Friday, February 25, 2011

Why I Mostly Just Read Books

I read about, hear about, and watch many storytellers who like to just tell their stories, as opposed to reading them. Sometimes they use props or the flannelboard. Sometimes they just dramatize the story with movement. Many library storytimes also include doing a craft. I think that's fine, and I like using the flannelboard and occasionally telling a story with a prop, but I really like for my preschool storytimes to center on books. To me, the most valuable idea kids can take away from storytime is that there are some great books out there. I want them to love coming to storytime because they'll get to listen to exciting stories with interesting pictures, and then they'll get to go to the library and check out their own books. I want them to ask to be read to because they know they'll get to hear stories that are funny, or interesting or even a little scary. They'll be excited to learn to read because then they'll be able to read great books by themselves whenever they want. And as adults, hopefully they'll have formed a lifelong love of reading. Those who love to read never need to be bored, and never stop learning. How awesome is that?

This Week at the Library

I hope you enjoyed the snow! It didn't seem to cause too many problems, and if you have older children, I'm sure they appreciated the snow day. I'm pretty much always there on snowy days since I can easily walk. I enjoyed walking on Thursday, even though I could have driven. It's so pretty!

Baby Time

Our babies this week were quite close in age to each other, but we got a good illustration of how much alike, yet how different they all are. At one point, every baby had an object in his or her mouth, drooling and chewing happily. Yet at the same time, some babies crawled on all fours, some log-rolled, some jungle-crawled, and some walked - and it didn't necessarily follow that the older ones walked and the younger ones rolled. Each baby will hit the milestones in his/her own time.

Toddler Time

On Thursday, we had only three little girls show up. It made for a very different dynamic, fun and more personal. We had an excellent illustration of the power of doing everything twice. When it came time to do "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear," I started the song and began doing the motions. The girls just stood and watched me and didn't participate at all. Then I said, "Let's do it again," and restarted the song. This time the moved right along with me. As I frequently tell the parents at Baby Time, the first time through is for it to sink in and get familiar. The second time is when they think "Oh yeah, I get it. I can do this!"

Our books this week were:

It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles G. Shaw. The children love guessing the animals - "Great Horned Owl!" (ha!) and saying "But it wasn't a Great Horned Owl!"

Come Along, Daisy!, by Jane Simmons. I appreciate how this book teaches a valuable lesson without the child even knowing it.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme this week was "Hats." It's so much fun coming in with a pile of hats on my head and letting the kids guess how many there are. Then we count them and talk about the purpose of each one.

We read:

Stormy's Hat, by Eric Kimmel. (My first storytelling class in college was from him at Portland State.) I read this on Tuesday. A true story about how the engineer's cap was invented.

Who Took the Farmer's Hat?, by Joan Nodset. Children love stories where they figure something out that the characters in the story don't.

Whose Hat?, by Margaret Miller. Guessing books like this make the kids feel smart.

Go Ask Giorgio, by Patricia Wittman. I read this one on Wednesday. Poor Giorgio keeps getting asked by the townspeople to do more and more jobs - with a hat for each one. Finally he says "Three hats only!"

Old Hat, New Hat, by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Bear tries on dozens of new hats, but decides his old one is best.

I told the story Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett. This story has nothing to do with hats, but it has an amazing hat prop to go along with it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If Thursday is a Snow Day

If the library is open Thursday morning, I'll be there for Storytime. I live within walking distance, so I'll be there for whoever shows up. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

There It Is!

I just found out my book Cliffhanger Writing Prompts is on! Up till now it was on the UK and Canada site, but a friend just told me she preordered it on the American site. My first sale! Feel free to look it up and "like" it. ;-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Marshmallow Experiment

Years ago a researcher conducted a now-famous and often duplicated experiment. He took a group of preschoolers, one at a time, and put them in a room with a marshmallow on a plate. He told each child, "You can eat this marshmallow now, or wait til I come back and I'll give you another one, and then you'll have two." He then left the room for 15 minutes, and we get to watch the child squirm, fidget, touch the marshmallow, smell it, pick it up, lick it, TRY so hard not to eat it. Some give in, some don't.

The really fascinating part is the follow up studies. What became of the children with self-control, and what became of those without? I heard a story about that today, and found a very similar report on youtube, which I hope you'll watch here. There are excellent lessons to be learned by us parents.

Then, just for fun, watch replications of the experiment, like this one.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Normal at the Library

Aaaah. I got to do all seven Storytimes, and I felt healthy! Yay! My heart went out to the poor little girl who got sick at Storytime. That stomach bug is so nasty!

Baby Time

One mom expressed concern that her baby who isn't walking yet isn't interested in staying in her lap for our baby rhymes. No, she isn't ready for Toddler Time if she isn't walking, and there's nothing to be concerned about. Even if she doesn't care about being bounced and tickled in your lap, she's still hearing the words, the rhythms, the melodies and the rhymes. It's sinking in. Plus the socialization with the other babies and moms is good for her, too.

Toddler Time

I just love how I've watched some little ones start out so hesitant about participating, just watching from Mom's lap, too young to say the words to the fingerplays, and now they're right up there in front singing at the top of their lungs, answering my questions during the story time, laughing at the pictures. A few of them I've known since birth, and it's so fantastic to watch them grow.

This week we read:

Lemons Are Not Red, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. The ones who were able to name the correct colors were so proud of themselves!

No, David!, by David Shannon. I love how this book is autobiographical. And I love the combination of fascination and laughter the pictures bring out. Everyone is transfixed by watching someone else be naughty.

Preschool Storytime

This week we were all about dogs. There are scads of good picture books about dogs. I had trouble choosing which ones to read, and I actually ended up reading a couple of different ones Tuesday and Wednesday.

