Storytime Spotlight: Going Places (Family Time)

Inspired by Jbrary’s recent post on Storytime Themes vs. Storytime Flow, I’ve been challenging myself to start with a book and go from there. When you start with a book, it’s much easier to include picture books with diverse representation. Plus, it allows me more room to breathe! Creative freedom! More flexibility and spontaneity in the moment! Anyways, it’s been working so well and the kids seem to really enjoy it, too.

When I saw the reprint come out this year of Taro Gomi’s I Really Want to See You, Grandma, I just knew I had to read it in storytime. I guess if I had to give this storytime a theme, I’d loosely call it “Going Places.”


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*Sing: Bread & Butter

*Welcome & Set Expectations

*Sing: If You’re Ready for a Story

Read: I Really Want to See You Grandma by Taro Gomi

Our early literacy focus this month is all about concepts of print, so when I took the book out of my bag, I held it backwards. The kiddos quickly corrected me. Then I started at the front cover… but everything was upside down! They had a great time teaching me how to hold books, and I complimented them on how much they know about reading and how books work.

I Really Want to See You, Grandma is such a delightful book and the perfect choice for the mixed ages in my family crowd. It’s a sweet story about a granddaughter and grandmother who really want to see each other, but keep setting off at the same time and missing each other on the way. After reading, I asked the kiddos how Yumi and Grandmother could have solved their problem. Some kids suggested that one could have just waited at their house, and someone else suggested they could have called ahead!

That brought me to a timely rhyme I know about calling the doctor…

Fingerplay: 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Flannel: Signs

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I started by asking the crowd if they remembered who Yumi wanted to see in our story, and then I asked about the people they like to see and places they like to go. After the kiddos shared some connections, they helped me read popular signs from around town. Sharing the Museum of Nature & Science sign was a great move! I mentioned that they could free with their library card and had lots of interested caregivers after storytime.

Lit Tip: Environmental Print & Print Awareness

Grown-ups, the signs and labels and logos you see every day make a great bridge to reading! When you point out the words and letters you see on signs, like “Look! Target starts with T!” You help your child understand the connection between the words they HEAR and the print symbols they SEE. Understanding that those squiggly lines have meaning is a big step on the road to reading!

Flannel Story: The Three Billy Goats Gruff Go to Target

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Do you know who else likes to go to Target? The Three Billy Goats Gruff, of course! Since it’s summer, leg warmers are on sale for a steal of a deal! 🙂 Alas, along the way waits a big green troll as hungry as can be… who eats goats for breakfast, dinner and tea!

Before launching into our story, I slipped in some math and asked the children to tell me which goat was the largest and the smallest. Which goat do you think is the oldest? How can you tell?

Grown-ups and kiddos alike LOVED this story. They really got into the refrain! After the story, I asked the kids how could the goats get home across the river without using the bridge, so they don’t run into the troll again. Ideas ranged from swimming, swimming very fast, calling for air support, and taking a boat. Which of course is what I was hoping to hear, since it was the perfect set up for our final song!

Math Message: Problem-Solving

Grown-ups, so often when we think of math, we think of counting. But math is so much more! Problem-solving is a big part of math and life. When you ask your child to help you think about solving problems, like asking “We have 5 people eating dinner, how many plates should we put out?”, you’re helping them build important math and life skills!

Sing: Row, Row, Row Your Boat (stretchy band)

Our boat ride was so gentle we lay back and fell asleep at the oar! What happened next? Just your typical ocean adventure… getting lost, going over a waterfall, landing on a volcanic island, getting chased and eventually eaten by sharks… (why do kids always want to get eaten by sharks? If you know, please share!)

Learning Through Play


*Please visit this page to learn more about my regular storytime songs and routines.

My fondest storytime memory of the year so far! This really felt like a long conversation continuously flowing between all of us. Everyone was engaged and laughing and having a good time and it was beautiful.

Want to Go Places with your storytime families? My boss over at Mel’s Desk has a fantastic No-Prop No-Book No-Sweat Storytime Post that I highly recommend for further inspiration! Check it out here.

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