Animal House

This storytime was all about animals. I didn’t get too specific or differentiate between farm or wild or jungle or anything, just animals. I’ve done specific animal storytimes before like a dog storytime or cats, or night animals, and I’ve done an Animal StoryTech before but never just plain old normal animal storytime.

Now normally I try to pick books for my storytime that are new or different because I don’t want them to be bored with the selection since they’ve read that title 8527485 times at home and or in school, but this week I did pick a book that is quite well known. I actually came across a few books that I thought were quite interactive and because of that I thought that it’d be fun to have them help me read the more well known book.

The first book I read was called No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont. I quite liked this book and thought it was just the right amount of silliness, rhymes, noises, and repetition. I also liked the fact that you could kind of improvise. for example, as new animals join the sheep it has a line that says “soon the ____ and the sheep, they fell fast asleep” But instead of just reading the two animals, I repeated and had the kids help me list off all the animals to that point. it was a bit of a challenge, but loads of fun! This book might just be one of my new favorites; I could see it working well for a noise or sound themed storytime as well.¬†Both my Monday night and Thursday morning groups giggled and enjoyed it. ūüôā

After that book I had three animal themed active rhymes. On both Monday and Thursday, I let the kids help me pick which order I do them in. I listed off the three I brought and let them vote. Now, this can be a very dangerous road to go down if you have a more…enthusiastic crowd that day, but I braved it and it turned out ok. ¬†Here are the three active rhymes I had in tow:

5 little Ducks

5 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 4 little ducks came wandering back.

4 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 3 little ducks came wandering back.

3 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 2 little ducks came wandering back.

2 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 1 little duck came wandering back.

1 little duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But no little ducks came wandering back.

No little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
And 5 little ducks came wandering back.

Five little kittens

Five little kittens standing in a row
(hold up 5 fingers)
They nod their heads up and down, like so
(bend fingers)
They run to the left, they run to the right
(run fingers to the left and then to the right)
They stand up and stretch in the bright sunlight
(stretch fingers out tall)
Along comes a dog looking for some fun
(hold up opposite hand like a puppet)
With a WOOF! and MEOW! See those little kittens run
(bark with dog hand, wiggle kitten hand, then wiggle hand behind back)

There was a little Turtle

There was a little turtle. (make fingers for small)
He lived in a box. (draw out box shape with fingers)
He swam in a puddle. (pretend to swim)
He climbed on the rocks. (pretend to climb)

He snapped at a mosquito. (use hand to pretend to snap like a turtle mouth)
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito. (grab air with hand)
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn’t catch me. (wave finger no)

With the Kitten rhyme, I actually did 10 little kittens and had them hold up both hands (personal preference) and with the Turtle rhyme, I had them name¬†a random animal and I changed the line from “He snapped at/caught the minnow” to the animal they suggested. This made for great fun a squeals of laughter because we repeated¬†this twice in a row and they picked cow and cat and each time I got to the part with those animals they laughed hysterically and shouted about how a turtle can’t catch a cow or a cat, they’re way too big and fast! (obviously)

The second book I read was Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene¬†I quite liked this book as well! Much like the first book, it could easily be used in a noise or sound themed storytime as well as a storytime about being sick. The animals make all sorts of silly noises when they get sick but then everything rights itself again after the farmer makes them some good soup (vegetable, I’m sure). The kids in both sessions of course thought it hilarious to hear me “moo choo!” and “cough-a-doodle-doo” and all sorts of snorts and whistles. After this book we did a second active rhyme.

The third book we read was the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin. We didn’t just read the normal version though, we read the BIG BOOK version

brown bear

These things are seriously the size of a small child, they’re great! ūüėÄ This is the book that we all read aloud together and they LOVED being able to do that! Again, after this book, we did our third and final active rhyme.

In my Monday session I then went right in to our fourth and last book but in my thursday session I ALMOST skipped it because they were quite rowdy and I wasn’t sure they could handle another, but then I remembered that it’s a SUPER interactive book. Well, I don’t know if it’s really supposed¬†to be, but that’s how I read it. If I hadn’t read it the way I did, I think it would have been too awkward for a storytime book.

My fourth and final book was Wiggle Waggle by Johnathan London. I read this book less like the book itself and instead I read the first page as an introduction and then simply turned the pages and had the kids act it out. The book is all about how animals walk or move, and instead of just turning pages and reading “How does the kitten walk? Pish-Posh” (…uh, what?) I would turn the page and say “How does the _____ walk?!” and the kids would show me while I made up my own noises. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the sounds / descriptors used for the animal walks in this book were…awkward, so I used my own at times. I actually really liked that book because while it’s reading, and the kids are still seeing the words and letters and pictures, they’re also playing and acting and putting 2 and 2 or 3 and 3 together and that kind of multi-sense connection building really cements things and helps them retain much more information than me just saying “the cat walks like this”.

After we finished all our books and rhymes, I released the little animals into the craft room for our craft. On Monday I managed to get my segue out and teach them 3 words in ASL: Lion, Tiger, and Bear.



In my Thursday session, there was no chance and I simply had to un-cage them so they could run wild.

The reason for my ASL segue is that we were making Lion, Tiger (ok, a cat) or Bear masks!


I couldn’t find a tiger, ok?


These were SUPER basic, just printed on regular paper and I put out scissors, crayons, hole punches and string. the kids went nuts!


I haven’t quite gotten next week’s theme nailed down (I keep not getting around to making the flannel I want to use) but either way, I’m SURE I’ll figure something fun out. ūüôā

Summer StoryTech


Well, I’ve just finished my first round of StoryTech.

don't worry, it looked nothing like this.

don’t worry, it looked nothing like this.


Actually, as of right now, I don’t have any other scheduled, but I’m sure we’ll do more in the future.

How was it?



It certainly had its highs a lows. There were aspects that I really enjoyed about it and others that were awkward or didn’t work as well as I’d like them to or things I’d change for next time.

For example, I don’t sing or¬†dance, it just is not my thing; because of that, I don’t often incorporate songs into my storytimes and I feel both kinda guilty and a little embarrassed.



I have tried to incorporate them in ways other than me singing or dancing by using a laptop or iPad or playing songs on the boombox, but it just hasn’t gone over very well and the kids don’t seem terribly engaged.




With StoryTech, however, I feel like the kids are much more engaged because they have something they can both listen to as well as look at that isn’t my awkward face trying to figure out how to mouth the words so it looks like I’m singing along without actually making noise. hah. Youtube and the app store have so many things that work really well for storytime when they’re projected onto a big screen and one of those things is songs. We’ve done the itsy bitsy spider, old macdonald, the works!

One thing I noticed about my experience with this is that it doesn’t work for every kid. Many kids seemed more engaged and willing to participate, others seemed to become more unruly and hard to keep focused, while still others seemed to disconnect and not enjoy the experience as much.

Traditional storytime is the same, it won’t appeal to every child, but it’s very interesting to see just how differently they can all be affected.


Now even though this was a “tech” version of storytime, I didn’t want to read entirely from the iPad for multiple reasons:

1. I didn’t want to eliminate “real” books from storytime.
2. I wanted to keep the apps I used and listed for parents to go home and try as free apps which limits selection.
3. I feel slightly awkward sitting there while the story reads itself on screen and didn’t feel comfortable spending a while 30-45 minutes letting the tablet do my job for me.


With many of the book apps, I’m able to either control the advancement of the pages which gives me a chance to ask questions and interact, but not with all of them which means I just kinda press go and sit back while it runs itself¬†while I try to look participatory or ….something.





