Song: If You Want to Know an Answer

If You Want to Know an Answer is a good opening song especially when you want to emphasize what we can learn from factual books. You can substitute words to emphasize any aspect of learning. Song: If You Want to Know an Answer (tune:  If You're Happy & You Know It) If you want to know an answer, read a book! If you want to know an answer, read a book! If you're wondering where the moon goes; If you're wondering how the grass grows; If you want to know an answer, read a book!

If you'd like to learn to draw, read a book! If you want to learn to draw, read a book! If you'd like to draw a dog, Or a frog sitting on a log; If you'd like to learn to draw, read a book!

If you'd like to learn to bake, read a book! If you'd like to learn to bake, read a book! If you'd like to make some candy, Or a pizza that is dandy; If you'd like to learn to bake, read a book!

Early Literacy Aside--Explain--Background Knowledge:  Factual books offer many opportunities to add to children's knowledge based on their interests. Sharing factual books not only helps children learn about the world around them, but also will help them later understand what they read. In today's storytime, I'll be pointing out different ways to share factual books and information with children.

Sequence Cubes

Storytime Activity: The cubes shown here are made from 6” x 6” packing boxes. There are 6 sequences per cube, one for each side of the cube. You can see here a sequence of three for caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly and from pumpkin to carving a jack-o-lantern face, to the finished jack-o-lantern.To play, each family or small group gets three cubes as a set. A child rolls a cube and describes the picture. If the child is unable to respond, the adult helps the child reply or labels the picture with one word. Next, different people in the group look for other items in the sequence on the remaining two cubes. [For easier sequences use only two items, for harder sequences use four or more cubes.] Early Learning Aside: Talking about sequences, first, second, third, what happens next supports scientific and mathematical thinking with this cube activity. In this case we will be playing with sequences of three, three in a row. Talk together about the pictures and what pictures make sense to be in the sequence. Then line up the cubes in a row in order from left to right. [Note that a 1, 2, 3, sequence could be from less to more or more to less. It is still a sequence.] Continue the game as another person rolls a cube; repeat the process. Instructions to make and use the cubes:  cubesseq


Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino

Early Literacy Aside--Explain: In today's storytime  I will be pointing out ways you can support your children's background knowledge through talking about what is happening in a book and writing about it too. By asking children about the story, we help them thinking bout what is happening and help them better understand the story. 
Introduction: Our next book is Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino. There are two houses in this story, one for Rabbit and one for Owl and they get the two houses get too tall; they get very tall. In this story Rabbit and Owl have a problem. Let's see what that problem is and maybe you can give some suggestions on how to solve it.
Read the book to the page where Owl's house is blocking the sun that Rabbit needs for his garden, but Owl wants to see the forest. Ask an open-ended question such as "What do you think might happen?" "What do you think Rabbit and Owl could do solve their problem? Rabbit needs sun for his garden but his garden has grown tall and Owl wants to see the forest."
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Some stories, like this one,  really lend themselves to helping your children think about how to solve problems. Asking them to stop and think about possible solutions develops their thinking skills which also helps with understanding. Remember there is no one right answer. It is good for them to think about different possibilities.
Early Literacy Aside--Empower: In our storytime today we read the story Too Tall Houses. There are several ways Rabbit and Owl might have solved their problem. Have your children draw their own ending to the story and write down what they say. This activity combines writing with problem solving to make for better comprehension now and as they learn to read themselves.

17 Kings and 42 Elephants by Margaret Mahy

Introduction: Our next book is 17 Kings and 42 Elephants written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Patricia MacCarthy. Now we will take a journey into the jungle without even leaving the story room.  In this story there are some nonsense words—that means they are not real words, but are made-up words.  Listen carefully to try to figure out which are the nonsense words, but don’t tell.
Read the book. Go through the book and tell which are the nonsense words.  Ask the children what they think a couple of the nonsense words might mean. Talk about one of the real words and its meaning.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Talking about specific meanings of words strengthens your children's vocabulary which will help them understand what they later will read. Often times children have a general idea of what words mean but that benefit from an actual explanation. No need to do that with every unfamiliar word! Just pick out one or two or ask your child to pick out a word that sounds interesting and talk about its meaning. For a sound clip 17 Kings & 42 Elephants of an excerpt from the book said in a mesmerizing chant by Amy Alapati Submitted by Amy Alapati, Montgomery County (MD) Public Libraries engaging rhythm

Peanut & Fifi Have a Ball by Randall de Seve

Introduction: When we use books that are fun and use imagination, our children make a connection to the story. In Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball written by Randall de Seve and illustrated by Paul Schmid, Peanut has a new ball and Fifi tries so hard to get her to play.  Watch how this story uses a simple item and adds imagination.
Read the book.
Activity: Act out the story.
Early Literacy Aside--Example: Acting out the story, dramatic play, reinforces both the story itself and the pleasure about the story. By internalizing the story, they are better able to understand it.
Early Literacy Aside--Empower:  I hope you'll encourage playing with stories at home as well. Take a box, ruler, blanket, ball, or many other simple items and use make believe to encourage play.  Other books that work with Play and imagination are Not a Box and Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis.  After playing with a simple item, you can always expand on this play by having your child draw something they did, dictate a story about their play, or just describe what they did with the item.  Using writing to expand on the story validates your child’s play. Talking about and recording the story,  going over the sequence is uses their narrative skills which helps your child learn how stories work by using first, next, and last. Submitted by Dianna Burt, Allen County (IN) Public Library

