Saturday, March 31, 2012

Flannel Friday: Dream Big ~ READ! SRP

Good morning! I missed Flannel Friday so I guess I'll do a Sharing Saturday this week.

I do apologize to all my Flannel Friday friends for not being as prepared as many of the veterans seem to be each week. I'm still learning all the neat little tricks and trying to find a place in my schedule to blog. I usually don't find time to write my Flannel Friday post until Friday morning ~ scheduling ahead has not been an option yet ~ plus my boss and another co-worker were off yesterday so we were short-handed. I am trying! Please stick with me! I promise I will get there.

In the meantime, I hope this post is helpful.

Our mission for this week ~ if we chose to accept it and I did! ~ was to share an idea or two for our Summer Reading Program (SRP). At my library, we are following the Collaborative Summer Reading Program (CSLP). You can check the program out here.

The chosen theme for CSLP this year is:



I like the theme this year and I am excited to share books and learning activities that will encourage our K through 5 patrons to read, read, read this summer!

First, let me mention that at my library we do not do any flannel board activities during our SRP. The main reason is that our groups are much, much too large for a flannel board to keep everyone's attention. Second, our families have come to expect a little more "entertainment" from our staff! 

Years ago, I had access to B&N's large costume characters and we had fun, exciting programs with them. When I left my job as Children's Program Co-ordinator (it was my second job for over 5 years), I no longer had access to the elaborate costumes so my program focus had to be tweaked. That is how our "Live Action Booksharing" came about. We began to present the books ~ dressing as the characters; interacting with each other, the audience, and sometimes with puppets; and using scenery and props. Just like a high school drama club but each of our presentations was founded on a specific children's book that reflected our theme. And they had to be pretty simple since we didn't have much time for planning and practice.

One thing I'll mention is I am extremely lucky to have a wonderful volunteer who loves working with me on these booksharings. He is wild and crazy! Plus he loves to get the kids excited about books. And he loves having fun.  Together we take a book and turn it into a "book presentation" ~ not really sure what to call what we do because each book takes on a life of its own.

Oh, another thing to mention, I am only responsible for preparing 2 or 3 books for sharing each summer. The rest of the children's staff are also responsible for 2 or 3 books each. We help each other but it is really nice to know that I only have to be totally responsible for my 2 or 3 books!

Hmmm, I think now would be the time to share a little of what I am planning for this summer.

For one of my weeks, I have chosen to do a play on the Night theme by featuring a book about a Knight

Once I started searching for my books for this summer, it didn't take me long to come across the PERFECT one!


It is a sweet, funny book about a Knight who keeps watch every night from his "crumbly tumbly tower". 

One night  he hears " a very large, very loud roar" so, because he is a very conscientious Knight, he goes out into the night to investigate:

"He left the crumbly tumbly tower.
He climbed down the very tall wall.
He jumped on his horse.
"Away!" he cried.
He galloped through the king's forest.
Clippety-clop. Clippety-clop.
He came to the deep dark cave."



This section of the book is repetitive which is one of the things I look for in any book that I want to share with a large group. 

It also lends itself to audience participation ~ another characteristic that I look for. 

I am considering the idea of having the children make climbing motions, yelling "Away!" with our Knight, helping to make the "clippety-clop" sounds, and also saying "Oooooooh, no!" each time the Knight arrives at the dark cave. (This is still a work in progress! I usually read the book several times, discuss it with my volunteer, and write down every idea that we brainstorm. Then we will go back and tweak the ideas. Choose the ideas that best suit the book and audience.)

The book continues with the Knight making 4 trips to the dark cave. The first three times, he meets a new dragon who is having trouble going to bed. The requests made by each dragon will have a very familiar ring for the children in the audience. And the parents, too! ;-)

The final request has the Knight saying, "This is going too far."



Will the three little dragons ever go to sleep? 
Will our Good Knight ever get to stay in his "crumbly tumbly tower"? 
Will the horse survive all of the "clippety-clop"-ping through the forest? 

Our SRP participants will enjoy lots of action-packed silliness as we find out the answers to these and other burning questions when we share the book, Good Night, Good Knight, with them this summer!

I am excited to have found this book! It fits extremely well into our theme and also into our style of booksharing. It is repetitive, in a fun way, and invites many levels of audience participation. 

I want to mention a few other things that go into my decision about a book for my SRP events:

***Costumes ~ Are they easily accessible? Do we already have them from another program or are they easily created from items we already have or can get donated?

***Scenery and Props ~ Again, do we have what we need already? Or can we re-purpose, borrow, or get the needed items donated?

***Audience Appeal ~ Is it age appropriate? Is there enough action to keep the audience's attention? Audience participation ideas play a big part in this consideration.

***Learning Activities ~ Is it a book that lends itself to additional activities (crafts, songs, games, library searches, etc.) that will help the kids connect with the book and make them want to read more books on the same topic? 

I feel that this particular book has met all of these criteria for me!

We only need 4 costumes. Three of which are pretty much the same.

We already have a Knight costume from our annual Royal Valentine Party.


And we have a Dinosaur costume that I made several years ago. It could be re-purposed as a dragon by adding wings. Or... 

I was thinking that we could just use 3 sets of pajamas (with kid's themes) like:

Monkey pajamas!

 Or Princess pajamas!

Or trains or kitty pj's ~ LOL!). 

We could add the dragons' wings and tails to the pajamas and create a dragon head hat. 
I know just the hat, too! Easy and inexpensive to make out of paper or craft foam.

Or maybe I can ask one of my creative storytime moms to make dragon hats like this one:


She has made me other hats so that is a possibility. (I think my favorite hat that she made us was a Frankenstein one. So cool!)

Quick note: Never underestimate how much your patrons want to help you have a successful SRP! You never know what someone is willing to donate or who is willing to volunteer to help you with props, scenery, or even crafts and snacks.

Speaking of scenery (LOL):

For the "crumbly tumbly" tower, I have a huge appliance box that I have been saving for ages. We can cover it with the "rock wall" corrugated cardboard that a local Halloween store donated a few years ago. Viola! We have our tower. 

The Knight can go behind the box and enter through the back. Then standing on a chair inside the box, it will appear as though he is high above in his tower. So fun!

We have a cute horse costume that we bought for a couple of dollars after Halloween one year. We have yet to use it but ~ now is the time! I think it might be a child-sized horse so we will have to do a little work to make it fit our Knight but it shouldn't be too hard...


Our puppet theater could be turned into the deep, dark cave with just a little work. I'm thinking that the front could be a black sheet that the Knight will pull aside each time he arrives. As he pulls it aside, the interior of the cave would be revealed with the appropriate dragons inside First, one dragon, then two, then three. ;-)

I am loving this book more and more! So many was to embellish and be creative with its presentation!

Before I end this post, let me discuss a little about the actual booksharing. If you don't have much time to memorize a script and have practices with your fellow presenters, there are a few ways to still have a very successful booksharing ~ and I have done all of them at one time or another.

One way is to find a recording of the book. This makes things easier and less time consuming.
However, many times a professionally recorded book will move too fast for all the actions but it does work well if your time does not allow for making your own recording.

That being said, another way is to do-it-yourself. Making your own recording can take a little time but it is fun and allows for you to build in the necessary time to do certain actions such as a few extra "clippety-clops" ~ so that your Knight can make it from the tower to the cave. It allows for you to give your own personalities to the characters by using different voices ~ like a whiny three-year-old voice for one of the dragons. It also allows you to add sound affects and music, if you want.

A third option would be to have a narrator. The narrator could read the whole story with the characters just acting out the words. 

Or, a fourth option, the narrator could read certain parts of the story with the characters chiming in when necessary. 

This last option does take more time due to the need for memorization and practice but it is my preferred option! 

When you do the booksharing as a "live-action presentation", there is more opportunity for you to have interaction with your audience. You can allow them a few extra seconds to laugh a little longer or to make the "clippety-clop" sound a few more times. You have more opportunities to get them involved and fully engaged with the book. 

Also, you will have an opportunity to share with them the idea that what you are doing is actually something they can do at home with their friends. At the end of the program, I like to tell the audience a little about how we prepared the program and give them suggestions for how they can "bookshare", too. I have had children come back the next week and tell me how they shared a book with their family and friends. Very rewarding! 

I hope to some day be able to showcase a few of these "presentations" at one of our SRP events. It would be unique to have the participants actually presenting the books, don't you think?

WOW! This post has taken on a life of its own! It is quite a bit longer than I expected but I hope it gives you some new ideas or maybe just the encouragement to look at your featured book in a different way. 

One thing to remember: 

There are as many ways to share a book as there are people to share them!

But the most important thing to remember, in my opinion, is ~ 

JUST HAVE FUN!


A couple more thoughts and then I'll end this post.

I plan to make a banner for this program that I will hang in the children's area to get families excited about my week to bookshare. I am thinking that the banner will say "Dream Royal ~ READ!" and will have a few characters from the book (maybe) or at least a castle and forest or something like that. 

In the weeks leading up to my booksharing,  I plan to announce that the children are more than welcome to come dressed in "royal attire" for this particular program. We give out gold coins each summer for reading and attending our SRP events each week. At the end of summer, the kids use the coins to purchase prizes out a Bazaar. We also give coins for other things like drawing a picture of a book they read or for checking out books. For this particular program, I will be giving an extra coin for dressing in "royal attire", for reading a royal-themed book the week before, and for bringing a picture of it or sharing a few details with me after the program. Anything to encourage them to be more involved with my presentation!

Another important part of my presentations each summer include a search in the library. We present our programs in our library meeting rooms that are at the front of our library. I noticed several years ago that many families came in for the SRP and then left without ever going into the Children's area. I felt that this was defeating the purpose of having our two weekly SRP events so I thought about ways to change this. How could we get the families to actually go INTO the library while they were there to participate in SRP?

I decided that it needed to be something that the children would want to do and it needed to get them to explore the library and interact with the other librarians. So... 

Our Library Searches began! 

Depending on the theme, the children are asked to search for something in the library. We have had a "Treasure Hunt" for our Pirate theme, a "Stars and Stripes Hunt" for a Patriotic theme, a "My Wacky World Search" for a Dr. Seuss theme, a "Unusual Animal Search" for a 
Rain Forest theme, and even a "Who Am I? Search" for a Nursery Rhyme theme. 

Different searches have different criteria. Some are simple "Look-and-Find" type searches and some are more involved "Hidden Message" searches. Over the years I have gotten pretty creative with tweaking a Library Search to actually include quotes from a book series or educational facts about a certain topic or even library skills like finding a non-fiction book on a certain topic. It all depends on the book being featured and the group of children who will be attending the event. 

I'll have to add a post about the Library Searches in the near future. They are fun and educational and easy to do! Gotta love that!

In the meantime, if you have any questions about this type of activity, you can post them in the comments below or email me at storytimeabcs@gmail.com

Time to end this post before I think of something else to write!



Oh, wait! One more thing! Okay ~ weeeeeelllll ~ maybe two more things...

As always, 

HAPPY READINTOGETHER!


Last thing, I promise!

Flannel Friday information for this week:

Our host is at Sharon at her Rain Makes Applesauce blog. And she even made some "blog bling" for this week's theme: Dream Big ~ READ! Whoo Hoo! Thanks, Sharon! I'll have to grab the button for my blog.



Talk about storytime and flannelboards at the Flannel Friday Facebook Page.
Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the #flannelfriday hashtag. (You don’t have to be on Twitter to check this out.)

And, last but not least, if you’re a contributor, there is an awesome blog button from Melissa and you can grab it from the right hand menu at Mel’s Desk!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Taming the Infamous To-Be-Read Pile


If you are like most Librarians, you have a To-Be-Read pile of books. Or maybe you have two or three TBR piles, like me! 

