I did one theme each week, and most weeks, the theme was the same for K-5, even though the books and what we did were vastly different for each grade level. I used this theme when creating book displays as well.
AN OPENING SONG
I used the same opening song each week. I used the ABC song in sign language at the beginning of every story time, and yes, the kids learned to sign it, too. After signing the alphabet song once a week for the whole school year, most students could at least recognize most of the signs by June. Many could sign the whole alphabet by then.
In addition to the ABC song, I also taught the students at least one ASL sign to go with the story. No, I am not a sign language expert by any means. Each week, I also researched and taught myself the signs. Sign language books were very popular in my library!
A FICTION AND NON-FICTION PAIRING
It is critical that children learn from a young age how to differentiate fiction and non-fiction, yet many children struggle with it. We discussed the differences between fiction and non-fiction every single week through my fiction and non-fiction pairings. Even though it only took a minute or two every week, by the end of the year, even the youngest kindergartener knew the difference.
Let’s face it; this is how today’s kids learn. I was very lucky to have a retractable screen and computer projector in my libraries, and I used them every day. If you do not yet have this technology in your library, it will obviously be very tough to use multimedia resources in your storytimes. If you have it, however, I strongly advise you to make good use of it. Current technology is one of the best tools we have as educators today.
A CLOSING SONG
Get your class lined up, hugging their books, calm and quiet and ready to walk down the hall–all in 45 seconds! My closing song was “Hug, Hug, Hug Your Books.” Seriously, give it a try. It works!!!