Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy


Songs and Lyrics, Oh My!

By now, you should all know I love to sing, even if it’s not always so great. The majority of every one of my storytimes is singing. I can’t help it, it just has to happen that way for storytime to work. I feel good, grown ups feel good, the kids definitely feel good so it’s a total win situation.

Anyway, I’ve had some requests for tunes and lyrics to various songs used in storytime. May I humbly direct you to my Rhymes page? There I have written out the words to more than 60 rhymes and songs and have recorded myself singing several of them.  I’m working really hard to get them all recorded but for now I’ve picked the ones with the trickiest tunes.

The newest members of the recorded song family are:

Hi, Hello, and How Are You?

The Elevator Song (Jbrary has also done this one)

Wake Up! Quiet and Loud song. This probably has a real name, but I call it the wake up song. VERY popular in storytime.

Hello and Goodbye Bubbles 

Wake Up Toes

Bouncing, Bouncing

Let me know if you need the tunes to anything else and I’ll get on it, asap. In the meantime, check out Jbrary and KCLS Tell Me a Story for visuals to go with the sound (I’m too lazy to get out of my pjs to do a video, sorry).

And just because. Yes, yes, I do.



1 Comment

Baby Storytime: Sing


Hello Bubbles

Hi Hello and How Are You? with the ukulele

Parent Message: Don’t worry about how you sound when you sing. Your child loves your voice, even if you’re tone deaf or don’t think you sound great and singing is a great way for them to learn about language. And I love to hear all your voices, too!

Zoom Zoom Zoom by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Smooth Road

Dos Manitas, Diez Deditos

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Jane Cabrera (3 verses)

Cover image for Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Parent Message: Song books with multiple verses are great to share at home. You can sing as few or as many verses as your child wants to hear. Just close the book when they’ve had enough.

Elevator Song

Chop Chop Choppity Chop

Toast in the Toaster

Humpy Dumpty by Anthony Lewis (Hands-On Songs series)

Cover image for Humpty Dumpty

Go in and Out the Window

This is a Choo Choo Train

Cuckoo Clock

Goodbye Bubbles

Play time!

Leave a comment

Baby Storytime: Pat a Cake

It’s been a while since I’ve done a baby storytime post-just not enough time in a day. Thanks for sticking with me!

What We Did:

Hello Bubbles

Penny Pointers

Zoom Zoom Zoom

This Little Train


Parent Message: It’s ok if they crawl around while we’re reading and rhyming. Just because they aren’t making eye contact, doesn’t mean they aren’t absorbing what we’re doing and saying. We want to make sure books and reading are FUN so we’ll let them participate at their own pace. You can just do what I’m doing if your little one leaves your lap.

Book: Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett (this is one I use ALL THE TIME because it is AMAZING)

Cover Art for Monkey and me

Pizza Pickle Pumpernickel

Bouncing Bouncing



Mix a Pancake

Roly Poly

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Book: Pat a Cake by Annie Kubler (I suggest substituting their baby’s name for “baby” and to mark their cake with the first letter of their baby’s name)

Cover Art Image

Group choices: Ram Sam Sam in #1, and Cheek Chin in #2

Cuckoo Clock

Goodbye Bubbles


Today’s agenda was packed! And so much fun!


Storytime in Action: Stand Up Rhymes

Your Valentine from me this year is another video! This shows three stand up rhymes we do pretty regularly. This was only the second time we’d done them. It works really well with a small group like this, but we’ve done them with very large groups as well and just have them spin in place or make several smaller circles with the parents around them. Lots of fun!


Favorite Verbs in Picture Books: Call for Help!

When you are reading a book out loud, one which requires movement, what are your favorite verbs? Ones that really flow from your tongue and make it easy for the kids to act.

Imagine you’re a popcorn kernel. What kinds of action could humans do to mimic a popcorn kernel popping?

Would love your ideas!! Shamelessly begging for your ideas, actually. Will provide chocolate to idea givers. Or…popcorn?


Leave a comment

We’re Going to the Zoo and Playing Peek-a-Boo

Seem to have caught a cold at ALA, so almost didn’t come in for storytime on Wednesday (that should tell you just how crappy I’ve been feeling!). Sucked it up and went in but used some of my old standbys to give my cloudy brain a break. Glad I made it because it was a LOT of fun!


