Category Archives: Storytimes

Ready, Set, Read!–All About You



Opening Song: Hands are clapping

Opening Game: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (3 times, faster each time)

photo(1) Book: My Nose, Your Nose, by Melanie Walsh (available through PINES)








photo(2)Book: I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! by Linda Davick. (E HUMAN BODY DAVI)








Rhyme: Open them, shut them

Rhyme: Eye Winker, Tom Tinker

Song: Hokey Pokey

photo(5)Book: From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle (E CARLE).








photo(13)Closing Game: Animal Action cube








Closing rhyme: My Hands Say Thank You


photo(3) photo(4)Activity: body tracing–parents/caregivers traced their child on a large sheet of paper, then the kids colored them in.  This was a great activity!  It was fun to see the kids and their adults talking about what they needed to add to their drawings.


Ready, Set, Read!–1, 2, 3!


Bubble machine (sing Hello Bubbles and One Little Two Little Three Little Bubbles)

Opening song: Hands are Clapping (to the tune of Skip to My Lou) Hands are clapping, clap clap clap, hands are clapping, clap clap clap, hands are clapping, clap clap clap, clap your hands my darlings.  (feet are stomping, bodies are wiggling)–I think this one was in this year’s early literacy summer reading manual

Opening game: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (sing 3 times–first time slow, second time a little faster, third time “super sonic speed”)

photo(11)Book: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean (E CATS LITW)








photo(15)Flannelboard Activity: My groovy (red) buttons.  I printed these buttons onto different colored paper, laminated them, and put a bit of velcro on the back.  I handed these out to the kids and instructed them to come up with their button when I called that color.  Then I said “My buttons, my buttons, my groovy (red) buttons.”  The kids with red buttons came up and put them on the flannelboard.  Then we counted how many red buttons we had.  We did this for each color.  Then we went back and counted the total number of buttons.







photo(6)Song: Bubble Bubble Pop.  I made these cards and we sang the song demonstrated adorably (as always) by the Jbrary girls here.








photo(12)Book: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Jane Cabrera (E COUNTING CABR)








photo(10)Book: Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd (E COLORS DODD)









Parachute activity: 3 little monkeys jumping on the bed

Parachute activity: Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! We’re Going to the Moon!

For both of these we put my three monkey puppets on the parachute and sang/recited the rhymes.  Three Little Monkeys got a little out of hand (they all fell off and some bumped their heads prematurely) so we had to put some of them back on.  It wasn’t perfect, but boy, did we have fun!  This is something I definitely want to incorporate more in my future storytimes.



photo(14)Closing game: animal action cube–we toss this at the end of storytime and imitate an animal.  This has really been fun!








Bubble machine and playtime

Craft and activity: bingo markers and teddy bear counter sorting

photo(9) photo(7)




Growing Readers–Eye Spy


earlGrowing Readers is a read aloud/read along storytime for emerging readers.  We began as usual with Earl the Elephant singing Willoughby Wallaby Woo.  The kids love when Earl sits on them!









welcomeEarl then read aloud his welcome message.  The letter of the day is circled in the message.







e bucketOnce we identified the letter of the day, we talked about the items in the “E” bucket.










word cloudThen we brainstormed other E words.










i spy with my little eyeRead Aloud:  I Spy with My Little Eye, by Edward Gibbs.  (E ANIMALS, GIBB)










duck rabbitRead Aloud: Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.  (E ANIMALS, ROSE)










eye bookRead Along: The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss.  (E SEUSS).  For Accelerated Reader info go here.










binocular craftActivity: I Spy binoculars.  Basic toilet paper roll binoculars.  We played with them trying to spy things that start with a certain letter.  This kind of play promotes letter knowledge, plus it’s easy and fun!

Growing Readers–wheels


growing readers web image

I’m so excited to announce that we are now offering a storytime especially for emerging readers ages 4 and up!  It is called Growing Readers, and it meets on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. at the Leesburg Library.  This is something I have wanted to do for the LONGEST time.  As usual, I was inspired by (and downright took stuff from) many talented librarians like Storytime Katie, Hi Miss Julie!, Storytime Secrets, just to name a few.  If you are thinking about starting your own beginning reader storytime, I would highly suggest that you start with them!







