Guerrilla Storytime at Annual 2015

This is a very late recap, but we have some great notes on the GS sessions at ALA, thanks to Rachel K., so we wanted to share. Annual 2015 was the 2 year anniversary of the birth of Guerrilla Storytimes, and there have been at least 41 of them around the country and Canada since then. That’s almost two a month. !!!!


We love getting everyone together at Librarian Summer Camp, and getting to learn from all our internet idols. This year some brilliant things were shared, and it continues to be my favorite part of conference. It probably would be even if I hadn’t invented it.


Before we get into the nitty gritty, here are some great resources from people who were there:


Embedded image permalink


Here are Rachel’s notes*:

*Bonus video at the end!


Guerrilla Story Time

ALA Annual



Pull a challenge stick. Answer if you can, if not pass to the group. Let’s also try to  to share an early literacy tip you would use along with that song/rhyme/etc.


Start off sharing favorite summer welcome song


  • Good Morning, Dear Earth


Good Morning Dear Earth (hands as if holding earth on abdomen)

Good Morning Dear Sun (stretch arms above head in a circular arc)

Good Morning Dear Trees (stretch arms to side, like tree branches)

And the Flowers Everywhere (hands holding flowers on ground)

Good Morning Dear Beasts (hands as if petting a dog,etc..)

And the Birds in the Trees (hands “fly” away like birds flying away)

Good Morning Dear You and Good Morning Dear Me. (hands reaching to each other, then hands cross over our chest)

  • EL Tip: “We just did pinching and finger movements which are good practice for motor control.”


Favorite shaker song


How do you promote your baby story times?

  • Wake up senses to start
  • Facebook, post learning activity and remind parents about upcoming programming events
  • Branding of story times “Little U Classes:” Baby Brilliance, Talented Toddlers, Junior Genius.
  • Inviting parents when you see them in the room – being very friendly and making sure they feel welcome to attend. An individual invitation can go a long way.
  • Baby Wednesdays – everything blocked together in one morning


What do you do to make story time welcoming to non traditional families?

  • Focusing on the character’s love/caring for the child, not their role “That is someone who cares about Ducky” not “It’s Ducky’s mom.”
  • When unexplained, just leave it at that.
  • If you are told you *have* to do a themed program like Mothers’ Day, make sure that it is advertised, so families that are sensitive to that might avoid if it if they choose.
  • Also if doing a program, chose books with non-traditional arrangements like A Mother for Chaco.


Family Story Time (How handle wide range of ages?)


  • Step Into Storytime by Ghoting


  • Keep it interactive, use lots of props and puppets
  • Lots of activities outside the book like singing, puppets, etc.
  • Advocate for separate toddler time (if enough are attending to merit)
  • Start with the little ones, tell everyone you are doing this. That way if the younger ones have shorter attention spans, they can leave when they’re ready and you can focus more on the older kids later in the program.
  • Have the older kids help you tell the story, like a fairy tale
  • Provide modifications for caregivers who have kids of varying ages (ie: lift your baby up or preschoolers can stand up themselves)
  • Ask the big kids to help you sing “extra loud”
  • Sing a lot, use songs where you can get input from the older kids


Storytime Underground Plug

  • Collaboratively run by the joint chiefs
  • Actively seeking new joint chiefs, please contact if interested.


Favorite Way to Use Props

  • Alternate: 3 songs with shakers, 3 songs with scarves
  • When Ducks Get Up in the Morning with puppets
  • Rhythm Sticks: march around the room
  • Coffee can stories (from Wolftrap) where you tell a story and gradually pull out props from a can as you do to faciliate.
  • Bean bags: use them on chest when doing yoga to see breathing; on the parachute; as a substitute for shakers
  • Bean bags with letters (uppercase/lowercase on either side): Hand out and ask caregivers to talk about your letter with their kids. What kind of lines does it have? What shapes do you see? Feel it with your finger. Showing that sometimes you don’t have to do an activity or play with something, just having a conversation about it is valuable.
  • Scarf song: Popcorn Kernels (
  • Another Popcorn song

You put the oil in the pot and get it real hot.

You put the popcorn in and get a big grin

Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle

Sizzle, Sizzle, Sizzle Pop!

How do you hand out lots of props without chaos?

  • Have them all in a paper bag, everyone grabs on the way into the room and grown-up regulates getting out/putting away each as needed
  • Simon Says as you pass out and clean up (“Simon says put the bean bag on your head”)


Plug for CLEL







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