STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) topics for library programming are very popular, but often they focus on school aged children. If you are looking for ways to incorporate science concepts in your programming for younger children, check out the Science in Storytime blog for ideas and themed concepts.
Promoted as “A place to share cool science ideas for storytime!,” Science in Storytime is an effort of the Lincoln City Libraries in Lincoln, Nebraska, to “help to set the “science interest” stage for formal education.” Blog posts feature book suggestions and related science activity ideas appropriate for preschoolers. If you don’t have a particular concept in mind, you can use the categories to browse. If you do have a particular topic in mind, you can use the tags or search box to find specific ideas for your program.
The Lincoln City Libraries developed a logo that they use to indicate when they will be discussing a science concept in story time. The blog also links to Great Science Websites for Kids, which is sponsored by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of ALA. It is a great starting point for even more resources and ideas.
How do you incorporate STEM concepts into story time? Share your ideas in the comments!
With this year’s summer reading theme being health, wellness, fitness, and sports, now is the ideal time to incorporate movement activities to your weekly story times as well. Kids are not designed to sit still for long periods of time anyway, so why not use that to your advantage during story time?
In their publication, Young Children, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has an article called “Moving Bodies, Building Minds: Foster Preschoolers’ Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Through Movement” by Michelle L. Marigliano and Michele J. Russo. The authors state that “linking movement experiences with language—both receptive language (understanding that of others) and expressive language (sharing one’s own thoughts and ideas)—builds children’s thinking skills.” The article features suggested prompts to encourage movement, along with ideas for using dance standards. Scroll to the end of the article to find a box highlighting children’s picture books that feature movement.
For more ideas on books you can use during story time, check out Book to Boogie, a monthly blog series from The Library as Incubator Project which “pairs picture books with dance and movement activities for preschool story time.”
Over at the Programming Librarian, Jenn Carson has a blog post on Storytime Stretching in which she recommends “adding some yoga poses or movement exercises to your storytime programs, if only to help get those wiggles out!” The article provides helps tips on movement activities for young children, and her website, Yoga in the Library, has a number of great resources for all ages, including sample program outlines.
How do you incorporate movement in your story times? Share your suggestions in the comments!
This week I’m highlighting the “Pirate for a Day” program that the Walhalla Public Library hosted at the end of October. I thought it was such as great idea that I wanted to share it with everyone with the hope that it might be a program you could replicate in your community!
Walhalla citizens Crystal and Dale Anderson organized the “Pirate for a Day” program, which acts as the story time theme for the week, a community event for all ages, and a fundraiser for the library all in one fabulous program! So how exactly does this amazing program work?
- Have patrons purchase a “treasure map” at the library for $1.00; Walhalla also offered temporary tattoos for $0.25 and eye patches for $0.50.
- Patrons get the map stamped by local businesses and return it to the library by the deadline to be entered in the prize drawing.
- Have the deadline for the prize drawing coincide with a pirate-themed story time. (Check out this list of pirate book ideas for your story time!)
The Walhalla Public Library had map available Wednesday through Friday, with the deadline the following Tuesday, but you could adapt the schedule to whatever works for your schedule. Additional preparation on the part of the library would require asking local businesses to participate, making a map, and getting a prize donated.
Kids dressed up for pirate story time
(For more photos of Pirate for a Day and all of the library’s fall programming, check out the photos in their Fall 2015 Facebook album.)
This type of program is a fun way to get your entire community involved, and perhaps reach community members who may not yet be library patrons. Has your library done any community-wide programs? Share your ideas in the comments!
Story time is a topic I write about quite frequently here at Field Notes, and today I’ve decided to feature a number of my favorite resources for story time research and ideas. At the NDLA annual conference in September, Aaron Stefanich, children’s librarian at the Grand Forks Public Library, and I hosted a Guerrilla Storytime session for people to share their favorite story time activities, and I thought we could use Field Notes as a platform to virtually share our favorite story time resources.
- Abby the Librarian has a list of STEM story times themes, in addition to other story time themes.
- Jbrary offers story time ideas, link roundups, and they also make YouTube videos!
- The Show Me Librarian has an excellent collection of STEAM programs.
- Storytime Katie has an extensive list of story time themes, as well as songs, rhymes, finger plays, and flannel boards.
- Storytime Share by Saroj Ghoting offers early literacy “asides,” which are tips directed at the parents or caregivers that you can incorporate into story time.
- Storytime Underground goes beyond just ideas and resources. You can also sign up for Storytime University, an online professional development opportunity.
- Tiny Tips for Library Fun offers not only program ideas, but many other useful tips and resources as well.
- ALSCblog is the blog for the Association for Library Service to Children. It is a great place to go to find out what neat new things children’s librarians are doing in other states.
Have you used any of these resources? Which resources do you rely on for new story time ideas or connecting with colleagues? Share your recommendations in the comments!
Each week you spend time imparting early literacy skills to children at story time. But what happens when the children go home? Are they going home to environments that support early learning and development? Do their parents realize the importance of interacting with their children? Do parents feel prepared to work on early learning skills at home?
Love Talk Play is a resource from Washington state that “aims to surround parents of children birth to age 3 with simple messages about three key things all parents can and need to be doing with their children every day: love, talk and play.”