One other interesting thing I’ve noticed about StoryTech versus Storytime is that for both events I often pick out 4-6 books to read and 2-4 extension activities like active rhymes or flannel boards; I know I’ll only have time for half that but¬†I like to have a variety of styles and pacing and moods in case we have a very active crowd that can’t sit through a long and quiet book or vise versa, or one of the apps doesn’t work right (mr fox and mr rabbit book simply WOULD NOT display properly and was always sideways through the projector) and so on.
Well, with storytime I find that the kids almost¬†never shout out things like “I WANNA READ THE PURPLE BOOK!” or “DO THE CHICKEN RHYME!” because a pile of books and papers is a lot less attention grabbing than a screen full of bright pictures of iPad apps.

My organization style for regular storytimes often involves me picking the order of the books and then putting them on the table next to my chair in that order with printouts of the rhymes and flannel boards shuffled in between the books in the order I want them. It’s certainly not set in stone, but it gives me a comfortable outline.
My style for StoryTech has been similar; pick out my apps and put them in order in a group and have that group loaded on the screen titled at the top with our theme so that the kids will look at our books and apps and not all the other random apps and menus on the iPad
….but it’s seeming like I might need to start having two groups, one for my plan a and then a second separate group that isn’t shown on the screen with my backup apps because I find that I spend lots of time fielding “CAN WE DO THE CHICKEN BOOK?!” questions and promising that I’ll read as many as I can but we might not get to (insert brightly colored attention grabbing app name here).

Like I mentioned earlier, the tech seems to really bring some kids alive which is great, but I find myself walking a very fine line of active participants and overly exuberant distractions.

I also noticed that while I was afraid that there might be some push-back from anti-tech or tech fatigued parents who might think that the tech aspect was a bit of a cop out or not what they wanted from a library (like I have mentioned before, there are still some very hostile pockets of tech opponents) I found that I got lots of good feedback from the adults present in the form of thank yous, or “we had lots of fun today” or ¬†“tell me more about ____” and more; if there have been any parents that didn’t like it, I sure haven’t heard it.

I think the app world is daunting, especially for finding kid appropriate apps, and I like to think that I’m helping them dip their toes in or hold their hands a little¬†while¬†they begin their exploration of it all. Obviously the apps I use are by no means the only good ones out there and there are often many great apps I find but don’t use because they wouldn’t translate well for a large group, but they’re a great introduction and I often put out a list other “suggested apps and activities for home” along with the outline and activities wee used.


So all in all, I’ve really enjoyed my StoryTech experience, it’s certainly very different from a typical “old fashioned” storytime and can often be more difficult to plan, but I like them and hope to continue them!

Without further ado, here are the outlines with all the information on the apps I used, stories we read, and videos we watched. I also have all the extension activities we did listed below as well, those will work great with any kind of storytime.







Extension Activities:

Animal active rhymes

Climb Aboard the Spaceship

Going to the moon




Have any of you had experience bringing tech into storytime or doing a tech based storytime?

What were your experiences?




keep reading!


…now to catch up on all my other regular storytime posts! ¬†ūüėČ


I’m not dead….yet!

It’s true, I’m alive! We’ve been on a break from storytime here at my library but we’ve still been busy what with getting ready for the Summer Library Program, yay!


bring on the registrants, we are caffeinated and mobile!


In fact, today is the official start and we are off and running! We’ve registered 86 kids in the first 3 hours, yowza!

This will actually be my first year doing the summer program at this particular library but I am MORE than familiar with the various aspects of summer reading / programs when it comes to libraries having worked at my fair share and used many growing up. I love that they all put their own little spin on things. Here we are doing something call “Top Ten” which is a list of activities or features of the library that are either well used or we wanted to highlight such as “Read a Book” or “attend a library program” or”use the tech farm”. Kids pick an activity from the list, complete it, then log it to claim this week’s prize. I love that it gives kids the option to make their summer program work best for them; maybe they aren’t big readers yet, or maybe they aren’t one for “computing” as one young gentleman informed me today.

“Hello!” said¬†the youth department head, “Have you heard about our summer library program? Can we sign you up?”

“well, to be honest, I’m not really one for computing.”

¬†To which she informed him that if he changed his mind to let us know and with that he tipped his cap and said “Cheerio” ¬†and was off on his merry way. No joke. This actually happened today and it made my morning. Loved that kid.

