Storytime Spotlight: Facing Fears in Family Time (Twice!)

Oh hey, just here with another fun storytime post featuring monsters! I got a lot of mileage out of these materials – I ended up running through this storytime with five different groups at four different branches! Here’s how it went with my regular mixed-age Saturday storytimers and another Family storytime group at the same branch:


*Sing: Good Morning to You

Welcome & Set Expectations

*Sing: Roll the Ball

*Sing: If You’re Ready for a Story

Read: Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley or There’s a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher

I let my kiddos and caregivers vote between these titles. My Saturday storytimers wanted to read about the blue monster, and the group I subbed with on Monday wanted to read about the green one. When we read Go Away Big Green Monster, I changed the text a little bit to help build working memory. After shouting “Go away!” I turned the page and asked the kiddos what part of the monster disappeared.

Both of these books are so much fun and pair great with a literacy message about building print motivation by reading engaging, interactive books!

Lit Tip: Building Print Motivation by Reading Engaging Books

Grown-ups, I love both of these books because they’re so fun and interactive! Reading interactive books is a great way to get your kiddos interested in books and reading. Enjoying reading time and liking to explore books is important because learning to read is REALLY hard work! The more your kids like books, the more motivated they will be to learn how to read – and stick with it when learning how to read gets tough.

Since we voted, I took this opportunity to talk about the importance of choice as my literacy message for the other group:

Lit Tip: Choice and Print Motivation

Grown-ups, research shows that one of the best ways to get kids to love reading is to let them CHOOSE what they read. Enjoying reading time and books is important because learning to read is REALLY hard work! When you let your child choose which books you read together, even if it’s the same book over and over and over again, you help build that print motivation they need to learn how to read.

Play: Shape Monster (puppet)

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I encouraged the caregivers and kiddos to compare/contrast their shapes while passing them out. I had enough shapes for my Saturday adults to feed Shape Monster, too, which was great because they could model (especially for the kiddos who were hesitant to participate). Then we said this rhyme and waited to hear what Shape Monster was in the mood for:

Shape Monster

Shape monster, shape monster, munch, munch, munch!

What kind of shape would you like for lunch?

After shape monster revealed what they were hungry for, the kids held up the appropriate shapes and I came round the room to eat them (with much lip smacking and other noises of appreciation). I closed in on the last shape while humming the opening to Jaws. The kiddos had no idea what was going on but some of the adults got it and laughed. 🙂

Sing: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

My monster friend was rather full after eating all those shapes, so we sang them a lullaby and put them to bed. This was a great song to help us settle down after Shape Monster. Someone got everyone riled up by being silly and making the puppet burp. Among other antics. 😇

Write: Scary Things List

Both my storytime groups had nerves of steel! They weren’t scared of monsters at all. They were, however, scared of…

Giraffes ARE kind of freaky when you think about it, aren’t they? They’re so… elongated.

Read: Goodnight, Bob by Ann and John Hassett

This is one of my all-time favorite books to read aloud! The text is repetitious and simple and super easy for kiddos/caregivers to follow and join in. Somehow this story simultaneously pulls off suspenseful and funny, yet still has a gentle vibe.

Bob keeps seeing two eyes in his dark bedroom… but it’s just fish! Then cat. Then dog. Everyone just wants to wish Bob a goodnight, from the twinkling stars in the sky to the friendly Bigfoot waving at the window.

Sing: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes (scarves)

What did Bob do before bed? He brushed his teeth! He probably took a bath, too. We grabbed our towel scarves and washed off a few times. I’m not sure how clean we got when we sang really fast!

Sing: Sleeping Bunnies (scarves) or Popcorn Kernels (scarves)

With my Saturday group, we squeezed our towels dry. When we scrunched them into small balls, they became popcorn kernels. What?! I challenged the kiddos to try scrunching the scarves with one hand (and then the other hand). Kudos to my fabulous coworker Erin for this great fine motor idea!

With the Monday crowd, our towels turned into blankets after our bath and we became sleeping bunnies. And monster dinosaurs. Stomp stomp stomp.

Lit Tip: Play & Print Motivation

Grown-ups, one of the reasons we play so much in storytime is because we want reading to be a fun, positive experience! Learning to read is REALLY hard work. The more your child loves books and reading, the more motivated they will be to crack the code and stick with it when reading gets tough.

Learning Through Play


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

By the way, you can watch Tom Fletcher read There’s a Monster in Your Book here. It’s absolutely delightful! 😍 I love watching authors read their own books. I get such good read-aloud ideas from watching what they emphasize!

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