My Quick, Easy, and Fun Daycare Storytime Plan!

I was asked to visit the a.m. and p.m. classes of one of the preschools in town. I wanted to share what I do on these visits in the hopes that it will help any struggling youth librarians trying to think of something to do. A lot of librarians just do a normal storytime, but usually the teacher wants you to also discuss library cards, how to treat books, etc. and this is a really simple way to get all that in.

First I introduce myself. And then I use a storytelling method. Most days (and today) I use a scroll story version that I made of It Looks Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw. I'm sure that it looks like a really time-consuming thing to do, but what took the most time was measuring and cutting it. You could prep a whole bunch of blank scrolls if you just had enough fadeless paper.

Next I read a really interactive story. One that works perfectly with this audience is Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas. The kids always get a huge kick out of this story. Giggles galore. Apparently the staff of the preschool will be sending some pictures from today to the newspaper. Hopefully they do not include a picture of me doing the chicken dance. I have to live in this town too, you know?

Next I ask the kids if they have been to our library. At least a few will say yes (even if they haven't been), so I will say "So if you've been to the library, you know that it's a big, brick building, but not all the kids in the world have a library in a building like we do" to introduce My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children Around the World. I love this book, but it is way too long for reading aloud. Instead, I put paper clips on the pages I want to show and show the kids how boats, bikes, camels, elephants, and donkeys are used to bring books to the far reaches of the world. The teachers especially like this. I find that starting with the interactive stories encourages the kids to contribute more comments and reactions to the library-related information than if I started with how to get a card, etc. I would love to see this book re-released with an updated design and better quality photographs someday.

Then I talk about how to get a card, how to take care of a book (I bring a puppy-chewed copy of Big Chickens to show them how to treat a book), etc. I end by telling the kids to beg their parents to take them to the library RIGHT NOW. And then I give them a pencil.

I like this set-up because it lets me cover everything I want to cover about visiting the library, but it is very low-key to put on. The stories do most of the heavy-lifting, so it is easier on the librarian than trying to do a whole storytime plus any extra information you might want to include. And it's shorter, which is a bonus because I try not to be away from the library for longer than necessary as someone has to cover for me. Also preschoolers = short attention spans. Hope this is helpful to someone and I would love to hear how others do quick preschool visits!