storytimes is a blog that focuses on sharing children’s books in unique ways (beyond just reading them) and ways to adapt books for the required setting. A Youth Services Librarian in Oregon created the blog. The blog is full of unique and creative ideas to make a book come to life including the use of puppets, props, felt boards, shadow puppets, games and skits. A useful overview is provided for each book, instructing on the age group for the activity, the supplies required, and the number of presenters required. The downside of the blog is the poor organization. The only navigation is through labels on the side, and there is no ability to search or break up the labels into easier to find categories.
Koester, A. (2012). The show me librarian. Retrieved from: http://showmelibrarian.blogspot.ca/
Amy, a children’s librarian in Illinois, focuses her blog on programs, services and important issues of youth librarianship. The blog has a heavy focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programming for all ages. There are outlines and specifics for their preschool science series, including the books read and the activities completed all based upon themes. An excellent resource for creative activities that go beyond typical crafts. A number of important issues articles are focuses on ‘POP: Parents of Preschoolers’, on topics such as screen time.
Perry Public Library. (2015). Storytime themes. Retrieved from: http://www.perrypubliclibrary.org/storytime_themes.htm
An excellent resource for detailed and organized storytime outlines. The outlines include books, rhymes, activities, and a number include early literacy specific activities. The storytime outlines are listed based upon seasonal themes and includes topics such as Spring, Bugs, and Bears. The outlines are all in PDF format, making them easy to print and use, as they include all of the information required for running that particular storytime. The only thing missing from the outline would be the welcome and goodbye songs, and the order of activities performed.
Tominey, S. (2016). Storytime Songs. Retrieved from: http://www.storytimesongs.com/index.html
An excellent source of music and songs for storytime. Music can be an important part of storytime and this website has a number of suggestions on how to incorporate music into any storytime. There are links to traditional songs that include guitar chords. Also there are instructions on creating a wide variety of homemade instruments, mainly from easy to access, low-cost materials. There are also a number of games and activities based around music in order to incorporate it into as many aspects of storytime.
Freeman, J., & Bauer, C. F. (2015). The handbook for storytime programs. Chicago: ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.
The Handbook for Storytime Programs provides engaging and creative ways to run library programs and for interactive storytelling. With links to videos demonstrating rhymes and songs, this up to date book has current material that is entertaining for a wide range of children. There is a variety of resources including magic, music, creative drama and puppetry. The only downfall to this great resource is the limited pictures demonstrating key concepts.
Matterson, E. M. (1991). This little puffin. London: Puffin Books.
A great resource for nursery rhymes, songs and games that never get old. This little puffin breaks up the different storytime resources into different themes such as ‘Time and Weather’ and ‘Animals’. The songs provided within the book have sheet music which allows for an understanding of the tune of a song if someone is unfamiliar. The format of the actual chapters is slightly confusing as many rhymes and songs do not have clear titles. However, if the user has the time it can prove to be a great resource for many traditional rhymes and songs.
Cobb, J. (1996). I’m a little teapot!: presenting preschool storytime. American Library Association.
Written by a Canadian based children’s librarian, who provides a great resource for picture books, nonfiction books, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, action songs, and craft ideas specifically focused on preschool aged storytimes. The resources are divided into themed categories, however the focus is on using excellent materials instead of just sticking to a theme.
Peck, P. (2009). Crash course in storytime fundamentals. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.
An excellent beginners resource for storytime. Created by a librarian in California, this resource provides a practical and informative guide for storytime. There are different theme categories each containing related craft ideas and songs. The book contains a section focused on preschool storytime and preschool specific crafts. This resource encourages experimentation and outlines the flow and mechanics of storytime. Peck also details the importance of storytime for public libraries. Each chapter includes additional books and websites for further information.