Friday, August 12, 2011

Storytimes for Toddlers

August 2011 Newsletter

Dear Storytellers,

It is a pleasure to work with you. We think that you do what you do very well. We hope that receiving ongoing training from us will be a way to build on the good things you already do and will become a satisfying part of your volunteer experience.

For this first training newsletter, we have pursued the questions:


What is Laptime?
What makes Laptime different from Storytime?


These are questions I’m sure most of us have grappled with as we’ve tried to plan our Laptime programs.

Many libraries find it best practice to offer a lapsit program for babies who are not yet walking and a separate program for the more mobile toddlers. Perhaps one day the OPL will have the resources to offer that service. But for now, our Laptime audience combines both babies and toddlers. On top of that, we often have older preschoolers join the crowd. This can make it a tricky group to plan a program for. Despite these challenges, our aim is to gear Laptime towards the younger participants in the audience, knowing that older kids attending won’t mind joining in the fun.

So what are the elements that make up a Laptime program? Laptime programs at the OPL should include elements that are good for both babies and toddlers. Below is an outline of key ingredients for each of those age groups, taken from Crash Course in Storytime Fundamentals by Penny Peck (2009):


Story Times for Babies:

*Rhymes, including Mother Goose nursery rhymes, that invite tickling, bouncing, or other rhythmic movement; pointing to and naming of body parts; can be repeated.

*Songs that are repeated, including lullabies to help soothe children and prepare them to hear a story; many nursery rhymes can be sung.

*Very short books with bright, bold illustrations

*Sign Language

Sample Baby Program:


1- Welcome Song

2- Rhyme (repeat, vary pace)

3- Very Short Book (bright bold illustrations)

4- Song (repeat, vary pace, sing loud and soft)

5- Rhyme (repeat, vary pace)

6- Very Short Book (bright bold illustrations)

7- Closing Song


Story Times for Toddlers:


1- Rhymes, including Mother Goose nursery rhymes, that invite tickling, bouncing, or other rhythmic movement; pointing to and naming of body parts; can be repeated.

2- Songs that are repeated, including movement songs coupled with other more soothing songs to help prepare the children to hear a story; many nursery rhymes can be sung.

3- Very short books with bright bold illustrations. Big Books work better for large crowds. Board Books may work for a smaller group, but do not work very well for large crowds. Use books that invite participation from the audience, including:

4- Cumulative Stories—have recurring phrases that are added on

5- Circular Stories—the story ends up where it started

6- Participation Stories—the listener calls out a repeated phrase

7- Concept Books—alphabet, counting, shapes, opposites, numbers; some of the best of these books have a plot

8- Creative Dramatics—story can be acted out

9- Sign Language.

Keep in mind:

Quick and smooth transitions from one element to the next.

Eye Contact, even when you are reading a book, during the few seconds you are moving the book from side to side, showing the illustrations.

Learning and using the names of the children in your audience.


Sample Toddler Program:

1- Opening/Welcoming Song

2- Introduction and Statement of Theme, if any (theme can be very broad, like “animals”)

3- Movement Song or Rhyme

4- Listening Song or Rhyme (may include a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book)

5- Book or Story (may include books that invite audience participation, may include a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book)

6- Movement Song or Rhyme

7- Listening Song or Rhyme (may include a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book)

8- Book or Story (may include books that invite audience participation, may include a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book)

9- Closing Song


Now, let’s combine the elements of the Baby and Toddler programs and see what we come up with for a sample
 

Laptime program:
Sample Laptime Program for Babies and Toddlers

1- Welcome/Opening Song

2- Introduction and Statement of Theme, if any (Theme can be very broad, like “animals.”)

3- Movement Song or Rhyme (Include tickling, bouncing, or other rhythmic movement, pointing to and naming body parts, and sign language; repeat and vary pace.)

4- Listening Song or Rhyme (Choose soothing songs, including lullabies; sing with a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book.)

5- Very Short Book or Story (Choose books that contain bright, bold illustrations and/or invite audience participation. Try using a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book.)

6- Movement Song or Rhyme (Include tickling, bouncing, or other rhythmic movement, pointing to and naming body parts, and sign language; repeat and vary pace.)

7- Listening Song or Rhyme (Choose soothing songs, including lullabies; sing with a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book.)

8- Very Short Book or Story (Choose books that contain bright, bold illustrations and/or invite audience participation. Try using a prop like a puppet, flannel board, or big book.)

9- Closing Song (Invite children to come up afterward to visit your props and mingle.)

Keep in mind:
Remember, quick and smooth transitions, eye contact, and learning and using names are key elements to success.

This hybrid program contains at least double the amount of songs and rhymes as it does stories. That is a good mix for our youngest participants and will help distinguish Laptime from Storytime.

 
Need more ideas for your programs?
Try the following web sites:

Kate McDowell’s Website http://katemcdowell.com/laptime/

Perry Public Library http://www.perrypubliclibrary.org/Kids/BabytimeRhymes.htm

Creative With Kids http://www.gibbons.ca/creative/Songs/Fingerplay_songs.htm

Mother Goose On the Loose http://www.mgol.org/

Preschool Express Toddler Station http://www.prescholexpress.com/toddler_station.shtml

Mels Desk, List of Resource Links http://melissa.depperfamily.net/blog/?page_id=519 


As Children’s Staff at the Orem Public Library, we appreciate the chance to review these ideas. As we do, we think of how well each of you incorporate these elements into your programs. You may not realize that you are already doing what experts say is best. We want to affirm that the service you are giving matters, one song, rhyme, and story at a time. Thank you!

Please feel free to respond to this post with any follow-up thoughts or questions. Some of this training material along with follow-up questions and a chance to respond will appear later here on the Laptime and Storytime blog, created by OPL Children’s Staff member, Amy White.

 
Thank you all,
Amanda Ashton

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I have a quick question for you about your site. If you could please get back to me as soon as possible I would greatly appreciate it. Have a great day!

Thanks,
Dan
--
Dan Gilbert
Communications Coordinator
Primrose Schools
@DanGilbert66

~ Amy W ~ said...

Hi Dan, sorry it took me a while to see your comment - do you still need to contact me? How do I contact you? Twitter?