In a semi recent Storytime Underground facebook page post someone mentioned about asking their storytime group for suggestions on books or themes… I got to thinking about doing something similar and realized that without a doubt, hands down, the most asked for topic would be Unicorns! So I decided to plan a Unicorn Storytime! I announced the theme the week before (which I never do) so that the big die hard unicorn fans would know to come, and many even came wearing unicorn themed clothes or with their unicorn stuffed animals!
Unicorn Picture Books
*also let this be known, this is my official call for more picture books featuring unicorns!*
Unicorn Think’s He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Brigette Barrager
I Wished for a Unicorn by Robert Heidbreder and Kady MacDonald Denton
Unicorn Extension Activities
Actually… I couldn’t find/come up with any great Unicorn songs or rhymes so we just did our basic Goldfish Song and Icky Sticky Bubble Gum!
If this didn’t fall the week after ALA Midwinter I might’ve prepared a much cooler craft BUT, I think we did alright with some last minute planning. I printed off two unicorn coloring sheets, added the traceable text on the bottom, and set out markers, crayons, glue, ribbon, scissors, and GLITTER! One of the skills I try to work in at least once a month in storytime is scissors so for this one they were able to cut little pieces of ribbon for their Unicorn’s mane. The glitter was just because it was unicorn storytime and can you REALLY have an authentic unicorn storytime without glitter?
All in all this was a great storytime, despite very few options that I could find for book choices and songs. Many of them loved that storytime centered around one of their favorite things and they got to tell me about the unicorn stuffed animals they have at home!
I am so so so excited (and honored!) to have been asked to be a part of the ‘Babies Need Words Every Day’ blog tour. To view the other rockstar blogging librarians (seriously, how did I get so lucky to get in this mix!?) on the blog tour click here! Babies Needs Words is an ALSC initiative focused on bridging the 30 Million Word Gap. It includes 8 beautiful posters that promote four early literacy practices: talk, sing, read, play! In addition to the FREE posters it includes a downloadable book list and a media kit.
I am so excited to share with you this poster that promotes reading!
Before my tiny tots storytime we have 15 minutes of play time & so I decided to put the poster on our toy tubs:
Having something different on the tubs attracted a lot of curious looks and the parents all noticed the posters during playtime. I hadn’t thought of putting anything on the tubs in the past but I may switch out each of the different posters ever month or so for something new to look at that includes a new early literacy tip!
Reading, in a library!?
Reading may seem like a no-brainer in a library, but I think the biggest way we can promote this early literacy practice is being great models for parents. Many that come to my tiny tots storytime mostly come for the social aspect of it & to get their baby around other tiny humans. And then while they are here I surprise them with some early literacy tips and they go home with things they can practice outside of the library.
I hear quite often from new parents that they don’t even realize that reading to their baby is beneficial… sure, they sing and talk to their newborn but reading!? They can barely even sit up– what good is a book going to do!? When we read stories in storytime I share an early literacy tip about how to read to baby and let them know that it is completely okay to not finish a book.
Each storytime includes a choral reading of a board book. As we are passing out the books I mention that if your little one is near you and looking at the pages to point to each word as we say it, or the pictures in the story.
Depending on how the group is I also read a big book. Sometimes with the big book I will ask questions and point to the pictures. This helps the caregivers realize that the book can be a conversation– we aren’t just reading the words and moving on.
Tips to promote Reading
In the first couple months, reading is a bonding experience. Snuggle in with baby and read a story that you loved yourself when you were a child. (True story: We have a dad who is reading his newborn The Hobbit, because he loves The Hobbit and they snuggle and baby usually falls asleep but zomg they are bonding SO MUCH)
Soon, baby will be able to enjoy looking at the pictures in the story. Pick a high contrast book or one with fun textures.
When baby is able to sit up and hold things, have board books around the house. Point to the pictures in the book and name them.
As you share stories, point to the words on the pages. This will help them realize that the words you are saying are those weird black squiggles they see on the page.
Read often and read stories you yourself enjoy. It is okay to not finish a book or only read a few pages at a time.
Picture books have a lot of unique language that we don’t always use in our day-to-day! These unique words helps build a strong vocabulary which then makes your tiny human more ready for school, helps them be a rockstar in school, graduate at 12, go on to MIT or something, and become the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Really. Just from reading Moo Baa La La La.
One again, I am so honored to be a part of the Babies Need Words Blog Tour. Go check out all of the amazing resources ALSC has to offer. Seriously. They have this Press Release that all you have to do is insert your Library’s Name and then send it to local organizations to try and see if they will display the posters! Not only is this a great way to promote early literacy in your library (more so than you already are) but it can be a huge community partnership!! The Letter to the Editor that they include has the biggest mic drop I’ve seen when it comes to early literacy:
By participating in the Babies Need Words Every Day campaign, we can work together to build a healthy, sustainable community in one of the most high-impact and cost-effective ways: by investing in its youngest members.
So yea, check out everything there is to offer– and share how you plan to use Babies Need Words in your library!