I am hoping to tame mine a little with the help of some "in the know" guys and gals from a wonderful group called Flannel Friday. If you have read one or two of my other posts, you know that I try to contribute storytime ideas to this group each Friday. I truly admire the participants of Flannel Friday. They are very good at what they do! 

So... 

I have asked them to make recommendations ~ of their all-time FAVORITE storytime titles. I can't wait to see which books are recommended!

As the recommendations are shared, I will add them to this post. I will list the titles in alphabetical order by the author ~ I'm thinking that will be the easiest way to list them. I will also highlight a new title by posting it in bold, red letters for the first week that it is added.

Okay, I can hear all the voices in my head (ummmm... maybe I shouldn't admit to that! LOL) saying, "How is this taming the pile?" and "Won't this just mean MORE books for the TBR pile?"

Well, I guess you could say that but...

At least I will feel like I am tackling my TBR pile with a purpose in mind. I would much rather be reading books recommended by the BEST storytime presenters than combing through my library's shelves and reading 10 or more not-so-hot books before finally stumbling across a possible storytime title. If it is highly recommended by someone who has used it for their storytimes before then it is more likely a good choice. 

I guess you could say that I am taming my STORYTIME TBR pile more than anything. By doing that, I will have more time to tame my other TBR piles. ;-) And who doesn't want more time to read for pleasure?

Please be sure to bookmark this post and check back often. You won't want to miss any new titles!

Btw, if you came to this blog through other means than the Flannel Friday group and you want to recommend a good title for storytimes, please leave a comment below or contact me at storytimeabcs(at)gmail(dot)com. I would love to read your recommendations, too!

Here goes:

Recommended Storytime Books
(Listed alphabetical by author then alphabetically by the title.)

Boynton, Sandra
Blue Hat, Green Hat
recommended by Sharon H
Sharon says, "We scanned the book to make it
larger and made it into storycards."


Carle, Eric

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse
recommended by Lisa Mulvenna

Dream Snow
recommended by Miss Courtney
Miss Courtney likes many of Eric Carle's books
because of the "wonderfully, large illustrations
that are great for storytimes."
Her favorite to just read is Dream Snow.


Crebbin, June
Cows in the Kitchen
recommended by Tracy Login
Tracy says "It's always so much fun!"
She suggests that you sing it and give the kids shakers to shake along.
Feiffer, Jules
Bark, George
recommended by KathyS

Fox, Mem
Where is the Green Sheep?
recommended by Sharon H


Henkes, Kevin
Kitten's First Full Moon
recommended by KathyS



Himmelman, John 
Katie Loves the Kittens
recommended by Leah
Leah says, "Katie's excitement just jumps off the pages."


Katz, Karen
Where is Baby's Belly Button?
recommended by Miss Courtney
Miss Courtney enjoys these "great lift-the-flap books with adorable babies."

Mullens, Kate and Jim
I Stink!
recommended by KathyS



Most, Bernard
Cock-A Doodle Moo
recommended by KathyS


Shaw, Charles
It Looked Like Spilt Milk
recommended by Miss Courtney
Miss Courtney says that this is her "favorite open-ended, interactive book to read."

Shea, Bob
New Socks
recommended by Sharon H


Waring, Richard
The Hungry Hen
recommended by Monica Stranton
Monica says, "I absolutely adore that book."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flannel Friday: Mouse's First Spring

Wow! It is Springtime already!



I don't know about the rest of the country but, here in Florida, we have had a very mild winter. Seems so strange to be starting our Springtime storytimes!  
However, it was officially Spring as of March 20th so I did present our first Spring books at our Family storytime last night. We all had a very enjoyable time exploring many of the signs of Spring's arrival. 


Our featured book was:


Mouse's First Spring 


It is a part of a wonderful series of books about Mouse's first experiences. My storytime families love these books because they are simple, sweet, and colorful. They also provide opportunities to talk about things that a young child might be experiencing for the first time, just like Mouse!

I enjoy sharing these books because they provide me with many opportunities to engage the children and parents through "interactive booksharing" ~ that is my term for any engaging way that I can draw the child and parent into helping me tell the story. 

I have found that "interactive booksharing" also helps the child and parent remember the story so that they can talk about it again and even retell the story at home. It includes using many different tactics such as teaching a few ASL signs, focusing on the repetition of a word or phrase, highlighting motions for certain actions that can be incorporated throughout the book, and many other fun, exciting, and sometimes unique ways to have everyone participate in the sharing of the book.

This week for Flannel Friday, I have chosen to make a set of flannel/magnetic pieces for this book. I chose to use the actual artwork from the book because it is gorgeous


First, I scanned the items that I wanted to use for my board set and then printed them out onto cardstock. After cutting them out, I laminated them to make them more durable. They turned out beautifully!



I have also chosen to back the pieces with flannel and to attach a magnetic strip so that it can be used with either a flannel board or a magnetic board. I do lots of outreach and sometimes it is not always possible to take my own board(s) with me. That means I am at the mercy of whatever the place has available. I like being prepared so I have chosen to make this a dual-use set. 

***Tip: When making a dual-use set, use the thinner magnetic stripping. This will alleviate some of the bulkiness and heaviness of the magnets.

Here is a quick run-through of the story. (Out of respect for the author, I will only share a few quotes.)

"One windy spring day, Mouse and Momma went out to play!"
(I do the signs for Mouse, Momma, and play. 
Sometimes I share the sign for Spring.)

As Mouse and Momma enjoy Mouse's first Spring day, they come across several creatures that are new to Mouse. As they see each one and after a few descriptive words about each new creature, Mouse always wonders, "What can it be?" As one of my "interactive booksharing" techniques,  I have the children hold up their hands and shrug as we repeat Mouse's wondering phrase ~ "What can it be?" ~ together.

The first thing he sees is something "glittery" and "flittery". Some of the descriptive words rhyme and all of them are fun to repeat. This is a great aspect of the story to point out to parents (not during the reading but maybe afterwards.) They might enjoy talking about the descriptive words with their child and coming up with more descriptive words for the signs of Spring.

Each time after Mouse wonders about the creature, Momma always says, "Look!" and then names the creature. I incorporate more ASL signs each time. Depending on the group, I will use the sign for "look", for "momma" and for the new creature.

The first Springtime creature that Mouse and Momma 
see is a gorgeous butterfly!


Next, is another repetitive phrase that I choose to highlight with several additions. The phrase is "Then whoosh! blew the wind" and the new creature disappears. 

I ask the children to show me how the wind might blow. We usually end up with a sweeping motion (using both hands) that starts low on one side of our bodies and sweeps upward as we move them across in front of our bodies. As we make this sweeping motion, we all say, "Whoosh!" like the wind. 

Since a picture of the wind does not actually appear in the book (although there are white swirls to indicate it), I decided to create my own "wind" so that I could add it to the board when it was time to do the motions and repeat the phrase:

"Then whoosh! blew the wind..."


Each time the wind blows, then the new creature disappears ~ we all wave and say,  "good-bye" as it disappears. (Another way to keep the little ones engaged with the book.)

Mouse and Momma see many new creatures as they explore the signs of Spring
They see:


"something slithery and slimy"



"something feathery and plump"



"something green and peeping" that goes "splishy splash" 
and hops away when the wind blows.
Bye, Mr. Frog!



Then Mouse and Momma see one last creature:

"something pink and wiggly"



Finally, they see something that is not a creature: 


"there on a stem, Mouse found something sweet and petally."



"Then whoosh! blew the wind, and rumply bumply Mouse tumbled away!"



Oh, NO! Poor little Mouse! I wonder what happened to him?
I guess you will have to read the book to find out.


But here's a clue:


HAPPY SPRING!


I really enjoy sharing Mouse's First series with my storytime friends. I also enjoy Lauren Thompson's other books, too ~ especially her book, Little Quack's New Friend. (You might see it featured in the near future!)


