I love story time. I’ve got very fond memories of it in primary school (in fact I remember being in Year 2 and hearing the story of The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and I loved it so much my Mum bought the book so I could read ahead of the class) and I’ve loved doing it as part of my Wolrd Book Day visits. During the Summer holidays last year I thought, what about really little children? What about story time outside of World Book Week? What about having a group of toddlers and preschoolers all sat down listening to a story? Could I do that? Do I want to do that? Considering I spend most of my day encouraging toddlers to play with books and bookish items and ‘talking’ with them about books and beans and whatever else strikes their fancy… Hell yes I wanted to do story time!
That wasn’t my first time doing story times though. About a year ago, I’d started up Sunday Story Time at work but I found that 1) parents didn’t always want to spend their Lazy Day taking the kids out in the morning to a half hour story time and 2) just having stories alone was not enough to build up more than about 1 regular. Come Christmas 2013 I found I had to stop anyway and since it had never really been that popular, it sort of peetered out.
I was determined though. I wanted a story time. Quite apart from the fact that I love reading stories out loud and I’m never one to miss the chance to
play with be enthusiastic about books with toddlers, I feel very strongly that my workplace is part of a community and that communities can be built around books. It’s one of the reasons I’m training to be a librarian. Now I don’t kid myself that my story times are the best around or are by themselves community-worthy, but I do like the feeling of giving something back to this little area that I’ve been working in for several years. So. I approached my boss, laid out my plans, and story time was born again!
So, what have I done differently this second go-around? Well, for a start, it’s on a weekday and it’s got a new time of about 11-ish. This way Mums can drop off older kids at school then amble round at their leisure with younger siblings for a story. I also checked and made sure the day I picked didn’t clash with any other local library and playgroup story times. Thirdly (and i think this is really what’s keeping my regulars coming back), I started to include crafts.
Crafts are brilliant I’ve found and really add something to a story time. I love that part of my job is introducing my youngest readers to playing with books and crafts I’ve found are a great way to do just that; messing about with books, pictures and characters. Some of the crafts I’ve done have genuinely been the best fun I’ve had all week and I can see that the kids have loved them too (and even some of the parents!). What started out as the occasional craft very quickly became a staple part of my story times and there’s no way I’d go back to a story time without one.
Now picking a craft is a little tricky. I get kids turning up for story time who are aged anywhere between 18 months and 4 years old, so I have to pick things that are safe and doable for all ages pre-school. I also can’t pick anything too wet since my story time is only half an hour long and I’m not in a position where I can leave gluey or wet crafts to dry before they’re taken home. So, dry crafts it is, or at least easily transportable ones.
So, there you have it! BooKa Uhu’s Story Times! Its all very well my telling you all this though, what you’re really interested in are what stories I’m using and what my story timers are making. One of the things I’ve found whilst story timing is that you are always on the lookout for new ideas and new stories to try. Well, starting this week I shall show you my ideas and, in the spirit of librarianship and proper referencing, I shall show you where I’ve got my ideas from too (since creative I may be but I’m not going to lie and say I got all the craft ideas from my head). First up this week – Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman!