Storytimes: To Theme or Not To Theme

May 22, 2018

 

There are so many lovely blogs and Pinterest boards about themed storytimes, complete with books, fingerplays that fit the theme, a freshly made flannel story, and of course a craft.

 

If that’s your style as a storytime provider, more power to you! But it isn’t mine, and as I’ve settled into my personal style doing storytime, I find myself letting go of this expectation that I should have a perfect coherent theme. In fact, I’ve been seeing a lot of advantages to NOT having a theme.

 

Repetition

 

We all know that little kids benefit from repetition! Freeing myself from themes makes it easier for me to repeat the same song for several weeks in a row. For instance, I did “The Beanbag” three weeks running so that the tots could have a chance to improve and practice.

 

Avoiding the Blank Stare

 

You can find adorable themed action rhymes and fingerplays for all kinds of fingerplays. Two Little Penguins. I’m a Little Robot, to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot. If those work for you, great! Enjoy!

 

But when I’ve tried these, I get blank stares. The parents aren’t participating. The kids aren’t participating. We slip into a reality in which I am a performer and they are the audience. I get the best involvement from songs and rhymes that parents are likely to have heard before. The Itsy Bitsy Spider seems to give them confidence. I have also been successful teaching easy rhymes like Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon. There is a quick payoff (blastoff!) and it’s easy to learn. But again, it takes repetition to learn.

 

Instead: Loose Connections

 

For me, it works better to make looser connections between the elements in my storytime. It could be a feeling, like being brave; an activity, like searching; a concept, like colors or counting; or pretty much anything. (“That was a silly book! Let’s do a silly song!”)

 

I generally choose 2 books that have a loose connection with each other, like a nonfiction book about tractors paired with Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri (both on a farm) and then fill in some familiar songs and rhymes and a flannel or glove story that I could sell as being connected.

 

 

 

What’s your storytime style? Do you create Pinterest-worthy themes, loose themes or no themes? Let’s talk about it on our Facebook page.

 

Please reload

Recent Posts

March 26, 2020

January 13, 2020

December 23, 2019

Please reload

Search By Tags