Thanks to all my Flannel Friday friends for stopping by! And to everyone else, too!

I hope you enjoyed this post and will take a minute or two to leave a comment. I would love to hear if you use any sign language in your storytimes! I have found that my storytime parents are very appreciative of the effort that I make to include signs each week. I have also found that the little ones pick up the signs very easily and it helps many of them stay engaged with the book for a longer period of time. 

Is there anything that you do that helps to engage your storytime friends?

I also want to mention that I started a post about how I plan my storytimes. If you are one of the many people who asked me about this (or if you are just curious about how someone else plans their storytimes), you will find a little bit of information here: ONE Way to Plan a Storytime. I will continue to share more about my process as I have time. I hope it helps anyone who is curious...

As always,


HAPPY READINTOGETHER!


Here’s Flannel Friday information for this week:


This week’s Flannel Friday roundup is hosted by Cate at  Storytiming.





Talk about storytime and flannelboards at the Flannel Friday Facebook Page.

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the #flannelfriday hashtag. (You don’t have to be on Twitter to check this out.)

And, last but not least, if you’re a contributor, there is an awesome blog button from Melissa and you can grab it from the right hand menu at Mel’s Desk!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ONE Way to Plan a Storytime

I have gotten lots of questions over the last few months from many people about how I plan my storytimes. The questions have been both on-line and in real life. Some of the people were other Children's Librarians. Some were young Parents, new and veteran Preschool Teachers, Caregivers, and some were even ~ surprise! ~ Teen Volunteers!


I thought this week I would walk you through one way I might plan a storytime. I say, "one way" because there are many ways to do it! Too many to even fathom!


No one way is best. What works for one person doesn't always work for someone else. That being said, please take my thoughts and suggestions and tweak them to your own style and purpose. Only use what is helpful to you! That is exactly what I do. :-) Each of my storytime plans might be laid out and ready to go but I am always tweaking it ~ many times at the very last minute ~ to make it the best it can be for each individual group.


In my opinion, the MOST important thing ~ without question ~ about planning ANY storytime is to OWN IT! Make it fit you and your style of doing things. Make it fit so well that if any issues come up ~ as they always do ~ you can just roll with the flow and make it to the end with a smile on your face.



This week I decided to do something about Springtime. March 20th is officially the first day of Spring so this is the perfect week to talk about all the signs of Spring.
  


Once I decided on the Springtime theme, I started searching for books about Spring. Since I have been doing this for such a looooong time, I already have an extensive list of wonderful books on this topic. But... 


I always like to search for new books. I often visit several sites during my search for an appropriate book but I usually start and end with my county's library catalog. Then I expand out to the websites for Amazon, B&N, Scholastic, and many different publishers. Once I find a few titles that seem to fit, I return to the library catalog to see if I can find the books at my library or at other libraries within my area. I do a lot of requesting! Having the books sent to me can take from a few days to a week or so ~ that is one reason why I start my planning early! (Btw, that is a good tip! Start planning early!)


For this week, I have chosen a book from a series that is one of my storytime families' favorites. The series is written by Lauren Thompson and the book is:


Mouse's First Spring


After I choose the book that I will be featuring, I read through it again. Sometimes I read through it several times. As I read, I make mental notes of songs, fingerplays, creative movement activities, and flannel or magnetic board stories that I already have access to. (I choose these items a little later in my planning process.)

Let me try to quickly take you through my thoughts about ideas to go with Mouse's First Spring. (If I was doing this for the first time, I would jot down my thoughts, in a notebook or a word document on the computer, as they came to me.)

The book is about a little Mouse who is experiencing his first Spring with his Mother at his side. 

The first thing I notice in the book is that it is a "windy spring day". So I might jot down "windy". Do I have any songs or fingerplays about the wind? What can I do to help the children remember that it is a windy day in our story? As I read on, I realize that the wind is a recurring "character" in our book. Hmmm... the wind always goes "whoosh!" when it blows. Perfect! Maybe we could make the "whoosh!" sound together each time it appears. And what about a sweeping motion to involve our large motor skills? Sounds good! We'll do that! We'll sweep our arms across our bodies and up into the air as we say "whoosh!" each time.

