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 ~ 


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

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, 


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!


  1. Hi! Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. :-)
    I am organizing a library storytime and would love to know more about your library searches/ hunt. How do you go about it? Looking forward to hearing from you.:-)

    best wishes,
    Trish @

    1. Hi Trish! Thanks for your kind words! I am glad that you are enjoying the blog.

      I will try to send you the information in an email this afternoon. The searches are lots of fun and are great for getting the children to interact with you and other staff and to also look around the stacks ~ maybe even check out a book or two! ;-)

  2. This book is such a great find! Thank you SO much for this detailed post. I am in the midst of planning my first summer reading ever (gulp), and I'm thinking this would be an amazing program!

    1. Erin, if you decide to use this book for your SRP, let me know. I might have more ideas the closer I get to presenting it. I like to include music, sound effects, craft ideas, a snack of some sort, and a Library Search in my SRP. So I will be adding more ideas to these. ;0)

      Btw, don't worry too much about it being your first. Just have fun and the kids will, too!

  3. I have used this book before with my Volunteens acting it out, and it is easy and fun. Our knight rode a hobby horse and we had a cardboard castle zip-tied to a short (2-step) stepladder for the crumbly tumbly tower. Now I wish I had not done it so I could use it for this year's school visits!

  4. Oh, so cute! And I am so thrilled you are using one of the Good Knight books! (I think I have the same horse costume!!!) I use it when I put on a Good Knight each year. I wish I could have seen your show!

    Take care,

    Shelley Moore Thomas
    Author-Good Night, Good Knight

    1. Oh my gosh! How exciting to have the author stop by and comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. It has made my week!

      We have not actually done the program yet. I am saving it for our last Summer Reading event because it fit so perfectly into the theme for this summer. It is going to be our HUGE end of summer celebration! With the kids dressing in royal attire and enjoying a "feast" fit for a Good Knight. Lol!

      I can't wait to share your book! I will actually be presenting it twice that day and hope to take lots and lots of pictures. If you woould like to see them, please feel free to contact me at

      I am sharing pictures of our recent live-action presentation of Chicken Little with Rebecca Emberley (author-illustrator) because she requested to see them. :o) We shared her book last week to kick off our Summer Reading program. It was tremendously fun!

      Thank you again for stopping by!
      Enjoy your day!

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