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Adventures in early literacy

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Storytime for Twos

Adding storytimes this year seems to be working as the group size has been much more manageable! Fingers crossed it keeps up!


Good morning and welcome to storytime for two year olds. Before we get started, I have just a few housekeeping items. Please put away snacks during storytime and save any grown up conversations until after storytime. The table behind me and the tables by the window are no fly zones. If your little one is grabbing things off the tables or otherwise distracted by them, please re-direct them to the storytime rug.  And lastly, please sing and dance and play along with me. The more you get involved, the more your child will!

Hello Bubbles

Hi Hello and How Are You?

This is Big (Thanks to Mel for this one)

This is big, big, big

This is small, small, small

This is short, short, short

This is tall, tall, tall

This is yes, yes, yes

This is no, no, no

This is fast, fast, fast

This is slow, slow, slow

Parent Message: We have read this book in storytime before and that’s because repetition is very important. The more you do something with your child, the better they learn it. This is also why we do songs over and over again.

Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri

Cover image for Spots, feathers, and curly tails

3 Little Ducks Flannel Board: KCLS Tell Me a Story has a video for it here

Rather than 5 or 6 little ducks going out one day I cut the number to 3. Otherwise it’s just too long for toddlers. We’re really lucky to have these individual flannel bags that have a clear pocket on one side for holding flannel pieces and felt on the other side so families can play along. The kids love getting their own flannel set to play with.  I have no idea where these bags came from or how to find them again. They probably wouldn’t be too hard to make actually… *adds to long list of things to try*

photo (56) image (39)

Elevator Song

Ram Sam Sam

This is Big

Little White Duck by Walt Whippo

Cover image for Little white duck

Toast in the Toaster

The Wheels on the Bus by Jane Cabrera

Cover image for The wheels on the bus

This is Big

Goodbye Bubbles

Activity: Dobbers and die cut shapes. This is a great fine motor activity for toddlers as they have to grip the dobbers just right. Plus it’s noisy fun to pound them on the tables.



Flannel Friday Round-up for April 12, 2013

Welcome to this week’s Flannel Friday Round-up! I’m so excited to be hosting for the FIRST TIME EVER. Woohoo!

Jane has some seriously groovy story stones Pete the Cat would dig for sure. It’s all good!

Tara has hatched some adorable chicks with her edition of 5 Eggs and 5 Eggs.

Nicole put a bird on it, 5 Little Birds to be exact!

Kathryn has a lucky version of Little Mouse with glitter and sequins and everything!

Lisa has crunchy, munchy dino bites to share this week, perfect for summer reading.

Look for Maisy Mouse hidden behind really adorable houses from Katie. This is serious flannel skill, folks.

Linda tells The Fisherman and his Wife with stick puppets, one of five ways to tell it (I, for one, am looking forward to the next three ways).

Rachée is participating in Flannel Friday for the first time (welcome!!) with a super cool, new to me use for felt and perfect for Poetry Month.

Monica’s fingers are topped with the cutest little bunnies around. I’ve decided all of us should have a set of these. SO ADORABLE.

Lucy did an awesome flannel version of And the Green Grass Grows All Around where she becomes one with the flannel board.

Bridget created a beautiful set to accompany the rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep. I love the idea of using different colored sheep!

Wahoo! Miss Katie shared her very amusing original story Quiet! Quiet! said the Queen!

Awesome round up today! Thanks for letting me be your host-it was fun!

Head over to the Flannel Friday website, Pinterest and Facebook pages for past round-ups and more information about this group! And, of course, you can catch Flannel Friday conversations on Twitter by searching #flannelfriday.


Flannel Friday: Spider on the Floor

For today’s Flannel Friday I have a prop/flannel hybrid.

The plan is to sing Spider on the Floor by Raffi and True Kelley while moving my laminated spider to the different parts of my body along with the song. Haven’t decided yet if I’ll hold the book at the same time or just sing it. Each family will get flannel spiders (yay for die cut machines!) and I’ll ask them to follow along by putting the spiders on their legs, stomachs, etc. as we go through the song. I’ll do it in toddler storytime next week. It’s simple, but I think it will be a lot of fun!


