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Posts Tagged ‘Storytime’

IC Farmer’s Market Harvest Storytime Recap

by Morgan Reeves on October 3rd, 2015

With a chill in the air, it was time for the last Farmer’s Market Storytime. I found a sunny spot on the Chauncey Swan Park lawn to spread my blankets for a cozy place to read. A small but dedicated group joined me as the band started playing in the opposite corner of the park. Some of us were still finishing breakfast buys from the market, so I took a moment to talk about the fall harvest and what it brings to the farmer’s market.

Then we read our first book, All for a Dime by Will Hillenbrand. This story follows three friends as they get ready to sell their wares at Market Day and shows what they get for just a dime.

After the story, we found out you used to be able to buy lots of things for just a dime or a penny. We took advantage of a pause in the music to sing “Hot Cross Buns”

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
One a penny,
Two a penny.
Hot cross buns.

Then I talked about how a lot of the food we find at the Farmer’s Market is grown on farms or in gardens. To illustrate this how plants go from seed to table, we read Plant a Little Seed by Bonnie Christensen.

One of the families present mentioned they had apple pie for breakfast, so it was a great coincidence that I had brought an Apple Tree action rhyme with me.

This is the tree with leaves so green (wiggle fingers above head)
Here are the apples that hang in between (make fists)
When the wind blows (wave arms)
The apples will fall (arms move down)
Here is the basket to gather them all (make a circle with arms)

To introduce our last story, Raccoons and Ripe Corn by Jim Arnosky I talked about how raccoons can sometimes cause trouble when looking for their next meal. But in this harvest time story, they also help some too.

Since we had such a small group we went around at the end of storytime and sang a quick goodbye song for each child.

Bye bye Morgan
Bye bye Morgan
Bye bye Morgan
It’s been lots of fun!

Storytime Recap: Banned Books

by Morgan Reeves on September 30th, 2015

Today we visited a topic near and dear to every librarian’s heart: intellectual freedom. It’s banned books week so of course we had to read some banned and challenged books. We started storytime off as usual with our welcome song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” I explained that challenging a book is an attempt by a person or group of people to have materials restricted or removed, while banning is actually removing those items from the collection. One boy summarized the concept as, “they don’t like those books.” I also talked briefly about how it is often parents or other adults challenging books in an attempt to protect children from difficult ideas and information, but that the library believes in intellectual freedom. We believe that only parents have the right and responsibility to restrict access to ideas to only their children and no one else. A bit of serious talk for storytime, but an important subject. I told everyone I would be reading some banned and challenged books and that they could guess the reasons for the challenge or ban after each story.

Then to get us in the mood for some stories, I led the room in a nursery rhyme.

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

Poor puppy! After another repetition for those new to the rhyme, we moved on to our first story, Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray.

A lot of voices shouted out “because he farts” as the reason behind this challenge, which was pretty on target. This story in which a family learns to appreciate and love their especially flatulent dog was challenged for its use of the words “fart” and “farting” 24 times.

We aired out our voices by doing a quick counting finger play.
This little cow eats grass, (hold up one finger)
This little cow eats hay, (hold up two fingers)
This little cow drinks water, (hold up three fingers)
This little cow runs away. (hold up four fingers)
And this little cow does nothing at all, (hold up five fingers)
But lie in the fields all day.
So we’ll chase her, (makes running motions with fingers)
And chase her,
And chase her away!

The next story was one of my favorites growing up, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.

This was a tricky one, since it was banned in another country, and no one today could figure out why it had been banned. This story about a little bull who doesn’t want to fight, but enjoys sitting and smelling flowers all day, was banned in Spain during the Spanish Civil War for promoting pacifism.

Sometimes out-dated ideas stick around in the form of nursery rhymes, which we change to suit present day sensibilities.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then kissed them all soundly and put them to bed

That last line was originally “Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.” The kinder version is an example of subtle censorship.

