May is probably my favorite month of the year. I LOVE getting to help with summer reading school visits and doing storytimes with some older kiddos! This year I got to partner with my buddy Tanya to promote our upcoming summer reading program, “Choose Your Library Adventure.”
After welcoming the groups and introducing ourselves, I like to start with a Library vs. Non-Library Object Sort. Pulling props out of my storytime bag is such a fun way to introduce the kids to what the library has to offer! Do you go to the library to see elephants? NO! Can you check out robots from the library? YES! They’re always so surprised!
After giving the summer reading program rundown, we split into two groups. Half the kiddos headed on a library tour, and half the group stayed with me for storytime. Here’s the basic storytime outline I used with the kindergarten groups this year:
- Talk: What did you learn this year?
- Read: First Book
- Write: Finish the Drawing
- Play: Going on a Dragon Hunt Flannel
- Sing: Everybody Have a Seat
- Read: Second Book (if time allows)
- Switch Groups
After we split into groups, I invited the kinders to share what they learned this year. I asked them if they knew their ABC’s and got the biggest “Duh” look ever. So we sang the ABC song… and then I challenged them to sing the ABC’s to some different tunes! Mel has a must-read post about the early literacy benefits of singing the ABC’s in a different way over at Mel’s Desk. I also recommend practicing ahead of time with Jbrary’s ABC’s to 5 Different Tunes video.
Gosh golly, those kinders nailed it! Since they knew so much about the alphabet, I asked if they could help me read one of my favorite alphabet/nearly wordless picture books:
Those little smarties did a great job narrating, too! Since they were so good at telling stories, we wrote one of our own. We started with the number 3 and ended up with a long story (with a very long title) about the biggest butterfly ever. This class was ON IT – they were so imaginative and had a great grasp of story structure!
“The Butterfly Who Used to Be Big
and then Got Little and then Got Big Again“
Once upon a time there was a giant butterfly who was bigger than all the others. This made him HAPPY because big is beautiful and powerful and strong. But then there was an evil scientist who zapped the big butterfly with a shrinking gun and made him small. He was so small he was miniscule! None of his brothers and sisters could see him any more, he was so small. So he went to a wizard’s house. The wizard said a spell three times – “Magic, magic, make you big again!” The butterfly got big and beautiful again and they all lived happily ever after.
We had a really interesting discussion afterwards, too, about how titles usually tell you a *little* bit about the book but not the whole story. One kiddo rightly pointed out that the book we just read together had a long title. We went back and decided that The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s the Hard Way IS indeed a really long title, AND it doesn’t tell you how the story ends. Eventually we reached group consensus on a somewhat shorter title for our big butterfly story. 🙂
Then we went on a big adventure – dragon hunting!
This time around, I asked the kindergartners if they knew the days of the week. Of course they did – and of course they knew a song about them, too!
After singing about the days of the week, we read Dragons Eat Noodles on Tuesdays. I’ve been dying to try this new book on some school-agers ever since it came out. They loved it! I recommend practicing reading aloud beforehand so you don’t lose track of the different voices. It’d also make a great buddy read if you have a partner.
Since they knew so much about what makes a good story, we told our own! This time I started with a 7 and asked what it could be. Almost all the kids thought literally – a 7, an unfinished 8, a 17 missing the number one. I encouraged them to think about what else it could be – could it be an animal or a place or something else?
The first class told a short morality tale about a slice of pizza left unattended on a plate (because the boy is too busy on his cell phone). Then the pizza got eaten by a dragon. The boy heated up another slice of pizza in the microwave and learned that he should pay more attention.
The second class told a story about a giant bird who was trying to find friends. But everytime she found people, they screamed and ran away. This made the giant bird very sad and she cried. A little bird flew by and asked why she was sad. The giant bird said, “No one wants to be my friend.” The little bird said, “I will be your friend!” And they were friends and lived happily ever after. At one kindergartner’s suggestion, I drew a thought bubble where they imagined all the flying adventures they would have together.
I had the most time with these classes, so after writing our own stories and Going on a Dragon Hunt, we got to read another book. These fearless kindergarten kiddos weren’t scared of dragons… but maybe they would be scared of The Giant Jumperee! They loved using their scary, ominous voices to say the monster’s refrain with me and the twist ending.
When one kiddo shared that they learned how to read this year, I asked the whole class to help me read the cover of I Will Not Eat You. We talked about what kinds of creatures live in caves and made predictions. Most kiddos figured it was a bear… spoiler alert: it’s a dragon!
This book was the perfect set up for Going on a Dragon Hunt. After making it safely back to the castle, I asked the kiddos to help me read the title of another book – BOO! We tried to guess what could have scared Mouse. Maybe a cat? A mouse trap? A spider? They loved guessing who was creeping up next and shouting “Boo!” while we read.
We didn’t have enough time to write our own story, so instead we sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” with additional verses about different feelings – mad, sad, scared, etc.
And that’s a wrap! What books did you bring out for summer reading this year? What are your favorite tried and true titles with school-agers? Have any school visit tips and tricks? Would love to learn more in the comments below!