Hello Bubbles

Hands are Clapping

Two Little Blackbirds

Parent message: I always ask you to participate in storytime because you are your child’s first teacher and role model. They look to you for what to do so please don’t feel silly wiggling your thumbs and flapping your arms. The more you participate, the more they are going to learn, and the more fun you’ll have!

Book in Tiny Tots: Guess Who Eats What by Liesbet Slegers

Book in Toddler Storytime: Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin

Puppet Song: We Went To the Zoo One Day (giraffe, elephant, monkey and Leo the Lion): Tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb

Book in Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell


We’re Going Down to Portland (Going to Kentucky with my modified lyrics), We’re going to the zoo, To look at all the animals and everything they do! Then continue with original lyrics.

We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Book in Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime: If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera (3 verses for Tinies and 4 for Toddlers)

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Activity: Do a Dot Art on construction paper

Parent Message for activity: Daubers are great for toddlers because they’re so much fun but also easy for chubby hands to grip so they can work on strengthening the muscles they will use to write later on.


Our daubers are quite well loved and the pads on the tips frequently get ripped off. You can still use the ink for other activities like colored shaving cream painting!


Opener and Closer Dilemma: to change or not to change?

For toddler and baby storytime I like to use the same opening rhyme week after week. Really, there are three openers for each storytime and one closer. We are getting ready to start a new session and I’m debating whether to keep the same songs or change them up for something new. What do you do? Do you keep the same opening song forever and ever, or change it every now and then? I change the meat of the storytime a lot-usually doing a rhyme for a few weeks before replacing it for another one, etc. They are always rotating.

Current opening sequence for toddlers: (find words to songs on the Rhymes page)

Hello Bubbles

When Animals Get Up in the Morning (with puppets)

Wake Up Toes

Current for Babies:

Hello Bubbles

Penny Pointers

Noble Duke of York

Closer for all: Goodbye Bubbles

So far, I’m leaning towards keeping it the same for toddlers because I really think there will be a revolt if I take away the bubbles or puppets for the animal song. So maybe I could just change that 3rd song to keep things a little fresh, but also stick with that predictable routine we know toddlers love so much.

For babies I think it might be less important, what do you think?

There’s so much out there about the importance of repetition for babes and toddlers (really, everyone-I’m not ashamed to say how important routine and repetition is to me!), but also want parents to keep coming back and not get bored. I’m not a parent so have no idea whether I’d get bored with the same openers every week. I’m not really bored with them as a presenter so maybe I should just plug along?

That is the question: to change or not to change?


Baby Storytime: I Kissed the Baby!

It was such an icky rainy day, but the regulars still came out for storytime! What troopers.

For me, this was one of those storytime days…we’ve all had them… where I just couldn’t seem to muster the energy needed to get super hyped up and excited for the storytime. It doesn’t happen often, but it did today. It was still a good time, but I was disappointed with myself because everything seemed so flat. That paired with the fact that two moms wanted to chat the entire time, it was kind of an off day. Usually, in a larger group, I’d ask the moms to save their convo for after storytime, but the group was so small I felt it would only make people uncomfortable.  And since my policy is usually no tolerance that was weird, too. Maybe something in the water…

Anyway, on to the storytime. Here’s the outline and, as usual, check here for words to rhymes.


If You’re Happy and You Know It


Noble Duke of York


Icky Bicky Soda Cracker


Itsy Bitsy Spider (I always suggest that parents of very little run their fingers up and down baby’s back for the movement instead of doing the hand motions, just to make it a more sensory experience)


Read: I Kissed the Baby (ask the parents to do the motions the books begs to have done)


Scarves: Where is Baby?


Scarves: Mix the Pancake


Shakers: Shake My Sillies Out


Read with shakers: Shake it Baby by Karen Katz

Has a built in rattle so you can shake the book!

Parachute: These are the Colors Over You


Andy Pandy, Sugar and Candy


I Bounce You Here, I Bounce You There


Bubbles: Splish, Splash


The toys go down on the carpet and the tunes are turned on (thank you, Caspar Babypants!) and babes play while grown-ups chat.  Even more than they did through the storytime. What would you do with chatty moms in a cozy baby storytime?