Anyhow, as I was saying, not everything appeals to every person and this gives people the chance to explore in their own way and make the library their own experience. Speaking of tech and computing, I will have my very first Storytime Plus (I still wanna call it StoryTech, but it’s already on the calendar as “storytime plus”. curse my slow creativity) in a week! Ahh, nerves! I have lots of ideas and am hoping they go over well but I’m also dreading the wrench(s) in the wheels that are bound to happen.

What do I do when the sound doesn’t work or the picture goes out or some kid comes and smacks at the very tempting smartboard causing the app to go haywire?!

*deep breath* I improvise and move on. At least I now have a hefty bit more¬†storytime experience under my belt than when I first started here. ¬†I know that if nothing else, I’ll have back up books and other fun stuff to make up for any technological failures.

Speaking of storytime, We’re back on track with our summer session starting Monday; I hope that the return is berry, berry fun. ¬†ūüėČ



Right now I’m up on Michigan’s gorgeous Mackinac Island on “vacation”. I decided I wanted to attend a library conference even though neither of my jobs were able to send me officially so I’m taking a “busman’s holiday”. Because of that, I’ve written this entry up ahead of time and have scheduled it to post while I’m away. I’m planning to update again after my return with not only a post about the conference, but also maybe a guest post from the co-worker that will be doing my storytime while I’m away. In the meantime, enjoy this probably disjointed entry about some of my feelings about and plans for tech in storytime! ūüėÄ


I’ve been in the process of developing a “techy” storytime; it’s been given it the working title of “Storytime Plus” and I plan to run it much like a regular storytime but with added bonus of storytelling apps or digital books. This, I have found, is a difficult process. Maybe I’m over-thinking it, maybe I’m just not doing it “right” because even though there seems to be a plethora of resources out there¬†I am certainly feeling challenged.

As I said, I’m still working on it and it’s not yet ready for the masses, but it’s something I wanted to start writing about. For now, my thoughts will probably be rather scattered as there is just so much through which I have to sift and there will probably be more as time goes on! One thing I do know is that the eBook¬†debate is still a¬†hot button topic in many circles but I think that regardless of one’s personal convictions the fact that tech is currently and will continue to be a large part of our lives is simply not up for debate.

Though I am a twenty something willingly living in a tech-soaked world, I am not a user of eBooks (gasp, shock!), I am, however, an advocate. I believe firmly in access for all and if access is preferred or only available via electronic format, so be it; it’s not my job to tell them how to access their knowledge, it’s simply to provide said access and to hopefully do so as efficiently as possible.

That being said, I don’t want this to just turn into “hey kids! look at the screen!” I want this to be just as interactive as any other storytime, if not more so, all while using tech. I’ve come across a few¬†felt board apps¬†in the apple store and I think that these are great tools! I think they not only give those of us that are creating and performing storytimes the chance to make flannel boards that we many not have been able to by traditional means, but it’s something that can be taken home and made available for kids to use for themselves. ¬†Literacy isn’t only strengthened by hearing stories, but by being able to create them and I feel like this is an excellent way for them to do so.

I’ve talked about how playing is learning¬†and apps like this not only help facilitate playing to learn, but any simple search on the internet will show you that like it or not, tech literacy is incredibly important and I think that any effort we can make to help bridge or stop the digital divide is worth it. I hope that using technologically based tools will kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, in that it will help develop their tech literacy as well as covering all the basics we do in a standard storytime. ¬†Fellow library blogger, Anne Hicks, sums up pretty much exactly how I feel in her post on her blog here.

Now, I’m, by far, not the first person to have this idea so luckily there are lots of great ideas out there, it’s just finding what works well for you and your group. I’m looking forward to testing things and seeing how they work, but I’m also quite worried about how it will be received; it’s like starting fresh with storytime and goodness knows that stressed me out!

Have any of you had any experience on either end with tech in a storytime type setting?

Would you like to share your feedback?