Category: story time

The letter at story time today was S (s).

We heard stories about snow, including Oh! by Kevin Henkes.

We sang Snow Falls Gently (to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)
Snow falls gently to the ground, to the ground, to the ground
Snow falls gently to the ground in the wintertime

Catch the snowflakes on your tongue, on your tongue, on your tongue
Catch the snowflakes on your tongue in the winter time

Build a snowman round and fat, round and fat, round and fat
Build a snowman round and fat in the winter time

The early literacy tip was about singing:
“Make it up! You can make up all sorts of words to familiar tunes to fit whatever you are doing. This is a great practice for kids to fit what they’re doing into a rhyme and rhythm. The more they understand about language, the easier reading will come when they start learning!”

The letter at story time today was A (a).

We heard stories about art, including Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman and I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.

We sang Making Great Art (to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus)
The painter with the brush goes swish, swish, swish
Swish, swish, swish
Swish, swish, swish
The painter with the brush goes swish, swish, swish
To make some great art!

The sculptor with the clay goes squish, squish, squish…
The sketcher with the pencil goes scratch, scratch, scratch…
The artist with the crayon goes scribble, scribble, scribble…

The early literacy tip was about reading:
“Read the pictures! The art in a book can sometimes tell us just as much or more about what is going on in a story. When you’re reading a book, read the pictures, too, and talk to your kids about what the pictures tell you.”

The letter at story time today was F (f).

We heard stories about families, including The Family Book by Todd Parr and Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell.

We sang We’re a Family Under One Sky (by Two of a Kind)
Chorus:
We’re all a family under one sky, we’re a family under one sky
We’re all a family under one sky, we’re a family under one sky

We’re sisters (we’re sisters), we’re brothers (we’re brothers)
We’re fathers (we’re fathers), and we’re mothers, too (we’re mothers, too)

We’re grandmas (we’re grandmas), we’re grandpas (we’re grandpas)
We’re friends (we’re friends), and we’re neighbors, too (we’re neighbors, too)

(Chorus)

We’re plumbers, we’re doctors, we’re nurses, and we’re builders, too
We’re dancers, we’re astronauts, we’re teachers, and students, too

(Chorus)

We’re lions, we’re kitty-cats, we’re puppy-dogs, and we’re sheep, too
We’re horses, we’re cows, we’re snakes, and we’re pigs, too

(Chorus)

We’re American, we’re Russian, we’re Israeli, and Egyptian, too
We’re Mexican, South African, we’re Irish, and we’re Chinese, too

(Chorus)

We’re happy, we’re sad, we’re silly, and we’re tender, too
We’re angry, we’re frightened, we’re curious, and we’re really excited!

(Chorus)

The early literacy tip was about playing:
“Will you play with me? As kids get older, they can play independently more and more. But kids still learn best from interactions with other people, so play along with your kids. Not only is it fun for you, but it brings deeper understanding about the world and each other!”

The letter at story time today was D (d).

We heard stories about dogs, including A Dog’s Life by Caroline Sherman.

We sang BINGO
There was a farmer who had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
And Bingo was his name-o!

(Repeat five times replacing each successive letter with a clap.)

The early literacy tip was about talking:
“What are they saying? Animals usually don’t speak English, but it’s fun to imagine what animals might say if they could speak. If you talk to your kids about what they think that dog, cat, squirrel, or crow is saying, you might be surprised at what they come up with!”

We sang lots more songs at story time today than we heard stories.

The song I liked best was When Animals Get Up in the Morning:
When cows get up in the morning, they always say good day
When cows get up in the morning, they always say good day
They say moo, moo, moo, moo, that is what they say
They say moo, moo, moo, moo, that is what they say.

Repeat with other animals and the sounds they make, for example, sheep, horses, elephants, seals, chickens, ducks, snakes, and so on.

The early learning tip was about race:
“Two reasons (just the tip of the iceberg) why discussing race with young children is important:

First, one of the ways that children’s brains make synaptic connections is by categorizing, and one of the most superficial types of categorization they do is based on what things and people look like. Acknowledging that different people look different, but that these differences do not define who they are or what they are like is developmentally appropriate and recommended by child psychologists and child development experts.

Second, even if we assume that children are making neutral categorizations of racial difference on their own (which is a huge assumption), we live in a society that does not promote equal or equitable portrayals of all races. Left undiscussed, research shows that children default to negative stereotypes of race as they see perpetuated in the dominant culture, in media, and even, in some instances, at home. Talking about race in a simple, age appropriate, non-prejudiced way prevents these negative stereotypes from being the only contextual information young children have about people who look different from themselves.”
––Amy Koester, Skokie Public Library

The following resources about how children learn race and how to talk about it were shared:
Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race by Erin N. Winkler (published in Practical Approaches for Continuing Education)

Teaching Tolerance: How White Parents Should Talk to Their Young Kids About Race by Melinda Wenner Moyer (published in Salon)

How to Talk to Kids About Race: What’s Appropriate for Ages 3-8 by Madeleine Rogin (published in InCultureParent)

Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Sexism and Racism by Louise Derman-Sparks and the A.B.C. Task Force (published in the Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children)

The letter at story time today was T (t). We talked about the sound the consonant blend Th (th) makes.

We heard stories about giving thanks, including Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson.

