Sunday, September 30, 2012

Storytime in your School Library!

Need a FUN and easy library program? Try this! Once a month, I host a program called Lion Cub Storytime. Lion Cubs are children who will one day be going to my school. Most of them are 3 - 4 years old, but I have had some toddlers too. Usually, these kids are younger siblings of students at my school, but sometimes we have kids who just live in the area. Anyone is welcome! At the beginning of the year, I send a blurb to my classroom teachers about the program that they can copy and paste into their classroom newsletter. I post information about the program on the school webpage, library webpage, and in the school newsletter. I also make sure the folks who register new students in the office know about the program (this is especially important around Kindergarten registration time). When planning when to hold your monthly storytime, choose a day where your local pre-school does not have school (Fridays seem to work well for us). For the last few years, my storytime has been at 9am and we often have a good crowd. Select a theme each month and plan your storytime around that theme. I usually follow this format: read a book, do a fingerplay or flannel board activiy; read a book; sing a song; read a book; do a craft; check out a book; have a snack.
I get lots of ideas from Pinterest and from some of my favorite storytime blogs. I also write about each storytime on my blog - feel free to be inspired by one of my storytime plans!
My favorite places online to gather ideas are:
storytime katie
Mel's Desk
I collect ideas I find on Pinterest on my Lion Cub Storytime board - follow it!
I love our Lion Cub Storytime and I have heard from many parents who love it too. The Lion Cubs who come to our school in Kindergarten are more confident when school starts. They feel familiar with the school and our library and knowing someone in the building helps both the student and the parent when the first days of Kindergarten roll around.
Have fun with this storytime - you don't have to worry about Common Core or other academic standards - you can simply encourage and foster a love of reading, storytime, and libraries. Perfect!

Valerie Byrd Fort, Teacher Librarian
New Providence Elementary School
Lexington, South Carolina

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Taking Care of Library Books!

Kindergarten students came to my library last week for their first checkout! What an exciting day! They love to choose a book, are excited to learn they can take it home, and can't wait to come back the next week for a new book! Every year, before their first checkout, I do a lesson about taking care of your library books. It is fun, easy to plan, and seems to work! I start my sharing with them that they will get to checkout a book, but first we have to make sure they can take care of that book. I tell them that I have a friend who is going to share with them ways to take care of their books. I introduce them to my friend, Mr. Wiggle. I show them a Mr. Wiggle stuffed animal that I made with green tights and have them all say "hello" to him. Then, I read Mr. Wiggle's Book by Paula M. Craig. During the read aloud, I will ask them a lot of questions about what is happening in the book. For example, do YOU eat while you read library books? What's wrong with leaving a library book outside? After reading the book, I show them a book bag that Mr. Wiggle likes to keep all of his important book stuff in. I tell them that we are going to see what is in his book bag and that they are going to tell me if it is something GOOD to have around library books or something BAD to have around library books. I hand out laminated cards that we've made. One side is red with a sad face and it says BAD; the other side is green with a happy face and it says GOOD. After each student has a card, I go through the bag. In the bag is a water bottle, a pack of gum, a stuffed animal, a picture of a baby, a picture of a puppy, a container of yogurt, markers, a flashlight, scissors, and wet wipes (for clean hands). As I hold up each item, students show me if the item is GOOD or BAD. After going through the items in the book bag, I collect the cards, we say "thank you" to Mr. Wiggle and we check out our library books! I also send home a letter to our kindergarten parents introducing them to Mr. Wiggle and sharing some suggestions of ways to enjoy and care for library books at home. I also include in the letter when their child's library day is and a cut out template for a bookmark to color and use. I think Mr. Wiggle really helps our kindergarten students get started on the right foot when it comes to checking out and taking care of their library books!
Valerie Byrd Fort