Happy 2nd Birthday, Flannel Friday! Mel has the round up today as she is the founder of this magnificent group. If you want to know more about Flannel Friday click here or join the Facebook group!


What Does Flannel Friday Mean to Me?

What does Flannel Friday mean to me?

In one word:


Let me just start by saying that you would likely not be reading this right now if not for Flannel Friday. My first FF post was in September, 2011. Before that I only blogged about baking. I wanted to start blogging about storytimes to help me get more organized, but just didn’t see the point of sharing my outlines-why would anyone care what I did in storytime? After following Flannel Friday for a few months and borrowing lots of ideas it occurred to me that maybe I did have something to offer. My good friend Nik had been blogging for a while and I always found her posts useful so maybe others would find mine useful, too. Turns out, they do! But I couldn’t have gotten out there without the help of FF.

Which brings me back to community. This likely won’t surprise you, but I don’t use Flannel Friday for just flannels and props. I use it for the people. Every day I have an exchange with someone I “met” through FF. EVERY DAY. Many of these people have become my friends, even if most only virtually (hopefully more IRL meetings in June!) and I can’t thank FF enough for that. We can never have enough friends.

What the FF community means to me:

networking: seriously, there are 100’s of amazing librarians participating and though I only know a fraction of them, I’m so excited about getting to know even more!

inspiration: obviously, there are million ideas for storytime “extras” generated from this group. The FF community on twitter and Facebook goes WAY beyond storytimes to include all kinds of programming, displays, and other library stuff

opportunity: this group gives folks the chance to start blogging in a safe environment and a chance for those of us who were already blogging to build a readership. To me, being part of FF is like being a really big committee where you don’t have to be nominated for anything, many people get a chance to be “chair” (or fairy godmother in the case of FF), and everyone takes turns hosting, happily. AND, you don’t even have to participate every week. BEST COMMITTEE EVER.

-support and collaboration: these are the nicest people you will ever meet. It’s about kids, parents, and each other and it takes us all working together to make great things happen. FF’ers get that.

compassion: some library groups are so full of judgement I don’t feel comfortable asking questions for fear they may be “stupid” ones (because others have gotten reamed for asking “stupid questions”). I have NEVER felt that way in this group. There is no stupid question. WE all understand that there are days when the obvious solution is just not coming to you. When all you’ve heard for the last hour is screaming children you get a little frazzled and maybe your googling skills just aren’t working so well as a result. No problem, just ask a FF’er. They’ll answer your question, and if they make fun you know they don’t mean anything seriously and have totally been there themselves (come one, we work with children!).

I’d really like to just hug Flannel Friday. For an inappropriately long time. That’s the best way I can describe how much it means to me. Flannel Friday is everything I always thought librarianship should be.

I’d also like to give a huge THANK YOU to Mel for starting this whole crazy group. And for being an exemplary human being and friend. Seriously, lady, you rock and have no idea how lucky I feel to know you. And I promise not to hug you too long if I see you in June.

And thank you ALL Flannel Fridayers (especially Mollie, Anna, Anne, Sharon, Amy, K Leigh, Library Quine and all others who have been fairy godmothers) for so enthusiastically participating in this group. Your enthusiasm is contagious and helps keep me jazzed about being a librarian. Especially thanks to Nik and Seth for convincing me to finally get involved.

Hey, that was like an Oscar speech (hopefully not too sappy!). And I didn’t even win anything! Hey Anne, another option for that YMA celebration in the library-writing acceptance speeches for the books. After a few glasses of faux-pagne, anything could happen.

Sharon has the round up today on Rain Makes Applesauce. Can’t wait to read everyone’s posts!

My FF contributions:

photo 20120316-082915.jpgThere are witches in the air-Woooo!IMG_0988

Drat that Fat Cat Not so giant carrot is freedDog!



Flannel Friday: Mommy, Where Are You?