When the kids first came in, they filled out nametags.  This is for writing practice as well as helping me to learn their names.

earlKnowing names is especially important because (again inspired by the wonderful Hi Miss Julie!) I chose Willoughby Wallaby Woo as our hello song.  (I don’t know how I missed this brilliant song, but in case you’re like me and had never heard it before, here.  Watch it now, I’ll wait.  BTW my 6 year old daughter and I made a game out of this on a long car trip recently.  We took turns singing the first part while the other guessed the real name.  We went through the whole family, most of her classmates, and every My Little Pony character we could think of–it was surprisingly entertaining.)  This song is PERFECT for older kids, and for phonological awareness.  Plus, it’s hilarious.  I used my elephant puppet, Earl, to sit on the kids’ heads as I sang to each one of them.








w tubAfter the song, I had Earl read our welcome message.  It was something like “Welcome to storytime!  Today we will read books about things that go.  We will also read about a car wash.  From, Earl Elephant.”  I had already circled the letter “W” in the message in red marker.  I asked them what they thought the letter of the day was.  They correctly guessed “W” and I pulled out items from the letter tub.  (Earl ate the waffle and the watermelon).  Then we did a word cloud–I asked them for other words that started with “W” and wrote them on the dry erase board.  We also talked about the word “transportation” and about different modes of transportation, especially ones that–you guessed it–started with a “W”.







true or falseRead aloud: Transportation True or False? by Daniel Nunn. (E TRANSPORTATION NUNN).  I really like interactive books for older kids.  The format of this book is perfect for that–it shows a picture of a mode of transportation and asks a true or false question about it, then the answer is revealed on the next page.  My personal favorite was “Some cars run on ice cream instead of gasoline–true or false?”  It also has a table of contents, so we talked about that, too.





car goes farRead along: Car Goes Far by Michael Garland (E TRANSPORTATION GARL)

I used to find a book between 0.0 and 0.5 about cars and ordered multiple copies through the PINES system.  The idea is for each child to have a copy of the book so that they can read along with me.  To make reading together even more fun, I invited the kids to pick up a whisper phone (available through Lakeshore Learning–they are so cool!) and a reading buddy.  After we read the book together, I asked them comprehension questions like What happened to car?  How did he feel?  What did he do next?







whisper phones buddies








parking lotFinally, we did a letter matching parking lot activity.  When I asked for Lego donations awhile back, one family generously donated a huge tub of them, which also included LOTS of matchbox cars.  I held onto them, because I figured there was something I could use them for eventually.  Thank you, Pinterest! 

STEAM storytime–Light and Dark


Inspired by Storytime Secrets “Light and Electricity” storytime starter, I decided to do a light and dark theme for one of this summer’s STEAM storytimes.  As usual, I used some combination of the following books and activities for my Preschool StoryLab and Book Buddies programs.  Preschool StoryLabs began with the cooperative block building activity I mentioned here.


dark dark nightThe Dark, Dark Night, by M. Christina Butler and Jane Chapman (Available through PINES).  While a little on the long side, this book is ah-mazing for demystifying shadows.  We also talked about the word “lantern” and what you would use lanterns and flashlights for.









what makes a shadowWhat Makes a Shadow, by Clyde Rober Bulla and June Otani.  (J 535 BULL).  A great non-fiction companion to The Dark, Dark Night.  Explains the science of shadows in kid-friendly language and illustrations.









night lightNight Light, by Nicholas Blechman. (E COUNTING BLECH).  The kids enjoyed guessing what kind of vehicle each series of lights belonged to.  This book is great for vocabulary and talking about the different jobs of each vehicle.









house in the nightThe House in the Night, by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes. (E BB SWAN).  This soothing story reminds me of Good Night Moon.  The illustrations are beautiful and really capture the light/dark dichotomy.









shadow puppetsActivity: I borrowed flashlights from library staff and the kids played with them.  I also put out our colored scarves to experiment with the flashlights and color.  I was thrilled when parents began taking their kids aside and showing them how to make shadow puppets!









light table 2 light tableActivity: I made my own light table with a clear storage tub, wax paper, and Christmas lights.  With Sharpies, I colored shapes onto thick, translucent scrap material that I had and cut them out.  I also used the front of a cheap acrylic picture frame as a tray and put colored sand into it for handwriting practice.  I have also seen light tables used in painting/fingerpainting, which looks so fun and we HAVE to try.







shadow craftCraft: Shadow painting.  I gave each child a piece of black construction paper and we used masking tape to put the first letter of their first name onto the paper.  Then, we used paintbrushes to apply yellow paint onto the paper.  I thought that the black letter was sort of like a shadow and the yellow paint looked like the light.  Last minute inspiration that the kids really enjoyed.