For our last book, I read The Family Book by Todd Parr.

This story about celebrating and accepting all different kinds of families was banned in an Illinois school because it “discussed different types of family structures” and “those are issues that shouldn’t be taught at the elementary school level.” Only one girl guessed this reason correctly.

Then it was time to say goodbye, so I had everyone repeat after me in saying our goodbye chant that I am trying to incorporate after each storytime.



Our finale was an animated movie of the The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall. The book was challenged on the basis of violence and possible offense to Muslims for the eating of pork.

Enjoy your freedom to read!


Storytime Recap: New Books!

by Morgan Reeves on August 26th, 2015


It may be a new season of storytime, but we started out with our old standard song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” We had a lot of new faces today, but everyone caught on to the song quickly. I chose to read only books from our new shelves today, which was a great reminder that while repetition is a great way for kids to learn, they also need to keep hearing new words and concepts to keep expanding their vocabularies.

I started everyone off with a nice action rhyme to wake everyone up.

Bend and stretch, (bend down)
Reach for the stars (reach up)
There goes Jupiter, (reach to the right)
Here comes Mars. (reach to the left)
Bend and stretch, (bend down)
Reach for the sky. (reach up)
Stand on tippy toes, (stand on toes)
Oh-so-high! (reach up higher)

Then I shared our first story, Duck’s Vacation by Gilad Soffer. We interrupt Duck on his vacation with each turn of the page. This interactive story breaks the fourth wall as poor, beleaguered Duck begs the reader not to turn the page.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stortime Recap: Farm to Fair

by Morgan Reeves on August 12th, 2015

Welcome back to  Preschool Storytime! Summer is a fun but busy time, so it is was nice to get back to our regular schedule. We jumped right in with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” The consistent use of a welcome song provides structure and behavior cues to children who attend regularly. Today I began by asking if anyone had been to the Johnson County Fair a couple of weeks ago. Then I asked if anyone would be headed to the Iowa State Fair this weekend. We shared what animals we saw at the fair. I told everyone that we would start off by finding out what all of those animals eat in our first book, The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson. While the idea of a cow eating cookies gets plenty of laughs, I like sharing this book for its rhyming text and building narrative.

Next I brought out felt animals to provide a visual aid for the song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” with some fair flair at the end.

Old MacDonald had a farm
And on his farm he had a cow
With a moo moo here
And a moo moo there
Here a moo, there a moo
Everywhere a moo moo
Old MacDonald had a farm

Repeat with pig, duck, and sheep.
Last verse

Old MacDonald went to the fair
He took his cow, he took his pig, he took his duck, he took his sheep
With a moo moo here (point to cow)
And an oink oink there (point to pig)
Here a quack, there a quack (point to duck)
Everywhere a baa baa (point to sheep)
Old MacDonald went to the fair

After being such good singers, I told everyone we would read Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin. This is a funny story about farm animals who want to sing at the county fair.

At the end of the story, the pigs have almost ruin the show by falling asleep. So we followed sleeping piggies up with hungry piggies, and did a quick fingerplay rhyme.

Three little piggies and one piggy more (hold up 3 then 4 fingers)
Knocked upon the kitchen door (make knocking motion)
The farmer came out (hold hands flat together then open them)
And gave them their lunch (make bowl with hands and move hands forward)
They ate it all
With a munch, munch, munch. (bring thumb and fingers together and motion towards mouth)

I finished up with our last story, I Know a Wee Piggy by Kim Norman, which follows the colorful misadventures of an escaped pig at the fair.

Our after storytime movie was an animation of the book Bink and Gollie : Two for One by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. The story follows two best friends who spend a day at the fair playing carnival games, entering contests and getting their fortunes read. At last, everyone received a goodbye hand stamp of a cow.

Have fun at the fair!