Our system doesn’t carry Mommy, Where Are You? by Leonid Gore and isn’t purchasing it. SO-it obviously had to be flannelized.

Here’s Ozzy, poor little guy who can’t find his Mommy. He’s also pretty sad about not having arms (sorry kid, I’m just not that good), but his nose has glitter so we’re even.

photo(3)I find this book to be a little long for toddlers, so for the flannel I skipped some of the things Ozzy finds on his search to Mommy and changed some things to suit my artistic skills.

Where is my Mommy? Let’s help Ozzy find his mommy. Could she be behind one of these things?

photo(2)With preschoolers I would have made the bunny smaller, but it’s fine for toddlers. If they guessed it was a bunny I’d be SO proud of them!

Mommy was behind the blue square! Hooray!

photo(4)There was a tiny puff paint explosion which gave Mommy quite the black eye. Fingers crossed none of the kids notice?

My plan is to read the book one week and the next week do the flannel. We’ll just go to each object and say “Is Mommy behind the rock (or whatever)?” “That’s not Mommy! What is that? It’s a worm!”

Keep going until you find Mommy. I imagine you could even turn this in to a guessing game like Little Mouse, Little Mouse and let the kids pick which item to look behind.

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Toddler Storytime: Fish!

The best thing I got at ALA turned out to be this Heroes of Olympus fan someone shoved in my hand in the exhibit hall. THANK YOU random person! It is helping me cool down from seeing 120 people in a 2 hour chunk. It does this twice a week. Thank you, fan. Here’s the fan because I know you are all dying to see it:

My accidental theme this week was fish. I wanted to share Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins because it works perfectly with the parent message I wanted to emphasize. Don’t skip hard words and don’t be afraid to use made up ones. Every word we utter to children adds to their vocabulary and the bigger vocabulary they have, the better readers they’ll be! We sang part of Jane Cabrera’s new book Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star as well since it uses so many great synonyms for twinkle. Here I added that you don’t have to read a book in it’s entirety. We didn’t have time to sing the whole book so we just sang the first 2 verses.

Today’s outline: (most songs and rhymes can be found on the Rhymes page)

Hello Bubbles

What Animals Say in the Morning : today we did duck, pig, frog and fish

Book: Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins

The Fish in the Sea go swim swim swim: Tune of wheels on the bus and I asked parents to help come up with other things in the sea. We did fish, shark/chomp, octopus/jiggle, whale/splash in one and dolphin/leap instead of whale in the other.

Flannel Board: Four Little Fishies Swimming in the Sea...teasing Mr. Shark, you can’t catch me! : we did 4 instead of 5 to make the chant a little shorter and each family had their own flannel board. We are so lucky to have those and the kids loved playing with their own set of fish as we said the rhyme together.

Shakers! I like to start shaker time with: shake your shakers high! shake your shakers low! shake them round and round and now shake them slow. Shake them really fast!!! And STOP! Shake fast!! and STOP! This gives them some practice and set-up to the next shaker activities.

We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman -stop and go song

Shake Your Sillies Out by Raffi

In the first session we were out of time and they were antsy so we went right to Goodbye Bubbles. The second session wanted some more so we sang those first two verse of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Cabrera. I wished I’d done it in the first session, too because it calmed them down so I could explain the activity to the parents more easily. Live and learn!

Playdough! Playdough stampers and pumpkin spice smelling, orange playdough. ‘Nuf said.


List of Dances Prop

Way back in 2006 when I first started doing storytimes regularly, my good friend Nik (of Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime) had the idea to print out the words to a favorite preschool storytime song, laminate them, and using velcro, hang them on the wall during storytime. It was SO cool! She was then and is now, one of the most creative people I know. I’m more a “why re-invent the wheel” kind of person so… I STOLE that idea. Mwuahahahahaha! Ok, so not that devious as all you storytimers know collaboration and sharing is a BIG part of our jobs and, let’s face it, one of the most fun parts.

Now on to the dang prop already! Oh, but first… hey Nik, is it ok if I steal this idea and blog about it? Ok, great thanks!