We sang Thanks So Much!
(to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your  Boat)

Thanks, thanks, thanks so much
All day long I’ll sing
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you
And Happy Thanksgiving!

The early literacy tip was about singing:
“Clap, tap, and bounce! Singing and playing music is a great way to practice hearing the natural rhythm of language. As they tap or clap out a beat, kids can get the rhythm into their bodies. Then, as they learn to read, they will start separating longer words into syllables, or beats, to make them easier to decode.”

The letter at story time today was W (w).

The wacky stories we heard were Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman and The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort.

We sang A Rhino Likes Popcorn (by Jason Anderson):
A rhino has a horn
And a rhino likes popcorn
Do you like popcorn, too?
Do you like popcorn, too?

A rhino has a horn
And a rhino likes popcorn
Do you like popcorn, too?
Do you like popcorn, too?

A fish swims in the lake
And a fish likes chocolate cake
Do you like chocolate cake, too?
Do you like chocolate cake, too?

A fish swims in the lake
And a fish likes chocolate cake
Do you like chocolate cake, too?
Do you like chocolate cake, too?

A lion has a mane
And a lion likes candy canes
Do you like candy canes, too?
Do you like candy canes, too?

A lion has a mane
And a lion likes candy canes
Do you like candy canes, too?
Do you like candy canes, too?

A bird has feathered wings
And a bird sure likes to sing
Do you like to sing, too?
Do you like to sing, too?

A bird has feathered wings
And a bird sure likes to sing
Do you like to sing, too?
Do you like to sing, too?

Do you like to sing, too?
Do you like to sing, too?

The early literacy tip was about reading:
“Cuddle up! Reading together isn’t just about sharing stories, building literacy skills, and all that good stuff. It’s also about spending time together doing something you love with someone you love. So as the weather gets cold, snuggle close and enjoy a book together!”

Story time today was a mishmash of books and songs with no clear theme stringing them together.

One of the books we heard was Over in the Meadow by Olive A. Wadsworth, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. It is an Appalachian counting rhyme featuring animals and nature that can be sung to the loveliest tune. The Keats illustrations are fantastic.

We also found and brought home 1 to 20, Animals Aplenty by Katie Viggers.

H has recently become interested in numbers. He points them out in text and often counts to himself: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, twelve, fourteen, eleven, six, eleven, six, eleven, six. I have been on the look out for books and objects for our home environment that support his interest in numbers, and these two books were unexpected and beautifully perfect finds.

The theme at story time today was numbers and counting.

We heard Baby Bear Counts One by Ashley Wolff and Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett. We sang along to a flannel board story/song based on Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin.

We sang lots of songs, including Five Dinosaurs:

There were five dinosaurs driving in cars
Having a “wheely” good time
They said, “Step on the gas, we’ll go really fast!”
And they did, until one got a flat tire.
CA-CHUNK, CA-CHUNK, CA-CHUNK, WHOOOOSH ––
And he said, “Go on without me…”

Repeat with 4, 3, 2, and 1 dinosaur(s)

(Last verse)
And she said, “I know what I’ll do! I’ll put on the spare!”
So she jacked up the car, and she took off the flat,
And she put on the spare,
And she said, “I think I’ll go pick up my friends!”
Then there were five dinosaurs, driving in cars
Having a “wheely” good time
They said, “Step on the gas, we’ll go really fast!”
And then on down the road they went flying.
So long, dinosaurs! See you next time!

We sang two fingerplay songs, one to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat:

One, one, show me one, show me one right now,
One, one, show me one, show me one right now.

(Repeat with 2, 3, 4, 5, up to 10)

And one called Five Elephants in the Bathtub:

One elephant in the bathtub,
Going for a swim,
Knock-knock (clap twice), splash-splash (slap knees twice),
Come on in! (motion with both hands to come in)

Repeat with 2, 3, and 4 elephants

(Last verse)
Five elephants in the bathtub,
Going for a swim,
Knock-knock (clap twice), splash-splash (slap knees twice),
And they all FELL IN!

The early learning tip:
“Learning about math concepts doesn’t have to come from books about math or numbers. Every book – and every conversation – offers an opportunity to count by ones or in pairs, or to talk about more or less. Math ideas fit perfectly into your day!”

The theme at story time today was space. There were, as you might suppose, stories and songs about outer space.

Here are the songs we sang before H decided he was all done with story time.

I’m a Little Rocket
(To the tune of I’m a Little Teapot)

I’m a little rocket, tall and thin
[Stand with arms stretched overhead]
Here is my nose cone
[Fingertips meet overhead to form cone]
Here is my fin
[Hold arms from sides pointing down like fins]
When I get all fired up
Launch begins
Watch me rise
[Jump up]
And see me spin!
[Spin in place]

We’re Flying Off to Space
(To the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)

We’re flying off to space
We’re flying off to space
I think we’ll see the moon up there!
We’re flying off to space

I think we’ll see some planets there!
I think we’ll see some stars up there!
I think we’ll see a rocket there!

Climb Aboard the Spaceship
(To the tune of The Itsy Bitsy Spider)

Climb aboard the spaceship
We’re going to the moon
Hurry up and get ready
We’re going to blast off soon!
Put on your helmet
And buckle up real tight
Here comes the countdown
Let’s count with all our might!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Blast off!