Sunday’s Guerrilla Storytime in the Uncommons at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference included 50-ish participants and a whole bunch of onlookers peering down from the escalator and balcony. What can we say–when youth services folks are peer-sharing and having fun, it’s definitely noticeable!
Opening Song: “When the pigs get up in the morning / They always say ‘good day.’ / When the pigs get up in the morning / They always say ‘good day.’ / What does the pig say? / ‘Oink!’ / They say, ‘Oink, oink, oink, oink!’ / That is what they say.”
Challenge: A child keeps pulling the pieces off of the felt board. What do you do?
- Put the pieces higher on the board so they are out of reach
- Ask a caregiver to help manage the situation
- Have an announcement at the beginning of storytime about the leader’s “special space” or “no fly zone”
- Have two felt boards–one for you, one to play
- Have participatory felt stories so everyone has pieces to contribute
Challenge: A parent complains that you’ve integrated new media elements into your storytime. How do you respond?
- “Storytime is about all sorts of new experiences”
- “Libraries are more than just books” Video.
- Talk in an accessible way about research around the subject
- “Not everyone has access to these types of fun tools at home”
- Explain that, just as we model new ways to interact with books, we want to model great ways to use media
- Model something that is part of a child’s world so the experience isn’t wholly standalone
Challenge: How do you incorporate other languages in your storytimes?
- Simple counting in multiple languages
- Sing songs in English and other languages.
- Check out the Embracing Diversity project from Canada for resources
- “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” in Tagalog See Jbrary teach it to us.
- Use your local schools as a resource! They know what languages their students and their families speak, and can direct you to tools
Challenge: What’s your favorite way to add phonological awareness to storytime?
- Tanka, Tanka, Skunk! and clapping out syllables
- Do a clapping name rhyme: “Heckedy Peckedy Bumblebee / Won’t you say your name for me?” “Amy” A (clap) – ME (clap), with claps/pats/whispers/shouts for each syllable
Challenge: An ambulance pulls up during storytime and all the kids run to the window. What do you do?
- Sing “Hurry Drive the Firetruck” (tune of Ten Little): “Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck / Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck / Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck / Ding ding ding ding ding!”; repeat with “Hurry, hurry, climb the ladder…squirt the fire”
- Let kids be ambulances themselves, zooming around the room making siren noises
Challenge: What’s your favorite “Five Little” rhyme?
- Five Little Elephants: “Five little elephants in the bathtub for a swim / Splash, splash, splash / Swim, swim, swim / Come on in!”
- Five Hungry Ants: “Five hungry ants were marching in a line / They came across a picnic where they could dine. / They marched across the sandwich / They marched across the cake / They marched across the pepper / Uh oh! That was a mistake! / AH-CHOOO!!!!
- Pyjama Party This one can be done on the ukulele, too!
Guerrilla Query: What are your favorite parachute activities?
- “Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play” to the tune of Bingo: “Talk, sing, read, write, play / Talk, sing, read, write, play / Talk, sing, read, write, play / Make a reader everyday!”
- “The Colors Over You” to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle: “Red and green and yellow and blue / These are the colors over you. / Red like an apple and green like a tree / Yellow like the sun and blue like the sea. / Red and green and yellow and blue / These are the colors over you.”
- “Pop the Bubbles” to the tune of Ten Little: “Pop, pop, pop the bubbles. / Pop, pop, pop the bubbles. / Pop, pop, pop the bubbles. / Fast fast fast fast fast!”
- “Popcorn Kernels” to the tune of Frere Jacques: “Popcorn kernels / Popcorn kernels / In a pot / In a pot / Shake them, shake them, shake them / Shake them, shake them, shake them / Till they POP! / Till they POP!”
- “If you’re happy and you know it give a shake!”
- Use recorded music with the parachute for baby dance, like “Under a Shady Tree”
- “Peekaboo, I See You” to the tune of Frere Jacques: “Peekaboo / Peekaboo / I see you / I see you / I see your button nose / And I see your toes / Peekaboo / I see you”
Challenge: No one is dancing with you! What do you do?
- “I Know a Chicken” by Laurie Berkner See Rachel get people dancing.
- Go directly to a child and dance with them, then repeat
- Just keep dancing! If you stop, they’ll never dance
- “Oh no! The kids don’t know the steps! Grownups, you have to show them how to do this dance!”
- Get parents to help get their kids dancing
- “Uh oh! Kids! Get your parents up!”
- Build a culture of dance so that dancing is just normal for storytime
Guerrilla Query: How do you deal with a HUGE storytime crowd?
- Think about projecting your story so that everyone can see it–think apps, or a document camera
- Use books that pop up, books you can sing to–illustrations aren’t as important
- Limit yourself to one prop per storytime so you don’t spend the whole time managing props
- Put the parachute flat on the floor for play
- Make your props worthwhile–do 3-4 activities with them before collecting them
- Change your program format to offer back-to-back storytimes, both the same content; families may be willing to wait 30 minutes for the next session if the first is packed
- Address possible disruptions, like talking, up front to help control the crowd Lindsey shares her strategy.
- Get families talking to each other instead of everyone trying to talk to you when you ask questions
- Create a warm up game that keeps kids busy (warm up your elbows! etc.) while you share some house rules with the caregivers. See Audrey’s AWESOME warm up.
- Offer other programs that can accommodate such a big crowd, like a baby dance program
Guerrilla Query: What are your favorite interactive books?
- Can You Make a Scary Face
- From Head to Toe
- Press Here
- Tap the Magic Tree
- Count the Monkeys
- Don’t Push the Button!
- It’s a Tiger
- There are Cats in this Book
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
- Cat Secrets
- Really Terrible Musicians
- Pete’s a Pizza
- The Foot Book with labels on the kids’ feet so they can play along
- The Croaky Pokey
- If You’re Hoppy
- I Got the Rhythm
- Make any book interactive by asking questions! Example: cold reading of Love Monster and the Perfect Present by Jenny
Challenge: What’s your go-to goodbye song?
- “Can You Kick With Two Feet” to the tune of Mary Had a Red Dress: “Can you kick with two feet? Two feet? Two feet? Can you kick with two feet? Kick, kick, kick!”; repeat with verses for hands that clap, lips that kiss, fingers that wiggle, and waving goodbye