Thanks so much to Becky Arenivar from Prescott Public Library for this inspiring guest post! I am going to be purchasing this title for the IFLS Professional Collection, as well.
Miss Becky was getting tired from the mental effort it took
to hold the attention of her 3-5-year-old Storytime attendees, in the face of
toddling toddlers, crying babies, and restless older sibs. With our small
staff, Prescott Public Library offers all ages Storytime only, and sometimes it
can be chaotic.
We encourage parents to remove distracting children, but
don't kick anyone out. I'd much rather have kids raising a ruckus in
Storytime, than sitting at home in front of a screen. I'm supportive of
parents bringing young children to Storytime - it's a great place for them to
learn appropriate behavior, but, an 18-month-old can not be expected to behave
like a 3-year-old until she is 3 years old.
The good news is that I recently discovered an inspiring and
practical book that is helping me transform my Storytimes into oases of
participation by all ages: Books in Motion: Connecting Preschoolers
with Books through Art, Games, Movement, Music, Playacting, and Props by
Julie Dietzel-Glair (Neal-Schuman, 2013). Dietzel-Glair says, "This
book is designed for ... anyone looking for ways to get kids up and moving
during a preschool storytime." My kids were already up and moving,
but I needed to engage them with the books I was reading. Here's how I used her
principles and action suggestions in a recent Storytime:
Theme: Animals that hop
Pouch! by David Ezra Stein - every time the baby
kangaroo hops out of the pouch, Miss Becky and the kids got up and hopped the
same # of hops. I anticipated lots of extra hopping and trouble getting
them to settle back down again, but, no worries - everything went smoothly.
Oops-a-Daisy! by Claire Freedman
The Wide-mouthed Frog: a pop-up book by Keith
Joey by Jack Kent - before I started reading, I
handed out paper, crayons and a cardboard piece to each child (our floor is
carpeted), then told the kids to draw something they would keep in their pouch,
if they had one.
When I finished the book, we took a break from drawing to
sing our closing song, and then kids and parents were invited to stay and
finish their pictures.
I've done 3 Storytimes so far using Books in Motion,
and the results are substantial. For Boom Chicka Rock by John
Archambault, we handed out our shakers (always a favorite with all ages) and
shook them to the refrain, "Boom Chicka Rock, Chicka Rock, Chicka
Boom!" at the end of every page. The added physical activity
gives energetic kids more opportunities to move, and the art activities engage
little hands and brains that start to get restless near the end of
We also do a craft once a month at the end of Storytime, and
some kids are disappointed if it's not craft week. Adding a book-based
art activity takes less than 10 minutes and turns those frowns into grins.
The very best thing about Books
in Motion, though, is the creativity it has inspired and the enjoyment it
has brought back to planning for Storytime. I have been inspired to come
up with my own art activity for Joey, a book that Dietzel-Glair doesn't
mention. Prescott will buy this book, so I don't have to hog Eau Claire's
copy. And, I can't wait to start planning summer Storytimes!
Labels: art, early literacy, movement, music, preschool programs