STEAM Storytime–Fix it, Build it!


This summer I am doing two sessions of Preschool StoryLab each week, plus one session of Book Buddies.  For the summer, I have eliminated my customary opening song and rhyme in favor of the collaborative block building activity from Library Makers, for the most part, it’s going great!  (Note: I have tried both regular blocks and Duplo blocks, and it seems that Duplo works better for my groups.  I think Duplos work better because it is less tempting to knock them over and, if the structure does get knocked over, it is generally less catastrophic).  It has been an adjustment incorporating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) concepts into my storytimes, but I think it’s definitely worthwhile and not as scary as I first imagined, thanks to trailblazers like The Show Me Librarian and Read Sing Play sharing their expertise and experiences.  Thanks, y’all!

STEAM focus:  Technology/Engineering

fix itFix-it, by David McPhail (E READING MCPH).  I got this book title and the plate fixing activity from the wonderful and amazing Teach Preschool (here and here).  This book is not only perfect for the theme, but also sneaks in the “turn off the TV and read for heaven’s sake” message that we librarians are so fond of.






b is for bulldozer   B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel and Melissa Iwai. (E ALPHABET SOBE).  This book has a lot of great opportunities for discussion.  We talked about why construction workers need to wear hard hats, and we guessed at what they might be building.  We also talked about places we have seen tools and equipment like what is seen in the book.










tip tip dig digTip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia. (E MACHINERY GARC).  Believe it or not, this was my first time using this fantastic book in storytime!  We did motions to go along with the text as I read.  When the beautiful playground was revealed at the end, I went back to the beginning picture and showed the kids a “before and after”.  We talked about the amazing things you can build and make with imagination, hard work, and the right tools!










tool puzzle bookLet’s Pretend Builder’s Tool Kit.  This awesome board book has thick cardboard puzzle pieces that pop out of the book’s pages.  The space for each tool tells what it is and what it is used for.  The opposite page has a seek and find and gives a scenario where the tools might be used.  For example, the saw and screwdriver can be seen on the “building a doghouse” page.  This little gem was a donation and I keep it in my office just for storytime use.





building and fixing toys After our stories, we played with pretend tools and built with blocks.  The tools were loaned by a library staff member–they are used to receiving emails from me asking for random items for programs!






I hplate fixingave admired the “fixing” activities on Teach Preschool since the moment I saw them.  I think that it is absolute genius, and I WANTWANTWANTWANT a station for colorful tape just like Deborah has!  As you can see, I just used regular old tape, and it was fine.  I cut square paper plates up into 2-5 pieces and put them in piles on the table.  The kids “fixed” their plates, decorated them using markers, and practiced using a ruler by measuring them.








toolbox craft Craft: I printed out a tools coloring page onto cardstock and cut a handle onto regular long envelopes to make a toolbox shape.  This activity is perfect to take home for pretend play and vocabulary development.










Oceans storytimes


Wow!  I can’t believe summer is here again!  For my final storytimes of the spring term, I wanted to choose a science-related theme that allowed me to start talking about our Fizz Boom READ summer reading program.  I decided that the ocean was perfect!  I used some combination of these books, songs, and activities at both of my preschool storytimes, my pre-k outreach storytime, and my Book Buddies storytime for children of all ages and abilities.

commotion in the ocean Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andrae and David Wojtowycz (E OCEAN ANDR).










pout pout fishThe Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. (E FISH DIES)  For some reason I had never read or used this awesome book before.  This is a fantastic read-aloud that is now on my list of faves!  Pre-K especially had a great time saying “Blub Bluub BLUUUUUUUUUB” with me.









ten little fishTen Little Fish by Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood.  (E COUNTING WOOD)  Counting concept book that counts backward from ten and then up again.  I love this book and used it for all three groups.  The rhyming text makes it easy to predict which number is coming next: “Ten little fish, swimming in a line.  One dives down, and now there are…”








rub a dub subRub a Dub Sub, by Linda Ashman and Jeff Mack. (E OCEAN ASHM) Again, rhyming text is so helpful for phonological awareness.  There are also some uncommon animal names that are great for vocabulary building, such as marlin, wrasse, and eel.  The illustrations are so cute and colorful.  (I *just* realized that is the same Jeff Mack who wrote and illustrated my beloved “Good News Bad News” and “Ah Ha!”  The guy is a genius!)