IC Farmer’s Market Gardening Storytime Recap

by Morgan Reeves on July 1st, 2015

This past Saturday, I took an early morning trip to the Iowa City Farmer’s Market to do a special storytime. I had been worried about rain, but the day started off nice and sunny. I sat under the trees in Chauncey Swan Park and spread out some colorful tablecloths for the kids to sit on. After  a nice little crowd took their seats, we sang a welcome song together.

“We Clap and Sing Hello” to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell”

We clap and sing hello,
With our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello!
(Repeat with stomp, wave, etc.)

As an appropriate start to storytime, our first book was Farmer’s Market Day by Shanda Trent, which follows a little girl throughout a farmer’s market as she tries to decide what to buy.

I followed this by asking what the kids had gotten today at the farmer’s market. I told them about my delicious breakfast at Griddle Me This (blueberry lemon pancakes!). Conveniently one girl was still eating a muffin she had gotten, which led right into singing “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”

Oh, do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

Oh, yes I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane.

Next I asked everyone if they knew where the fruits and vegetables they could get at the farmer’s market came from. Everyone knew they came from the garden. Then we read my big book version of Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres to see how these plants grow.

Afterwards, I asked everyone to pretend they were corn and grow up towards the sky. When I asked what is a tasty treat that comes from corn, everyone shouted out “POPCORN! So then we had to pretend we were popcorn by doing an action rhyme.

I’m a piece of popcorn (point to self)
Put me in the pot (make small tossing motion)
Shake me up, shake me up (jump around)
And watch me (freeze)
POP! (big jump with hands spread out and up)

Next we continued thinking about gardening, but this time with flowers instead of food, by reading Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn.

I was going to go to a rhyme next, but a family needed to leave and really wanted to hear the last book, so I moved right into My Garden by Kevin Henkes. I love this book because it is so imaginative and inspires belief in limitless possibilities.

I had fun sharing ideas with the kids about what would be in their gardens. Lastly we finished up with a fun little action rhyme focused on fine motor skills.

10 fat peas in a pea pod pressed (fingers in a fist pressed together)
1 grew, 2 grew, so did all the rest (very slowly uncurl 1, then 2 then, all fingers)
They grew and they grew, and they did not stop (keep slowly uncurling fingers)
Until one day that pod went POP! (suddenly open hands with fingers out)

Overall it was a fun and successful experiment, so perhaps we will try to do another Farmer’s Market storytime before it’s over.

Stories in the Park begins June 10

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 24th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library’s Stories in the Park summertime outdoor reading series begins June 10 and continues through July 31.

Stories in the Park will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday mornings at Willow Creek Park, 117 Teg Dr., and 10:30 a.m. Friday mornings at Mercer Park, 2701 Bradford Dr.

In the event of rain, the Wednesday storytimes will be held at the Library and the Friday storytimes will be cancelled. There will be no storytime on Friday, July 3, and Wednesday, July 22.

Stories in the Park is an outdoor storytime geared toward children between the ages of three and six. All children in attendance need to be accompanied by a parent or adult caregiver.

Children should remember to bring their Library Card, as there will be a selection of books available for check out at each storytime. Children who don’t have a Library Card can sign up at Library staff will be available to issue new Library Cards at Stories in the Park.

This event is co-sponsored by the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department and the Iowa City Public Library. For more information, please call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Storytime Recap: Animals Everywhere

by Morgan Reeves on May 13th, 2015

This was my first storytime back after attending the Kids First conference last week. I was happy to be able to share some of the early literacy information I had learned. In support of phonological awareness, hearing the sounds that make up words, we always start storytime with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” Then I asked if anyone could guess what storytime would be about today. With all of the animal books on the display, the kids were able to answer with no problem. I let parents know that focusing on the beginning sounds of words is another way to support phonological awareness in children. Our first story Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff had plenty of Bs to hear as well as colors to name.

Next I told everyone we would follow bear over the mountain to see what we could see. Because we had a wiggly group today I had everyone do full body movements instead of the finger motions that often accompany the song.

