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Early literacy is proven to be essential to a child's success in school, and libraries are embracing the call for early literacy by expanding storytimes, which are a key to promoting Kindergarten readiness and emergent literacy. Libraries are increasing the number of storytimes offered by training volunteers and paraprofessionals, as well as youth services librarians, to perform storytime for wider age groups than the traditional preschool storytime. The Storytime Fundamentals workshop has been designed to meet current demands for more storytimes that welcome a wider array of young children.

Workshop attendees will participate in a sample storytime, exchange ideas on themes, songs, and other ways of engaging young listeners, and learn practical methods on making storytime fun and comfortable for a wider audience.

At the conclusion of the workshop, students will take away outlines, hands-on craft ideas, and lists of books and websites that will make them more prepared, comfortable, and confident at performing a storytime at a library, school, daycare center, or other facility that is interested in promoting early literacy.

Workshop Description: This all-day, hands-on workshop will provide practical experience on planning and implementing library storytimes for preschoolers, babies, and toddlers. Through individual and group exercises you will learn how to select books, read to a group, add songs and fingerplays, use movement activities, make crafts and learn other interactive methods that promote kindergarten readiness while making storytime fun. You will complete an outline for storytime, brainstorm strategies on dealing with disruptions, take away a list of helpful websites on storytime, and learn why storytime is important to library programming and early literacy. The instructor will provide sample storytime plans, related bibliographies, a webliography, as well as practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately.

Pre-workshop assignment: Each student should bring a board book to use during one of the exercises; it should be a board book aimed at babies/toddlers ages 0-2.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • Storytime Format
    • Formats for preschoolers, toddlers, and babies
    • Why libraries feature storytimes in their regular programming
    • Physical environment of storytime
  • Selection of Materials for Storytime
    • Types of books, songs, fingerplays, and themes that are popular
  • Issues in Storytime: Kindergarten Readiness, Dialogic Reading, and Preparation
    • Dealing with disruptions
    • Scheduling, publicity, and family literacy
  • Storytime "Extras"
    • Bilingual storytimes
    • Puppets, storytelling, and flannelboards
    • Outreach storytimes

Workshop Instructor: Penny Peck