Song: There’s a shark

Song: Once I caught a fish alive

paper plate fishCraft: paper plate fish.  I found many versions of this on Pinterest.  You cut a wedge out of the paper plate and staple or glue it on to the side as a tail.  We decorated ours with dot markers and glued on pieces of aluminum foil and a wiggly eye.






ocean pupptsPretend play with ocean puppets.  The kids had a great time with this!










Activities: I got both of the following activities from the awesome Prekinders.

fish bingoOcean bingo–the template is Prekinders (see link above).  I randomly wrote in letters and put letters on scraps of paper in a container.  The kids each chose a card and a dot marker.









fishing activityfish activity closeupFishing for numbers.  Again, directions for this activity can be found on Prekinders.  The rod is a wooden dowel with yarn and a magnet attached.  The fish each have a paper clip on them.  I like the versatility of this activity–older kids added the dots on the fish together and younger kids just counted the dots.








Getting dressed storytime


Last week we talked about clothes and getting dressed in my preschool, pre-k, and Book Buddies storytimes.

Bubbles: Hello Bubbles and 1 little 2 little 3 little bubbles

Opening song: We hit our knees together

Opening rhyme: Two little dickey birds/Open them, shut them

Letter of the day: P (pajamas, pants, pink)


pollys pink pjsPolly’s Pink Pajamas, by Vivian French and Sue Heap.  (E HUMOR FREN).  I made sure to emphasize the “P” sounds while reading this one aloud.









ella sarahElla Sarah Gets Dressed, by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (E SELF CHOD).










jesse bearJesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom and Bruce Degen (E BEARS CARL)  Pre-K especially loved identifying the rhyming words in this book.  They thought it was hilarious when I asked them if they wore their “pants that dance” today.  Heeheehee…  Look here for a cute paper doll activity to go with this book.










joseph had a little overcoatJoseph had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback.  (E FOLK TALES TABA).  There is a fold and tell version of the story here.











One Two Buckle My Shoe (This one has hand motions)

Hat and shirt, pants and shoes (to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes).  We started slowly and got faster and faster!

Closing game:  Rhyme cube

Closing Rhyme:  This is big

Closing song: My hands say thank you



bearsI have a bunch of stuffed bears and a bunch of assorted Build a Bear Workshop clothes, so I pulled them all out and we had a dress-up bear party!  This activity was even better than I could have hoped!  The kids used their motor skills to put the clothes on the bears and talked about what article of clothing the bear was wearing, what color it was, and why the bear was dressed that way (I see that your bear has a backpack on.  Is he going to school?)  This is definitely an activity I would repeat!








Introducing…Book Buddies! (birthday theme)


The Lee County Library is now offering Book Buddies on Fridays at 1:00 p.m.!  Book Buddies is a storytime for children of all ages and abilities.  We have had several meetings and so far they are going really well!  Since this is a new program, I’m still trying things out to see what works best.  I had some great guidance from the storytime ninjas over at Storytime Underground (thanks, y’all!).  Last week I did a birthday theme with all of my groups, including Book Buddies.  For the most part, I used the same books that I used with preschool and pre-k, but I added some other extension activities at the end.

photo(20)We start each storytime with the bubble machine while I sing “Hello Bubbles” and “One little, two little, three little bubbles.”  Then, we open our “Letter of the Day.”  This brilliant idea was suggested by Anna over at Future Librarian Superhero.  I used clipart from Microsoft Word to create the cards (printed on regular size cardstock, two images per sheet).  I arranged them so that the last image is most related to the  day’s theme.  So, for this week, I put the cake as the last image before revealing the letter card–we talked about what kind of cake it is and what was written on it.  I have also been using this activity with my preschool storytimes and so far it has been a big success!