Is there anything else that is repetitive in the story? Yes, there is. Mouse sees many signs of Spring. He wonders, "What can it be?", each time he sees something new. Can I get the little ones at storytime to repeat that with me? Maybe we could hold our hands up and shrug as we say it. 

Each time Mouse wonders. "What can it be?" then Momma always says "Look!" and names the thing they see that is a sign of Spring. Since we work on sign language at my storytimes maybe I'll throw in the ASL sign for "look" and the ASL sign for each thing that Mouse and Momma see. That is a good beginning! I might even think about adding in color signs when it is appropriate.

As I continue to read through the book, I would jot down each new thing that Mouse wonders about. There is a butterfly, a snail, a bird, a frog, a worm, and a flower. Oh! And a hug and kiss from Momma at the end! Each of these things could be added to my list so that I could think about any learning activities that might fit in with the story and help connect the child with the book

Before we move on to other storytime items, I have a couple more thoughts about the presentation of the book. As each new creature is introduced, the wind comes along and whooshes it away. For instance, the snail "hid away" and the frog "hopped away". So maybe I could encourage the children to wave "good-bye" to each creature as they leave ~ just one more way to engage the children with the words and the illustrations in the book.

Now all of this could seem overwhelming if you haven't been doing storytimes very long or if you haven't shared this book before. I would suggest writing down your ideas and then picking and choosing which ones you are most comfortable with. Try one or two and then add more as you become more comfortable with sharing the book. Also, I have found that some ideas are appropriate for some groups and not for others. If I have my ideas all written down or tucked away in my mind, then they are there for me when the time is right to use them.

PLEASE do not think that you need to use every idea that you come across or that you come up with on your own when reading your book and planning your storytimes. Each storytime should be unique to you and your group. All the ideas that others offer or you think up yourself might be wonderful but if you tried to use them all or tried to use any outside your comfort level then you might have a less-than-successful storytime! Don't stress yourself with too much! I only do what I am comfortable with at that particular moment ~ even if I did more at yesterday's storytime. I don't let the success of one storytime dictate what I will do at a repeat storytime. Sometimes a group is just not ready for a particular song or activity.

My next step, for this particular book, is to take the list of signs for Spring and start fleshing out the rest of my storytime ~ starting with another book or two.

Is there another book that goes well with this one? Maybe another book about Spring such as

Splish, Splash, Spring
by Jan Carr 


or an even simpler one like 
It's Spring! 
by Samantha Berger



Or you can take your next book choice into a totally different direction by choosing a book based on one of the signs of Spring in the featured book, Mouse's First Spring. 

For instance, you could choose a butterfly book, such as 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle


or a book about lots of different butterflies like

Waiting for Wings
by Lois Ehlert



or a frog book such as

Jump, Frog, Jump!
by Robert Kalan



or a bird book like

BIRDS
by Kevin Henke



Whew! Trying to share my planning process is more difficult and wordy than I imagined. :-/ It is even more difficult than just doing the planning itself! LOL! 

Looks like I'll need to stop here and share my next steps for planning this storytime in a second and maybe even third post. 

One thing I haven't even mentioned is all the DIFFERENT ways you can present a book besides holding it up and reading it ~ although often times that is the best way to share a book.

This particular book could be done as a puppet show or as a flannel or magnetic board story. I am hoping to share my version of it for Flannel Friday Round-up this week. (I'll link it here when it is posted on Friday.)

I hope this has been somewhat helpful for you! I also hope that you will come back to read the rest of my planning process.

Please feel free to share any of your own thoughts on what I have written so far. Do you have a different way of starting your planning? If so, please share. Do you have other book titles to share that you might choose for this theme? I'd love to hear about them. 

Honestly, the possibilities for ANY storytime are endless! 

And you really can't go wrong as long as you ~ OWN IT!

As always,

HAPPY READINTOGETHER!