Monday, November 5, 2012

Storytime: Openings for 2- & 3-year-olds

Last year, I shared my opening songs for all my storytimes. I'd like to start sharing my entire storytime for 2s and 3s each week. It makes more sense to talk about the opening separately as it stays the same.

I fell into my job as a children's librarian, so I didn't have much training in that aspect of librarianship. In all honesty, I was pretty clueless when it came to storytime. I had never attended one and didn't have any children at the time. As I worked at a small branch library, I didn't have the fortune of learning from veterans, either. My professional shelf of manuals was a life-saver, though I didn't know it at the time.

After I read one manual, several years into my career, I devoured them all and even asked for the library to order more. Storytimes for two-year-olds by Judy Nichols changed the way I planned storytime.


1. Come with me! entering the story space and getting settled

I use a train whistle to alert parents and children it is time to enter the storytime room.

This doesn't look like the one I use, I just love ladybugs!
I hold the door open and welcome everyone, by name to practice for our song, and ask them to have a seat on the big puzzle we use as mat. After everyone is in, I make my way to the front and shake my tambourine while singing "Hello, Everybody".

2. Look at me! refocusing toddler's attention on you

After singing, I introduce myself and say we are going to have fun, tell stories, sing songs and play games. "But the first thing we do, so you can be super good listeners today is pass out the listening dust." I use a homemade wand with ribbons to sprinkle it in their hands. The ribbon tickles.

3. Do with me! a participation activity done with you

"The More We Get Together" is a classic song I didn't use for the longest time because I thought it was a cliche. That's just silly! It's so popular because it's a fantastic song that screams childhood. The children pat their legs with me for the first verse, then we sing all their names and finally do a super fast verse that ends in giggles. I didn't realize it at the time, but the other libraries in town use a version of the song, too. One branch uses a Caribbean version and the other a hip-hop one.

4. Watch me do! directing children's attention elsewhere yet still under your control

I use a simple flannel board activity to introduce the theme for the day. So for community helpers, I'd put up a letter flannel and ask them what it is. Then, I'd put up the mailman piece and ask what a person is called who delivers the mail. Then, I'd put up the word.

And that routine is the one I use each week. Please read Judy Nichols' book for more ideas and explanations of each  one as well as thematic books and ideas. 


  1. Great instructions and great blog!Isn't if funny how kids love a routine? (I especially like your star wands!)

  2. Lots of nice touches. Thanks for sharing!


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