Belling the Cat with Finger Puppets

Our next story is Belling the Cat, based on an Aesop fable. What do you know about cats and mice? Yes, cats like to chase mice. Cats like to eat mice. Let's see what these mice do about the cat.Use the handout below to tell the story and to pass out to families so that they can retell the story at home.
Early Literacy Aside--Empower: Having your children retell stories is one good way for them to learn about how stories work. It's also a lot of fun. They can also try drawing and writing the story, adding their own ideas. Enjoy! Belling the Cat story and handout: bellingcat

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins Handout

Introduce the book The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. Have children repeat the phrase "No one makes cookies like Grandma."
Read the book. Count the cookies on one plate as more children arrive. Early Literacy Aside--Empower: The kitchen is a great place for activities around counting and measuring whether you use recipes or not. A “handful” is a measurement! How does the amount in your handful compare to the amount in your child’s handful? The bathtub is another great place to play with measurement, pouring water from one container to another. I have a handout here to go with The Doorbell Rang. You and your children can cut out the twelve cookies and plates and see how the cookies are divided as more children come. Handout:  doorbellranghandout

Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson Handout

Read the book The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson. Have participants join in with the repeated phrase "but the cow loves cookies."
Early Literacy Aside--Empower: At the end of storytime pass out the attached handout. Tell the adults they can cut out the pictures with their children and play different games.  Children can match the animals to what they eat. Use the pictures to help children retell the story, too! Young children can say the sounds of the animals. Have children say the repeated phrase “but the cow loves cookies.” Older children can retell the story using the pictures to remember the order. All these are steps to help your children retell stories and help them understand how stories work which will later make it easier for them to understand what they are reading. Handout: cowlovescookies

Joseph Had an Overcoat by Simms Taback

Read book:  Joseph Had an Overcoat by Simms TabackHave children say the repeated phrase, "But it got old and worn."
Retell with flannel board: Now let's do the story on the flannel board. What happened first?
Early Literacy Aside--Empower: [As you give out the handout] I have a handout for you today for Joseph Had an Overcoat. It is the same pattern that I used for the flannel board. You can cut out the pieces and have your children retell the story. As you have your children retell other stories too, using props can help them remember what comes next. For your younger children who may not be able to retell stories, they can repeat a word or perhaps a phrase. These are all activities that will later help your child understand how stories work and also help them understand what they read. Pattern for flannel board and handout:  josephovercoathandout


Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree Song

Preparation: Use a crocodile hand puppet and five monkeys that can be removed from a glove puppet. If you have a tree prop, like one for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, place monkeys on the tree.Children count and snap. Children of all ages enjoy the rhythm/chant of the song and the snapping. Adults with babies can gently give them a surprise snap with a big smile. Toddlers and preschoolers count and like the repetition.

Five little monkeys sitting in a tree   (Hold up five fingers and bounce hand up and down) Teasing Mr. Crocodile, teasing Mr. Crocodile (Wave fingers forward) Can’t catch me; can’t catch me. (Shake head no.) Along comes Mr. Crocodile as quiet as can be. (Whisper with index finger over nose and mouth.) And SNAPS that monkey out of the tree!

To make this rhyme more interactive between adults and children, when you repeat it, have the adult be the five little monkeys, holding up one hand. The child is the crocodile making a mouth with one hand. Optional: Reverse roles.

Early Literacy Aside--Example: In this rhyme, we are counting backwards with our children in a fun way. Counting is part of learning concepts which support your child's background knowledge.


Submitted by Katie Rinenbach, Bucks County (PA) Public Library

Elmer by David McKee Craft

Extension Activity: Elmer PuppetHand out elephant cut outs on white card stock and colorful construction paper squares to glue to the elephant or crayons to color the elephant. They then glue a popsicle stick to the back. Encourage children to describe what they made and to retell the story using their puppet. Adults with babies can make a colorful elephant to move in front of their babies’ eyes and talk about the shapes and colors.

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: Adults as you play with your children or make crafts with them, try to use a word they are less familiar with. Children learn words best through their experiences, not by memorizing words. You might use less familiar words for colors, like fuschia or magenta, or perhaps the way the elephant is walking, lumbering slowly along. You have many opportunities throughout the day to build your children’s vocabulary. It is these little things you do over and over again that make a difference.

Submitted by Katie Ringenbach, Bucks County (PA) Public Library

There Were Ten in the Bed by Annie Kubler or Five Little Monkeys

Extension Craft Activity: Five in the BedHand out half-sheet of construction paper cut lengthwise and figures for children to decorate. Younger children glue five figures in the bed; older children decorate with more detail. Each child also gets a brad so that they can rotate their figures onto and out of the bed as in the book/song.

