Ask a Storytime Ninja: Books for Check Out

We love enthusiastic storytime participants, but sometimes it’s hard to be fair and make sure everyone leaves happy. This week’s question is looking for advice with this very issue. Do you have something to add? Leave it in the comments.



The Question:


“When I end storytime the books that I have read, approx. 8+ are available to check out. Some kids are quite eager to get the one they want . It makes me uncomfortable to see them grabbing for them. How can I facilitate this?”


Follow up to question:  some more information as requested by our featured ninjas.


“All the books are different.  As you know some kids are quick and grab and others hang back and wait.  I just want to help to make it not so competive.  We usually have 10-12 kids and I don’t sit far back either.  Lately I have been having other titles by the same author even if I don’t read them all.”



The Answers:


From Natasha:


It’s awesome to have the kiddos clamoring for the books you’ve just read to them!  Depending on the number of kids you could do a “lottery” – have the participants drop their names in a hat as they come into storytime if they want to get first crack at the storytime books, and then draw names at the end.  Another option is to use color awareness – “I’m wearing green today, is anyone else wearing green?” and then let the green-wearers have first crack at the books.  You could have other books available on display for the kids wearing other colors, or very little of the color you announced so that they all feel like they are getting something.


From Abby:


It’s great that your kids are interested to check out books after the storytime is over! I always put out books on display in the back of the room for families to check out after storytime and after we finish our last song, I introduce our play stations for the week before letting them loose. If you have time to add some play time or an activity after storytime, that might help deflect some of the energy off the books. Even something as brief as 10-15 minutes might help – once the kids know that the toys or crayons or whatever is coming out and they can engage with that for a few minutes while you get the books ready to go on your display table (or whatever you use).


I also second what Natasha suggested with finding some way to call on kids to make their choice, as long as you think you can make it fair (i.e. vary who you’re picking first each week, etc.). One way might be to recognize kids who showed good behavior during the storytime or kids who are sitting quietly and waiting to be called on at the end. One of the school readiness skills that we practice in storytime (even in my baby storytime) is turn-taking and even some of the 2-year olds I have in that storytime can sit and raise their hand and wait to be called on. I confess that what I would find difficult in that situation is trying to make sure that I’m not calling on the same two or three kids first more than other kids.


From Lindsey:


I second Natasha.  It’s awesome that the kids are so excited about the books you’ve read.  My suggestion is similar to Abby’s;  Have you tried laying out books for the kids to browse before storytime begins?  I like to do this because it gives the kids a few minutes to read, making good use of the time they might be waiting for others to arrive.  Maybe one of these books will spark their interest and there will be less demand for your storytime books?  You could also give a really quick booktalk for a similar title or previous favorite.  “I really wanted to share this book with you today but there just wasn’t time.”  If a child is particularly disappointed that she didn’t get a title she wanted, perhaps you could help her find a book after storytime.  I bet a little one-on-one with her favorite storytime provider would make whatever book you find together feel extra special.

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