The bear went over the mountain, (marching)
The bear went over the mountain, (marching)
The bear went over the mountain, (marching)
To see what he could see. (hand over eyes and look out)

And all that he could see, (hand over eyes and look out)
And all that he could see, (hand over eyes and look out)

Was the other side of the mountain, (bring hands together above head in triangle)
The other side of the mountain, (bring hands together above head in triangle)
The other side of the mountain, (bring hands together above head in triangle)
Was all that he could see. (hand over eyes and look out)

Then I told everyone we would go on a trip to the other side of the mountain and count animals by reading Over in the Jungle by Marianne Berkes. The rhyming words in this book are another great way to contribute to phonological awareness.

I had the parents and children sing “Hey Diddle Diddle” while I set up a felt game of matching animal halves.

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed,
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Then I asked for volunteers to put the animals back together. The kids liked coming up and correctly matching the animal halves, but the also thought it was funny when I tried to match up the heads to the wrong tails. Then we did one of my favorite action rhymes.

Jump like a frog.
Stretch like a cat.
Hop like a bunny.
Flap like a bat.
Wiggle like a worm.
Slither like a snake.
Now be a wet dog,
and shake, shake, shake!

Finally we settled down for one final book. I chose an informational picture book, Born in the Wild by Lita Judge to share with the group. We skipped most of the text heavy pages but had some fun questions and answers about how the kids were like the pictured animals.

Then we finished up storytime with the Animal Crackers rhyme.

Oh, once I ate a lion,
Then a tall giraffe,
But when I ate the elephant
He really made me laugh.
Well you may think I’m silly
But I’ll tell you the truth,
They were animals crackers
And you can eat them too!

I told them all of these animals could be seen at the zoo, which was where our movie took place. We watched the animated storybook version of A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead. Everyone left with an elephant stamp on their hands.


Book Babies with Sonia Culver

by Karen Gordon on May 7th, 2015

Enrichment Therapy


Boy with Dad



Friday, May 8th, 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 – 2 p.m.

Join the fun with Sonia Culver from the Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center.

Soina will share stories, songs, and rhymes, with information about helping your baby develop language skills. Specifically planned for babies. This program is an active program intended to stimulate infant language development. We ask that there be a lap for every baby.


Storytime Recap: Bridge to Reading

by Morgan Reeves on April 22nd, 2015

Today I was joined by our intern Amanda in showing off some of the Bridge to Reading award nominees. The Bridge to Reading award is designed to promote early literacy through quality read-aloud picture books. Engaging children in the voting process helps develop a lifelong love of reading. Even with a special storytime, we try to stay consistent and start with the same welcome song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” Then I started us off with our first book Baby Bear Counts One by Ashley Wolff. This is a story better for fall or the beginning of winter, but kids enjoy counting no matter what the season.

Afterwards, I asked what season comes after winter? Spring! Then we talked a little about how windy spring can be. So we became the wind by repeating the rhyme “Blow wind, blow.”

Blow wind, blow
And go, mill, go
That the miller may grind his corn
That the baker may take it
And into bread make it
And bring us a loaf in the morn.

Next it was Amanda’s turn to read Windblown by Édouard Manceau. This is a fun building narrative that follows scraps of paper as they are blown into different animal shapes by the wind. An imaginative tie-in craft for this book would be to cut the shapes out of paper and do as the book says at the end, see what you can make of them.

Then we livened things up by doing one of my favorite action rhymes about animal movements.

Jump like a frog.
Stretch like a cat.
Hop like a bunny.
Flap like a bat.
Wiggle like a worm.
Slither like a snake.
Now be a wet dog,
and shake, shake, shake!

With everyone done being dogs, it was time to for me to read a book about a dog, Digger Dog by William Bee. The kids all loved the surprising page layouts near the end that add to the anticipation of whether Digger Dog will ever dig deep enough to find his bone.