Just Dog, by Hiawyn Oram. Dog is named "Dog" and thinks he needs something better. Until his family wants to name him things like "Pudding Face." He decides "Dog" is just fine. This one I read on Wednesday.

I Want a Dog, by Helga Bansch. I hadn't read this one before, so I tried it on Tuesday. I think it went over pretty well, but it may be better for an older group.

Pretzel, by Margaret Rey. I got a lot of giggles when I told the kids this was a LOVE story. I think it's adorable. It's dated, but the fun is all in how you tell it.

Katie Loves the Kittens, by John Himmelman. I read this on Tuesday, then it got buried in the closet and I missed it on Wednesday. Such a cute book about Katie, who loves the kittens SO MUCH she just has to chase them all over the room. Then she feels guilty for scaring them.

The Stray Dog, by Marc Simont. Two resourceful children outsmart the dog catcher!

I told the story Bark, George, by Jules Feiffer with a stuffed dog and some beanie babies in its belly. Lots of good laughs with that one!

We also sang the old camp song "Bingo."

There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o.
And Bingo was his name-o.

Oh yes - and the King song! It goes like this:

Oh, once there was a king.
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up the hill and
He marched them down again.

And when you're up, you're up.
And when you're down, you're down.
And when you're in between
You're neither up nor down.

The standing up and down quickly with this really helps get the wiggles out. Then we do it "Chinese" style - like the people on the other side of the world who are upside down. First line is "There was a chinese king..." We sit for going UP the hill, and stand for going DOWN the hill.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This Week at the Library

Since I'm writing this on Wednesday, I'll say one more time NO STORYTIMES on Thursday, February 10.

We had a very nice Tuesday and Wednesday, though. I've noticed another big crop of twins coming along. A few years ago there were 10-12 sets of twins coming regularly to the library for the various Storytimes. Then they grew up and moved on, but now we're back to, let's see, at least six sets, plus some triplets. I love it!

Preschool Storytime

In honor of upcoming Valentine's Day, we had a "Friendship" theme. We read:

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, by Jacky Davis. This is a book (actually seven in the series now) that I WISH I had written. It has all the themes I love: playing with imagination, learning to play cooperatively, strong and positive self-esteem, and high drama!

Little Beaver and the Echo, by Amy MacDonald. Children love it when they figure something out before the character in the book does. They grinned when Little Beaver kept looking for the Echo.

What Are Friends For?, by Sally Grindley. Jefferson Bear and Figgy Twosocks have a falling out, but manage to apologize and make up.

I told the story Benny's Pennies, by Pat Brisson, on the flannelboard. The storyprop makes this simple story fun.

Toddler Time

We did some great Ring Around the Rosie this week! I love it when I see the little ones start to organize their own games of Ring Around the Rosie. One group tried and tried, but the little boy only wanted to fall down, so it made the games very short.

Our books were:

Here Are My Hands, by Bill Martin and John Archambault. We make this book active by showing all the body parts the book names, including waving our feet in the air!

Spot Bakes a Cake, by Eric Hill. The last lift-the-flap Spot book on my shelf. I wish you parents could see their faces brighten at the page where Spot puts on all the frosting.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This Week at the Library

First - There will be no Toddler Time or Baby Time on Thursday, February 10. I'm sorry I wasn't able to announce it last Thursday. If anyone reading this post knows someone who attends on Thursdays, please let them know.

Baby Time

Wow! Our group is growing! 20 babies, plus some siblings and grandparents along for the ride. We had such a good time singing and bouncing our babies. After the guided portion, everyone had a great time visiting and letting the little ones explore the toys and each other.

Toddler Time

We sang "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" this week, and for some reason, more than any other time, the kids thought it was hysterically funny when we said "Ew, it's yucky!" and then noticed the squished up bumblebee on our clothes. A few of them just laughed and laughed. (Sorry, PETA) Check the labels for "Baby Bumblebee" on the right to see all the verses we sing.

We read:

Two Bear Cubs, by Ann Jonas. Besides the actual story, the children enjoy trying to find Mother Bear on each page, and knowing that she's always watching her cubs, even if they don't see her.
No Biting!, by Karen Katz. Biting, hitting, kicking, pushing, all are powerful things for a toddler. This book channels that desire in a positive direction. Feel like hitting? Hit a drum! Feel like kicking? Kick a ball!

Preschool Storytime

"Colors" is one of my favorite themes. I have a fantastic book by Ruth Heller called Color that I love to bring in. I don't read the text, but I show them the transparent layered pages that show how only four colors, yellow, cyan blue, magenta and black, make up all the color they see in the illustrations. It never fails to elicit "Show me that again!"

I also love the "science experiment" we do for this theme. I bring in four clear plastic cups of water and mix food coloring into three of them - red, yellow and blue. Then we do some pouring back and forth to create orange, green, purple and brown. I recommended they do the same in their bath water. It really is fun, and I promise if you use regular food coloring, it won't dye their skin!

We also read:

The Blue Balloon, by Mick Inkpen. Fold out pages make this book extra fun. We even learned to say "indestructible."

White is for Blueberry, by George Shannon. Once they "got" this book, they had fun trying to figure it out before I turned the page. They loved it.

Lemons are Not Red, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Cut-out pages and the silliness of blue grass hold the attention in this one.

Winnie the Witch, by Valerie Thomas. Winnie can't see her black cat in her black house, but hates making her cat unhappy when she turns him multi-colored. So she leaves her cat black and changes her house! One insightful child noticed that this showed how much Winnie loves her cat.

We also sang the "Colors" song off the Wee Sing Games CD.