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: Adults, your children are not only using their art to reinforce retelling the story There Were Ten in the Bed we read today, but also to reinforce our early literacy skill.  Singing is a great way to support phonological awareness in that it slows down the words and gives a different note to each syllable, so today’s activity is a 2 for 1!


Submitted by Katie Ringenbach, Bucks County (PA) Public Library

What! Cried Granny by Kate Lum

Early Literacy Aside--Explain: Our early literacy tip today is on print motivation, your children's enjoyment of books and reading. Children who have had positive experiences around books and reading before going to school are more likely to stick with learning to read even if it is difficult. I'll be pointing out some ways to make booksharing enjoyable in today's storytime. Book and flannel board: What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story by Kate Lum is our next book. It's about a boy who is having a sleep-over at his grandmother's house. Let's see what happens when he tries to get the things he needs to go to sleep. Granny is often surprised and says in a loud voice,

  "What!" Let me hear you all say that. You can join in as we go through the story.

Early Literacy Aside--Example: There are many ways to have children participate in stories as we read together. Having them participate as we read the story helps them enjoy the story more.

Submitted by Katie Ringenbach, Bucks County (PA) Public Library  



Little Red Hen Handout

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: In our storytime today, we read the story of the Little Red Hen by Byron Barton. Your children also retold the story with me on the flannel board. In today's handout I have the repeated phrases and the order of what the little red hen did. There are also boxes for your children to draw the animals. You can cut them out and have the children retell the story for you. For your younger children, they can say the words "Not I" or say the sounds of the animals. Having your children retell stories helps them understand the story better and helps them learn how stories work. Enjoy!Handout: lrhenhandout

Rock a Bye Baby

Song as lead in to book: Rock a Bye Baby[Adults rock baby back and forth] Rock a bye baby on the tree top, When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, And I'm there to catch you, cradle and all.

Early Literacy Aside--Example: When we sing to babies, they hear language slowed down which makes it easier for them to hear the sounds in words. Even thugh we may not sing to our children for this purpose, it is the beginning of helping them to later sound out words when they later learn to read.

Jane Klein, Chester County (PA) Library System

Night/Noche Storytime Handout

Early Literacy Aside--Empower: I have a handout for you on the topic of our storytime today--night. It has some book titles which I have also displayed here.  I hope you'll like the suggestions of ideas and techniques you can do with your children at home to help develop their pre-reading skills, just as you saw me do in the storytime. You are with your children more often than I am so you have many opportunities to use some of these ideas. Let me know which ideas you enjoy doing with your children.Storytime Handout for storytime on the theme of Night/Noche Handout in English  Nighthandoutkc Handout in Spanish  Nochehandoutkc

Submitted by Katie Cunningham

Ideas que  le ayudarán a fomentar la alfabetización temprana en casa:  Al final de este parrafo encontrará un folleto con el tema de la noche. El folleto habla de algunos libros que también se presentan aquí.  Espero que estas ideas y técnicas le ayuden en casa a sus ninos a desarrollar las habilidaes necesarias para que puedan aprender a leer, así como lo ha visto en nuestra hora de cuentos.  Usted pasa mas tiempo consus hijos del que ellos pasan conmigo, así es que tendrá muchas oportunidades de usar algunas de estas ideas.

Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern


Empower Aside: I have a handout for you related to the book we did with a flannel board today in storytime, Too Much Noise. Using little cues like the flannel board pieces can help your children retell the story. The handout has squares where your children can draw in the animals, you can cut them out and then retell the story together. Your youngest children can say the animal sounds, slightly older children can say the names of the animals and perhaps repeat the words "too noisy" and your preschoolers can try retelling the whole story. All of these are stages in helping your children develop narrative skills which will help them later understand what they read and how stories work. Enjoy!Handout for Too Much Noise:  multsttoomuchnoise


Five Scrumptious Cookies

We sing this song after reading Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza. The first time you come to the word scrumptious, add the words delicious or yummy. [If you prefer you can tlak about the word scrumptious before starting the book.]Early Literacy Aside--Example: When a book has a word that is unfamiliar to your child, this is a great opportunity to build vocabulary. Don't replace the word with a simpler one, just explain it briefly. Books have rich language, more unusual words than we use in daily conversation. Five Scrumptious Cookies Five scrumptious cookies in the baker’s shop Big and round with some sugar on top Along came a boy with a penny to pay Who bought a scrumptious cookie and took it away.

Four scrumptious cookies . . . Three scrumptious cookies . . . Two scrumptious cookies . . . One scrumptious cookie . . . No scrumptious cookies . . . Big and round with some sugar on top No one came with a penny to pay. So close the baker’s shop and have a baking day.

Llama, Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney

Read Llama, Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney.Point out some word pairs that rhyme, such as boat and moat. Ask children what other words rhyme with boat (they don't have to make sense). Early Literacy Aside--Example: Helping children hear words that rhyme is one way to help them hear the smaller sounds in words which will then later help them sound out words. storytimehandoutlorenasearsPA Early Literacy Aside--Empower: I have a handout for you with suggestions for some rhyming games and ways to help your children hear the smaller sounds in words. Lorena Sears, F D Campbell Memorial Library (PA)