photo(22)Book: Tiny the Birthday Dog, by Cari Meister and Rich Davis.  (E BIRTHDAYS MEIS) Not all beginning readers make good readalouds, but I really like this one.  Before we started reading, we talked about what the word “tiny” usually means and whether the dog named Tiny is *actually* tiny, or small.







photo(21)Book: If You Give a Pig a Party, by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.  (E PIGS NUME)  I love using this in my birthday storytimes because 1) it’s adorable and 2) it has balloons, so it leads perfectly into what *could* be my favorite storytime song of all time…







photo(19)[Piggie] had a red balloonshe blew and blew and blew it
her mother said “You’d better stop”
OOOPS!  Too late, she popped it!

I thought I had gotten this song off of YouTube but now I can’t find it.  Does anyone know where it came from?  Anyway, I cut out balloon shapes in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink, and white.  If you’d like, you can give a balloon to each child and have them bring it up when you sing their name and color, but I chose to just use my pig puppet to connect it with the previous book.




003Another book that I love but wasn’t able to use at this storytime is Pop! Went Another Balloon, by Keith Faulkner and Roger Tyger. (E BALLOONS FAUL)






photo(17)Book: The Birthday Queen, by Audrey and Don Wood. (E BIRTHDAYS WOOD)








photo(24)Activity #1: Draw in sprinkles.  I put two containers of the rainbow round sprinkles into a dishpan from the dollar store.






photo(18)Activity #2: Playdoh cupcakes.  I used inexpensive cupcake liners and birthday candles with Playdoh.






photo(23)Activity #3: Birthday cake coloring page.  First we colored our cakes with crayons.  Then I squirted some glue on their cake and they spread it out like frosting using a craft stick as their “knife.”  Then we put on sprinkles that were punched from colorful paper with a hole punch.








Preschool and Pre-K storytimes–Owls!


001Preschool storytimes are Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library.  Preschool storytimes are immediately followed by playtime with developmentally appropriate toys like these.  Playtime is a great time for social interaction–for kids and parents/caregivers alike!








Opening song: We hit our knees together

Opening rhyme: Two Little Dickey Birds/Open Them Shut Them

004Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins. (E BIRDS HUTC).  The daytime noises of Owl’s fellow tree-dwellers keep Owl awake, but when night falls, owl has the last…screech?  This is a nice, simple story with a repetitive structure–perfect for retelling!







003Wow! Said the Owl, by Tim Hopgood.  (Available through PINES).  Owl is accustomed to sleeping through the day, just as a little owl should.  But one day, Owl becomes curious and stays awake so that she can enjoy all of the colors that daytime has to offer.





008Flannelboard: Five Hoot Owls.  I changed the rhyme slightly to reinforce the colors (Five hoot owls sitting in a tree the [red] one flew away, now how many do we see?)






009Little Owl Lost, by Chris Haughton. (E BIRDS HAUG).  Little Owl has fallen from his nest and lost his mother.  Squirrel tries to help find her based on Little Owl’s description.  The kids laughed like crazy each time Squirrel says “Here she is!  Here’s your mommy!” and it was a completely different animal.  And it is totally heartwarming how happy the kids are when Little Owl finds his mom at the end.  I really don’t know why everyone in the world doesn’t want my job.  It’s just the best.




Rhyme: Wide Eyed Owl.

Rhyme cube

Closing rhyme: This is big (Mel’s Desk)

Closing song: My hands say thank you

owl puppetCraft: owl puppet.  Playing with puppets is a great way to promote narrative skills.  Store-bought puppets can be expensive, so making puppets is an affordable alternative.  This week we made an owl puppet by coloring this sheet and attaching it to a paper bag.  A fun game to play with this puppet might be to point out colors with the puppet and say “Wow! said the owl–look at that blue sky!”





The Pre-K storytime was pretty much the same as the preschool one, except I added a brief introduction with my owl puppet, Olivia (pictured above).  Olivia asked “Who? Who? Who keeps talking?  I’m TRYING to sleep!”

007Little Owl’s Night, by Divya Srinivasan. (E BIRDS SRIN).  This book is very slow and soothing.  In my Pre-K storytimes, I placed it right before Little Owl Lost and then we finished with Wide Eyed Owl if there was time.