Way back at ALA Midwinter in January, I chatted with some folks at ALSC about Storytime Underground. That conversation led to a great collaborative offering–a Guerrilla Storytime at the 2014 ALSC National Institute this past week in Oakland, CA. Kendra and I were in attendance and facilitated. Here’s the recap, to the best of our abilities. Don’t forget to click through for videos! You can also follow this link to the Guerrilla Storytime at #alsc14 playlist.
Opening Song: Hands Are Clapping, clap, clap, clap / Hands are clapping, clap, clap, clap / Hands are clapping, clap, clap, clap / Clap your hands my darlings / feet are stomping / mouths are kissing
Challenge: How do you include other languages?
- Sing: “yo te amo / yo te amo / all say long I sing this little song to you / yo te amo / yo te amo / all day long I sing this song to you” You can all yell at Kendra for not getting this on video.
- Count the number of kids in attendance in different languages with help from parents who speak other languages
Challenge: How do you incorporate letter knowledge into storytimes?
- With babies, don’t necessarily want to do letters to make parents anxious; instead talk about shapes
- In preK storytime, have a theme letter, and before storytime kids do a search around the library for ten die cuts of the letter; sing the letter in storytime with prop letters; connect to words that have that letter, does anyone have that letters in their name
- For 3&4 year olds, celebrate the letter “B” by singing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” and stand up/sit down with b words
- Include ASL alphabet, promotes a lot of parent interaction, motor skills, takes longer to talk about the letters
Challenge: What’s your favorite use of props?
- Magnet board w laminated pics
- Bag with a prop that relates to the story or theme coming up, ask lots of questions
- Parachute Jack in the Box
- Shaker song, shake on every single word in a song (same video as Parachute rhyme)
- Scarves as silly hats
- Scarves, “Who is hiding?”
- Scarves raining. No video. Lyrics here.
Challenge: How do you deal with rude parents?
- Make them part of the st
- Invite them into the circle
- Include participatory language in every storytime intro to help the concept set in
- Give participation a positive spin – your kids love doing this with you!
- “Popcorn on a train”, encourage parents to do it with their child
Challenge: A parent won’t respond to their disruptive kid. What do you do?
- Ask with humor, “Who belongs to this kid?”
- Give a reminder that breaks are okay
- Set clear expectations
- Make eye contact with child
- Have a rug “no fly zone” that creates clear expectations and humor
Challenge: A child has a severe emotional reaction to a book you’re reading; what do you do?
- Reassure the child it will be okay
- Have a comfort toy
- Frame potentially scary stories in a reassuring way. For example, before reading a fairy tale like Heckedy Peg, which might seem scary, talk about how fairy tales start (“Once upon a time”) and how they end (“Happily ever after”) to show that no matter what happens in the middle, it’ll be okay
- Drop the book and redirect, then reflect later on the trigger
- Retrace your steps- if noise is the issue, retract
Guerrilla Query: In a K-2 storytime, an older kid, instead of laughing, would yell “Jesus Christ!” very loudly whenever something funny happened in the story. How would you handle that? Video of Q & A
- As a group, practice ways to laugh so everyone does silly laughs in a similar way
- Use clapping instead of laughing
Challenge: How do you incorporate vocabulary into storytime? Video (even though it’s super hard to hear, sorry!)
- Read AND RED GALOSHES
- Use song books like Jan Cabrera to reinforce that different words can mean the same things
- Change a song lyric, little becomes gigantic, etc
- Nonfiction! Don’t have to read aloud, but discuss the story or word
- Have a vocab word that goes with the theme
- CLICK CLACK MOO and the word “furious”
- WOLFS CHICKEN STEW and the word “scrumptious”
- Ask ” who knows what this means?”
- Share rich vocab stories
- Rhyme time with rhyming words that relate to theme, also weird words
Closing songs (Video)
- “Sunny Day” from Little Jean Library: the sun comes up the flowers bloom
- Jim Gill’s goodbye song is hilarious ” Moving Rhymes for Modern Times” with silly ways to say goodbye
- “Wave high, wave low, now it’s time we’ve got to go”
- “We say goodbye like this”
Thank you, ALSC, for being open to the idea of a Guerrilla Storytime at Institute. We had a great time kicking off the first session morning by learning great storytime skills from colleagues!