List of Dances by Jim Gill is an AWESOME song. If you have not used it in storytime go get the CD right now and work it into your next session. Seriously. Do it. Bonus tip: during the part where Jim isn’t giving you any lyrics just have the kids roll their arms or tap their heads or stick out their tongues or something equally as goofy. Got that idea from the Move ‘n Groove workshop at PLA 2010 (Nik and Eliza remember, right?).

Since we have a magnetic wall, which many of you have already drooled over, I decided to skip the velcro and just stick magnets on the back of my words. Here’s what it looks like:

Could I have put those columns closer together so the picture looked better? Sure. But that’s no fun. The font I used is Gill Sans Ultra Bold and just printed two words per page on different colored paper so that each rhyme pair was on the same color.

Here’s their close up:

Check out other storytime props and flannel ideas in the Flannel Friday Archives at Anne’s blog so tomorrow or on Pinterest. Today’s roundup is over on Cate’s blog Storytiming.


Flannel Friday: Stuck Magnet Set

Our new library has a wall painted with magnetic paint in our program room. The paint isn’t very strong so we can’t use a lot of store bought magnets. However, I’ve been dying to use the wall for a “flannel” for a tour group and figured I could make my own with magnetic tape I know works on the wall. Lucky for me, Nik at Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime and her trusty helper Seth, just created one such board for Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. So here is my copy of that up on our wall. I ran out of time so didn’t show the boy but that’s ok- I’ll be him for the purpose of the story.


Check out the Flannel Friday roundup at Anna’s blog. See the flannels on Pinterest by clicking the button on the right side of this blog. Happy flanneling!

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Preschool Storytime: Pumpkins

Holy preschoolers, Batman! There were 91 people at storytime today (folks were coming and going so I don’t think there were that many the whole time)!

Here’s what happened:

If You’re Happy and You Know It
*clap your hands
*stomp your feet
*jump up high
*rub your tummy (and your head at the same time!!)
*read a book
*sit down please

Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins by Dianne Ochiltree: This was a bigger hit than I thought it would be. The kids loved seeing the pumpkins roll down the hill.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins turn around
*touch the ground
*jump up high
*touch the sky
*slap your knees
*sit down please
Now get up again! Mwahahaha! 😉

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell

Shoo Fly by Kathy Reid-Naiman with scarves (the shoo motion is obvious, but for the rest I just make up motions to do and they follow along)

Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas: Everyone loved this, but it was nice to hear some grownups laughing REALLY hard throughout.

Five Little Pumpkins glove (see flannel friday for a pic) Lots of oohs and ahhs with this one-we did it twice. Here’s a link to the words if you don’t know them:

Our craft was torn paper pumpkins or apples so I went through Perfect Square by Michael Hall (no, not the Dexter guy) so they’d see all the cool things you can do with a piece of paper. They were enthralled, surprisingly for being the end of storytime. I’ll definitely use that book again.

Bubbles! To Splish, Splash by Bobby Darin.

Craft: torn paper pumpkins or apples. Each kid gets a paper plate and tears construction paper and glues it to the plate to make a pumpkin or apple or whatever they want. punch a hole in the top and attach string so you can hang it in your window!

Phew! Lots of fun!

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Flannel Friday: Five Little Pumpkins

We all know this tried and true rhyme about pumpkins on a gate. But, I wanted to share this because I really love the idea of using an old glove (that one without a mate?) for a fingerplay/flannel. This was in our flannel bin and after giving it a makeover with fresh velcro and new eyes it was ready for the show. The kids LOVED it! And I heard a mom say “That’s a good idea with the glove.” So double win for Five Little Pumpkins!


There are witches in the air-Woooo!

For those libraries on a budget who can’t afford to buy a real storytime glove this would work really well.  Having a couple of spare black gloves is great for doing puppet shows, too.

Mollie’s got the roundup at What Happens in Storytime… and don’t forget to click on the Flannel Friday Pinterest button for pictures of all the lovely flannels from the past months.