Outreach Storytime: Birds

So, I’m pretty new to doing outreach in a storytime way. As a teen librarian, my outreaches were mostly either community/parent nights that I just set up an information table at, or visiting middle and high school classes to talk about the library/SRP and do a short program with them. The idea of going to a preschool and doing a storytime was pretty scary at first! A few months in, I’ve got four early learning centers I visit on a regular basis, and a first grade class I’ll be seeing monthly. Since I’m doing so many outreaches, I decided it’s probably a better idea to put together a dedicated outreach storytime each month, rather than just frantically throwing some books in a bag (hey, we all have to start somewhere!). The challenge with these storytimes, for me, is the huge age range I’m serving in a relatively small amount of time. At one center I visit, for example, I’ll do an infants class, a class of 2s, a class of 3s, and a class of preschoolers. I obviously can’t use the exact same storytime for all of them, because developmentally they’re all over the place.  I thought I’d post my storytimes (including the adaptions for each age range) here, in case they’ll be helpful to other people! This outreach storytime has its roots firmly in my Owls Storytime, so head over there for the lyrics to the songs!

Infants

Hello Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Three Fat Sausages (it’s just like Five Fat Sausages, but shorter!)

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Book: Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker

Short and perfect for babies, this large format book is a great way to share the classic nursery rhyme accompanied by excellent visuals.

Song: Ten Little Owls

Book: Counting Birds

This board book incorporates lots of great features for babies: a simple plot, excellent sounds to make, and simple counting. It was a little small, but for my smaller group of babies, it definitely worked.

Book: Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker

Since repetition is good for baby’s brains, we went ahead and read this excellent title twice!

Story Cube: I love adding a little element of unpredictability to storytimes!

Song: Rum Pum

Even though babies can’t do Rum Pum on their own yet, I think it’s fun to hear, and the teachers always do it with me!

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye, I’ll See You Soon

Toddlers

For my toddlers, I pretty much replicated the owl storytime exactly. What can I say? If it ain’t broke…

Preschoolers

For my preschoolers, I did the owl storytime once again, but I encouraged a lot more participation from them. During Little Owl Lost, for example, we would make the feature Little Owl was looking for (big eyes, pointy ears, etc), and on each page I would ask them if that was Little Owl’s mom. I also made them do the “WOW”s in Wow! Said the Owl.

This outreach storytime was the first one where I realized I needed to add books specifically for babies and that I can use some of the awesome books that are a little too long for my toddlers with the preschoolers. I’m definitely spending a little more time each month making a unique, varied outreach storytime now, though. Especially because a lot of my regulars go to the childcare centers a couple of days a week — they don’t need to hear the exact same storytime twice!

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