Here’s our first Ask a Storytime Ninja Lightning Round for the month of May! These questions are posed to all of our ninjas instead of just our featured monthly ones and are meant to be quick and efficient responses to some interesting inquiries. Here’s our question for this week:
“When do you change up your storytime routine, if at all? I’ve been doing pretty much the same opening/closing/etc. for over 3 years now, and for me, it’s gotten pretty stale. However, the kids and adults still love it, so I’m hesitant to change something. Any advice?”
From Kendra J. (@klmpeace, www.klmpeace.wordpress.com):
I know it is time to change things up when they start feeling stale to me. You want to make sure you are enthusiastic about storytime and if things start to feel boring to you, the kids are going to pick up on that. That being said, I’ve kept a few things the same for the last 6 years. Opening and closing routines will stay the same for at least a full storytime season, but with the exception of “This is Big” for a transition rhyme, all the songs and activities in the meat of the storytime change almost every week. I have an unofficial rotating list of songs and activities that families who are with me for the whole storytime session and beyond will know well but things still stay fresh for me.
Moral of the story, if it’s stale, freshen it up. They will love anything you love, promise.
From Miss Sue (Libraryvillage.blogspot.com):
It happens to the best of us! I wouldn’t change everything at once, especially since your kids are still loving the routine (what kid doesn’t?). Try a new song in the middle, learn to play simple songs on the ukulele (what I did), bring in a new puppet…whatever! Just changing one thing will give you a little adrenaline rush without confusing the kids. I wouldn’t change a second thing until that first thing is firmly rooted in your story time. Routine is good – but a little change can freshen how you approach story time.
Change it, change it, change it! BUT only change a part of it. I change about 25-30% of my opening and closing routines each 7-week session. That lives me enough familiarity for my families but a big enough change that I don’t feel bored or stifled. Plus it adds to my repertoire! If you don’t do sessions or do storytime continuously throughout the year, perhaps switch one rhyme out every month for a new one. If you get requests to bring a song back, you can always work it in somewhere else in the program every once in a while.
From Natasha FC. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natasha-Forrester-Librarian/201079469997932):
Keeping the same routine for opening and closing can get old for the provider, but it can be a great crowd management tool to get kids ready to settle in for storytime and a comfort to families that aren’t able to make it every week but come often enough to recognize what’s happening. It’s also developmentally appropriate to give kids those cues so they know what is happening next. Having said that, I still alter mine on occasion to keep things fresh for me, but I try to a.) make changes after a storytime break (I started taking a month off each quarter to refresh and prep for the next three-month session), and/or b.) make changes one at a time (for example if you do three songs at the beginning, keep the first one and change the second one one week, then the third one a few weeks later, and so on, so there is some routine continuation.
Thanks for the responses everyone! Have any of your own? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts!