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Monday 11 September 2017

How to Run Children's Story Time

This morning I had a conversation with my children about the library. We were talking about the books their school library had or the lack thereof. My youngest had discovered Manga and realised he could borrow them at the high school and this lead to a discussion about what makes a good library and librarian.

This talk of libraries and librarians brought to mind my long forgotten desire to become a librarian when I was younger. At that time, I wanted to be both a teacher and a librarian. I couldn't quite decided which one I liked better. I love children and yet I also love books.

I love to read them and I love to write them. I could spend hours at the library looking at books. I earned the name of bookworm from early on. When I was in high school I would spend some lunch time in the library by myself. None of my friends could understand why I chose to surround myself with more books than necessary at school.

When my children were young I took them to the local library's story time. They loved listening to the reading of a book by the librarian and then doing an activity based on the book. I could imagine myself doing this. And that's what I did. I volunteered at a local playgroup to do their story time each week.

There are two ways to prepare the lessons for your own story time for a group of children. The first is to decide on what you want to teach them. Maybe it's spring and you want to teach them about plants or insects.

1. So you decide on what to teach.You might want to teach life cycles so you might choose a caterpillar.
2. From there, you select a storybook with that theme. 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' is an obvious one with this theme for preschoolers or kindergartners.

3. You then brainstorm the types of activities that you want to do. You could have a movement activity where you have children pretend they're caterpillars wriggling around on a leaf (on the floor) then have the caterpillars go to sleep and transform into a butterfly whereby the children flap their wings and fly around the room. You could sing a few caterpillar or butterfly songs, if you know of any. There's a traditional Vietnamese butterfly song that is sung to the tune of 'Frere Jacque' and it goes like this (when I translate and make some changes so it goes better with the tune): Yellow butterfly, Yellow butterfly. Spread your wings, Spread your wings. Flutter around and round, Flutter around and round, I watch you, I watch you.

4. Finally, you decide on what craft is age appropriate for the children to make. You could have children make a caterpillar or a butterfly craft - there are plenty of ideas on the internet.
The second way to prepare lessons is to go with whatever book you have on hand. Sometimes you don't have or can't find the book that you want for your theme. In this case, choose a book that you have access to and read it to decide what lesson children could learn from the book. From there, you'd brainstorm the activities and crafts to accompany it.

I loved running these story times and the children loved listening to books being read with the added bonus of making a craft. I reckon I would have made a great teacher librarian, even if I say so myself!

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