Tag Archives: Storytime

Stories of Impact: Storytime Makes a Difference!

Today, instead of an advocacy tool box post, I’d like to share with you a letter one of my library’s storytime providers received from a grandmother who regularly brings her granddaughter to storytime. It’s a wonderful reminder that YES our storytimes work and YES the grown-ups are understanding the parent messages we’re sharing – and that our patrons are some of our BEST advocates. If you ever get a letter like this, be sure to share it with your supervisors and other higher-ups! They need to know (if they don’t already) that storytime makes a difference!


What we do makes a difference, friends, and here’s the proof! I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Shared with permission.


Thank You Letter


(In case the pdf won’t open, here’s the full text:)


Dear [librarian],


I just want to thank you for the wonderful story time sessions you provide on Wednesday mornings for the two to three year olds. It’s not an easy session to plan and/or to implement, but I have to say it is, as far as I’m concerned, a wonderfully valuable time for the children, parents and grandparents who attend. I’ve learned a lot about how young children learn, and I think I’ve finally got the “Hokey Pokey,” “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and a few other songs under my belt. I’m a little tired of waking up in the middle of the night with these tunes/ear worms in my head, but [grandchild] and the other kids clearly enjoy them.


[Grandchild] is obviously not the best behaved participant, but that’s some of why I think the program you provide is so valuable. She is an only child and an only grandchild of five grandparents, who make quite a fuss about her. That’s both a plus and a minus, but the pluses of your program include the following benefits for her and the other kids:

  • Learning to listen
  • Learning to follow directions
  • Experiencing the joy of controlled physical movement
  • Learning to share
  • Learning to interact with peers and adults appropriately
  • Learning to behave appropriately/respectfully
  • Building pre-reading skills
  • Getting a positive introduction to a library
  • Having a positive experience with an adult in a teacher role
  • Being exposed to stories that aren’t part of the home library


I also appreciate the short parenting lessons you present, so that we adults can better understand how to support the children under our care. When you say that “Research shows” I think you get everyone’s attention. Last week, for instance, you talked about the value of being present with our children when they are playing with apps. Even more to the point, you told us that these children benefit most from spontaneous play. I’m sure I’m not the only grandmother who tells my grandchild’s parents the pithy lessons you impart during these valuable sessions. So when you tell me these things, you should realize that the adults in attendance during one of your lessons might well be sharing the lessons with one or more other adults that are concerned with the development of the children in attendance. Thank you for what you do so well. The proof of the value of these sessions is in the number of children and caregivers who return week after week.




From the Archives- storytime behavior

Maybe you’re having some issues with storytime behavior. Or maybe you are new to the Storytime Underground Community. (Welcome! We’re so happy you’re here!) Either way, today I’m going to highlight some of the great content from our archives that you can use!


You know about our Ask a Storytime Ninja posts, right? Check it out, there’s great stuff there!

Lately, I’ve been reading and learning from all the amazing ninja advice about behavior in storytime. First up, how do you set expectations and explain the rules? Our awesome ninjas address rules!

And what about parents who don’t follow the rules? You know, the ones who chat or play on their phones or treat you like a babysitter? Check out some ninja advice!

Got a question for our ninjas? Ask it here!

What happens in storytime…

A couple weeks ago, someone shared this Instagram photo in the Storytime Underground Facebook group, and I LOVED it. It’s eye-catching and funny, and it drives home the point that storytime might look like fun and games, but it isn’t just fun and games, there is important work going on.

what happens in storytime books

As youth librarians, our work can be undervalued or misunderstood, either by colleagues or by patrons. After all, all we do all day is read books, play with toys, and do crafts, right? WRONG. I decided that I wanted to use this image as an advocacy/marketing tool for storytime at my library, and I thought you might want to also! So here are two different images sharing this important message. Feel free to download them, tweak them, add to them, and  use them to help share the message about the great work we do!

what happens in storytime

The Coolest Things I (We) Saw on the Internet This Week

It’s my first blog as a new Joint Chief and hoo boy, the pressure’s on! Not really. I’m just happy to be here! *Does happy dance*


This is a joint effort post (and not just because we’re joint chiefs – get it??), because the lovely and talented Cory has saved up a few great, and indeed, cool things to share that she hasn’t yet had the opportunity (what with being busy growing a tiny human and all).  She most kindly passed those cool things on to me so I’m happy to sprinkle those in with a few of my own.


Without further ado, let’s check out the cool:


Have you all visited No Time For Flashcards? My goodness, the number of supremely cool early learning activities, all presented in neat pinnable blocks, is truly staggering. I want to do everything she posts. Those cute dark-haired kiddos in the pictures? Her kids. I know this because I follow her on Instagram. Those are some lucky kids.


Somewhat related, Cory shares Beth’s latest edition of Think Outside the Stacks, which includes a cool roundup of process art for toddlers posts. Check it – and start encouraging the process over the product (which I’m sure you already do because you’re awesome people).


Two new studies examine the unexpectedly complex interactions that happen when you put a small child on your lap and open a picture book (an article written by Dr. Perri Klass, no less!). Thanks for sharing, @rebeccazdunn! 


Library Girl on why kids need a reading champion – and why it should be you. Viva la free choice reading!


This article on oppressive language (and what we should replace it with) is SO powerful. We know our behavior, words and actions are models for children. We also strive to be inclusive providers. So think about the words you use in front of children and their families. Or anywhere, really.


Malinda Lo writes about perceptions of  diversity in book reviews.


Erin over at Falling Flannelboards posted a super-cool and fairly simple iPad moviemaker program and now I want to go and make ALL THE MOVIES.


Meg posted this Science Lab program (featuring Batman (gravity!) and the Wonder Woman (5 senses!) almost a month ago so those of you who are up on your blog reading may have seen it. But holy cool STEM program, Batman!


How do you feel about Time’s list of the 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time?  Maybe I shouldn’t have put this on a “coolest things” list because personally, I feel like they could have asked a few children’s librarians and maybe have gotten a slightly more updated list. I mean, there’s some Mo Willems and Jon Klassen there, and Aaron Becker’s Journey, but I know there are a few more awesome books that could have been listed. But that’s just my opinion. What do you think?


Even though a lot of what we do for children in storytime can be supported by brain research, we are “still in the infancy of brain research” (HA!). Scientists are learning more and more every day and we’ll be able to put it all to good use in our libraries. Share this article with administrators, funders, parents – anyone who wants to know more about why we do what we do!


I think that’s probably enough to keep you busy until next week. Did you see/read/find anything particularly cool this week? Do share! And now, go and…


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.