Leave a comment

Toddler Storytime: Colors

Historically, I haven’t really done themed storytimes. When I first started doing storytimes it was helpful to use a theme do help me organize my thoughts and program, but after a while I felt limited by themes. So for a few years I just stopped doing them. As a coworker said to me recently “the theme for every storytime is my favorites”. Folks at my new library use themes and that’s totally fine because they don’t require me to by any means. However, I share toddler and baby storytimes with a coworker (she does one time slot, I do the other) and it’s just easier to make our storytimes as similar as possible. This discourages patrons from double dipping and helps with planning any after storytime activity. She likes themes and I’m flexible so themes it is!

Today’s theme was colors and here’s what I did:

*words to rhymes and songs can be found here


Clap Everybody and Say Hello by Kathy Reid-Naiman


Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear action rhyme: to get everyone sitting down (as much as that’s a possibility for toddlers)


Read: Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek

Lots of “ooooh!” and “wow!” from this book, as usual. They seemed to genuinely enjoy the insects and colors throughout the book so the butterfly was like icing on the cake. Even though this is a longish book they were with me the whole time.


Jump Like a Frog action rhyme


Itsy Bitsy Spider (regular sized spider, then big humongous spider, then eeny teeny spider with a squeaky voice, of course)


Read: I Went Walking by Sue Williams

They love “walking” with their hands on their laps. The older kids in the room definitely stole the spotlight by answering the “Who do you see?” every time, but the little guys seemed to be okay with that and some of them even answered in their own good time, as if they didn’t even hear the older kid shout out the answer.


Shakers: We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Did this song twice and we tapped the shakers on our knees, rang by our ears, and shook like crazy!


Shakers: Freeze Dance (instrumental)


Scarves: Put Your Scarves in the air, in the air


Scarves: These are the colors over you


Goodbye Bubble song and pretend to blow the bubbles away


Real bubbles to Splish, Splash


The activity: white construction paper and daubers-simple and they LOVE it!


Another toddler storytime done: 72 people in the room for this one, but they were an amazing crowd so I didn’t even notice the size.  Caregivers are catching on that their toddlers are more attentive and involved when they are participating along with their child. I even had about half the grownups standing up and dancing with me! My goal is 100% but it’s going to take some time. Have to teach these guys how to be silly. I’ll get them soon enough. 🙂

*Exciting side note for me: here’s a link to an article about our library. Plus some pictures of toddler storytime in action so you can see what it looks like (I’m the tall one in a plaid shirt)! Our children’s library is certainly something to see (pictured is just the program room) and is becoming a popular gathering place for families in the community.

Leave a comment

Baby Storytime: Bath Time!

Kind of a strange storytime today with just two babies to start and a third arriving late. But then our attendance for a lot of this weeks programs has been slightly down.

We started with If You’re Happy and You Know It as usual then read Bath Time by David Bedford right at the start. Mostly I did this because one of the two babies there at the time was still taking his bottle and thought it would be better to save the bouncing rhymes, etc. for when mom’s hands were free and baby could move around. That worked fairly well, but that was one big bottle. So the active part of the storytime was pretty much just the one baby. Oh well. I shared Baby Faces by Margaret Miller a little later. With the small group I was able to take the book to each baby and show them the pictures close up, which they loved, of course.


Here are the rhymes for today:


Noble Duke of York (from Baby-O by MaryLee Sunseri)

Rock the baby, rock the baby, 1, 2, 3

Watch the baby, watch the baby smile at me

Bounce the baby, bounce the baby on your lap

Don’t forget to teach the baby how to clap: clap, clap, clap, clap



Mix a pancake, stir a pancake, pop it in the pan

Fry the pancake, toss the pancake, catch it if you can

Where is Baby? (see last week’s baby post for words)



We’re going to Kentucky, we’re going to the fair

To see the senorita with flowers in her hair

Shake it baby, shake it, shake it if you can

Shake it like a milkshake and put it in a can

Shake it to the bottom, shake it to the top

Shake it round and round and round and round

Until I tell you STOP!

Shake Your Sillies Out-Raffi


We ended with bubbles and tunes. Even though it was small (and all boys!!) they still seemed to have a good time.