Love Talk Play offers handouts you can share with parents on the importance of interacting with their children. They also provide a list of suggested activities parents can do with their children. You can print the activity sheets to pass out to parents. Parents can also sign up to receive a weekly tip via email.
In North Dakota libraries, many story times focus on the 3-5 year old pre-school age group, rather than the 0-3 year old baby and toddler age group. However, kids never get too old for attention from their parents, and many of the 3-5 year olds at your story time may have younger siblings.
If you have a lot of children attending story time with a day care provider instead of their parents, perhaps the day care would be interested in sending home information with the kids. It would be a great way to remind parents that their child visited the library that day and to encourage them to visit the library with their kids.
What resources do you share with parents at story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!
One of the partners of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is Bedtime Math. Bedtime Math encourages making math as integral to your child’s bedtime routine as a bedtime story. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) suggests mixing math into bedtime reading as one of 5 Ways to Build Math into Your Child’s Day. Along those lines, why not make math a part of your story times in the library as well?
While math is a subject that makes many people panic, math for pre-schoolers is not something you need to fear. In a post titled “Everyday Math Play in Pre-School,” Deborah Stewart says that “As adults, we can tend to over-think how to go about teaching math to young children but promoting mathematical thinking and basic math concepts can come through all kinds of simple hands-on activities.” She goes on to share simple math activities that can be incorporated into story time.
In order to help you brainstorm math activities for young children, I’ve rounded up some resources for you. Perhaps you’ll recognize that you already do many of these activities during story times!
How do you integrate math concepts into story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Researchers at the University of Washington Information School have conducted a study called Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully 2 (VIEWS2). It is the first study which demonstrates that “Storytimes can provide many opportunities to help children develop early literacy skills.”
This seems obvious, right? Isn’t that the whole purpose of story time? While it may seem readily apparent that the goal of story time is to increase children’s early literacy skills, it is important to remember that there are key concepts that we can address during story time to increase understanding of these ideas.
The VIEWS2 study resulted in resources demonstrating how to incorporate eight early literacy concepts into your story times. The concepts include:
Each resource page includes a definition of the concept and a brief video (under 3 minutes), along with a concept tool and a tip sheet.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate early literacy skills into story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Following up on last week’s post, another potential resource for early childhood education tips you can provide to parents is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC “is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children.”
There is a section of the site specifically for educators of preschool age children. Even if you don’t subscribe to their publication Teaching Young Children, you can access online features from current and past issues. There is a section called Message in a Backpack, which provides PDFs designed specifically to be sent home with children for continued learning during the week with the support of the parents. They cover a wide range of topics that could be integrated into story time themes you already have planned.
There is also a site for families called NAEYC for Families. Learning and Development Topics on this site are grouped into Child Development, Reading & Writing, and Music, Math & More.
Sample topics in the Child Development section include:
Sample topics in the Reading & Writing section include:
Sample topics in the Music, Math & More section include:
If you like to include music in your story times, there is also a page on the site devoted to music resources, including songs and information on learning with music.
There is also a blog, with useful posts such as, Low Cost Learning Materials for Infants and Toddlers. These posts were written by families sharing their “learning moments.”
What kinds of child development or early childhood education tips do you share with parents at story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Back in July, BreAnne wrote a post highlighting the usefulness of the resources on the NDSU Extension Service website.
Today I want to highlight a few of the resources on the Family Science page. They offer “a new parent education curriculum focused on parenting young children” called “Bright Beginnings.” The publications that go along with the ten lesson modules are available online.
While the resources are geared towards parents and cover topics such as physical, emotional, and social development, the publications related to play and reading are particularly well suited for use as story time resources as well.
If you are looking for resources you can provide to parents to take home so they can continue building on the skills learned in story time throughout the week, check out these publications.
The reading resources include (in PDF format):
The play resources include (in PDF format):
Do you currently provide take home resources for parents at story time? Tell us about them in the comments!
Last week, we talked about using activity centers for story time. As highlighted in the original post, one of the major benefits that came from using activity centers at story time instead of crafts was increased conversation between parents and children.
When you work with children regularly, it’s easy to forget that working with their children on early literacy skills may not come naturally to all parents. In fact, they may not even realize how important it is just to talk to their child.
So what are some ways you can help parents interact with their children?
- Include parents during story time to encourage interaction.
- One library in Ohio offers mini programs on how to read a book with a child. This is simply demonstrating to parents what types of questions they can ask before, while, and after reading a book with their child.
- Remind parents to model reading behavior. Even people without kids know that kids watch and mimic everything. Encourage parents to make sure kids see them reading at home. Perhaps offering an adult summer reading program would be a good start?
- If you are using activity centers at story time, provide cards for each center with conversation prompts. These can be as simple as suggestions to count, sort, and name shapes and colors, or providing the lyrics to appropriate songs or rhymes.
- Send parents home with activity ideas. The CSLP summer reading manual is thick, and it’s easy to overlook that there is an entire section devoted to early literacy. It has sheets you can reproduce and send home with parents.
- Reading Rockets has reading tip sheets for parents. Though standard data rates apply, parents can also sign up to receive text messages with literacy ideas and activities they can do at home.
- Introduce the six early literacy skills and ways parents can encourage their development at home.
For more in-depth coverage of this topic, check out two new additions to the State Library collection:
How do include parents during story time? How do you help prepare parents to improve their child’s early literacy skills at home? Share your ideas in the comments!