Elements of a Storytime

One of my favorite, recent storytime books. Great to do with two people!!

One of my favorite, recent storytime books. Great to do with two people!!

I came across this post about the important value of storytimes and so many thoughts went through my head. I’ve talked with some of my non-librarian friends about storytime and they are so surprised that I don’t just read books to the kids.  I get to explain that storytimes prepare kids for school by building a strong early literacy foundation, which requires reading, playing, flannels, singing, and dancing. Abby Johnson notes in her post that singing isn’t merely singing a song, it’s helping kids develop phonological awareness (i.e. hearing and playing with smaller sounds in words).

There are a few things that every storytime should highlight. These elements are:

-Print motivation                             -Print awareness

-Narrative skills                                -Vocabulary

-Letter knowledge                            -Phonological awareness

A piece from our library's "Fall is Easy" flannel.

A piece from our library’s “Fall is Easy” flannel.

However, these elements can be presented in a myriad of ways. No storytime is completely alike. There is an overwhelming amount of templates, video, and other examples of how to conduct a storytime. Just within my library, everybody has a different storytime presentation style. We have our regular storytimes schedule with different storytimes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and families. We have done music storytimes, science storytimes, and art storytimes.  Another branch in our library system recently did a trail storytime. Oh the possibilities are endless!!

My co-workers and I leading a music storytime

My co-workers and I leading a music storytime

I’m still figuring out my presentation style and how to mindfully include the different storytime elements when I plan a storytime. Jbrary and Storytime Katie are great resources, but often times my co-workers are the most helpful part of my planning process. We can talk about what works and what doesn’t work for our unique storytime community. We also inspire each other to try new things: to get great ideas out of our heads and take action.

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