We got our thumbs ready for the next book by reciting the action rhyme “Tommy Thumbs Up.”

Tommy thumbs up (both thumbs up)
Tommy thumbs down (both thumbs down)
Tommy thumbs dancing
all around the town (wiggle thumbs in big circles)
Dance them on your shoulders (wiggle thumbs to shoulders)
Dance them on your head (wiggle thumbs to head)
Dance them on your knees (wiggle thumbs to knees)
And tuck them into bed! (cover thumbs in your fists)

After that thumb workout, Amanda told everyone that we weren’t going to use our thumbs at all because the next book would be Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter. Larry the monster tells kids not to push the button, but it proves irresistible and leads to some colorful side effects for Larry.

This interactive book was a big hit, so we went into our song “If You’re Nutty and You Know It” with plenty of energy.

If you’re nutty and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re nutty and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, clap your hands

If you’re nutty and you know it, stamp your feet
If you’re nutty and you know it, stamp your feet
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, stamp your feet

If you’re nutty and you know it, shout “Hooray!”
If you’re nutty and you know it, shout “Hooray!”
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, shout “Hooray!”

If you’re nutty and you know it, do all three
If you’re nutty and you know it, do all three
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, do all three

After this nutty song, everyone was ready for me to read our last story The Nuts : Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin. Mama Nut just wants Hazel and Wally to go to sleep, but they ignore her and keep singing “We’re Nuts! We’re Nuts! We’re Nuts!” The kids had a blast singing along with them each time.

Finally, it was time to vote. We had bookmark ballots for the kids to mark their favorite story on and a box to collect them. Since it is Earth Day, everyone who voted got a Earth stamp. Then in honor of Earth Day we watched a short movie based on the book And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano.

Storytime Recap: Dinosaurs

by Morgan Reeves on April 8th, 2015

I was in the mood to introduce some dinosaurs with the recent news that Brontosaurus (formerly part of the Apatosaurus family) would officially be its own dinosaur again. I saw some new faces in the crowd this morning, but they learned quickly to sing along with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” I could tell we had a talkative bunch today, so I began by asking, “Who likes dinosaurs?” Predictably everyone put their hand up and wanted to let me know which was their favorite dinosaur. After some sharing, I xplained that dinosaurs are extinct and what that means. Then we read Edwina : The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems.

Next I asked the kids what they would do if they had a dinosaur, which led to more sharing. Letting children share their thoughts and opinions in front of others helps boost their confidence. Then we listened to and sang along with Raffi’s “If I Had a Dinosaur

If I had a dinosaur,
Just think what we could do.
He could lift me off the floor
And take me to the zoo.

And if I had a dinosaur,
Just think what we could see.
We could look inside the clouds
Above my balcony.

And if I had a dinosaur,
Just think where we could go.
All the way to grandma’s house
To play her piano.

If you sing about dinosaurs, you must then dance like dinosaurs. Up next was the story Dancing with the Dinosaurs by Jane Clarke. As I read I asked the kids to imitate the dino dances they saw, which was a nice bit of movement for an energetic group.

To keep us in motion, we did an action rhyme about dinosaur movements. We did this twice so everyone had a chance to master the actions and participate.

Spread your arms, way out wide,
Fly like a Pteranodon, soar and glide.

Bend to the floor, head down low,
Move like Stegosaurus, long ago.

Reach up tall, try to be
As tall as Brontosaurus eating on a tree.

Using your claws, grumble and growl
Just like Tyrannosaurus on the prowl

Then I told everyone I had a new book to share with them about a hungry dinosaur looking for an egg, Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg! by Steven Weinberg. A great way to finish storytime, this was a quick read with plenty of repetition and a funny twist at the end.

With storytime at an end, we watched a movie and found out what happened on the day When Dinosaurs Came with Everything based on the book by Elise Broach.

Finally, everyone got a stamp of a Brontosaurus on the way out.