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Storytime Guidelines (Librarians)

Page history last edited by Jane McManus 2 years, 2 months ago


Most storytimes are a combination of books, fingerplays, poems, songs, and flannel board stories.The important element to remember is that this is your presentation and you should be comfortable with it. I can't stress enough that each presenter has their own style. Look to others if you're feeling overwhelmed, storytime should be fun for all, both presenter and children. Seasoned librarians, is there anything missing under the individual issues? Please add any information you think might be helpful for a new librarian.

see alsoStorytime Planning


Preparation Issues:

Registration - yes or no?                             Cost  

Age restriction                                             Staffing

Why do storytime?                                      Volunteers

Parent involvement                                     Room Set Up

Size of group                                              Residency restrictions

Number of sessions?                                  Separate 3 and 4 year olds?

Presenting holiday programs                     Expectations of parents to know

What to put in intro letter                          Story hour cards

Publicity                                                      Displays of related material

Outreach - for whom?                                Scheduling non-traditional times

Location                                                     Competition of other community events

Themes                                                      Parent activity during storytime

Preparation of materials                           

Name tags                                                 If registering, once or twice a year?

To craft or not to craft                              Summer programs

Snacks                                                       Are handouts provided?

Drop people who don't attend                 Use of props

Time                                                          Space

How to handle special needs                   Dealing with disruptive children       

How late in session do you accept new people


Content Issues:

Opening and closing rituals                    Mascot

Music/Songs                                           Age appropriateness

Holiday themes                                       Dealing with age span

Realia                                                       Including outside groups

Finger plays                                             Length

Books                                                      Educate or entertain?

Flannel boards                                        Time for each component                 

Themes                                                         Exercises

Stories you draw                                     Sequence of elements

Paper stories/cut out stories                    Connectors

String stories                                          Something for parent

Handouts                                               Poetry

Currency of materials                           Developmental stages

Storytelling vs. story reading                Multiple Intelligences         


Sensory Storytime                                  

Repetition of Elements                                                            


Actual Presentation:

Parent and other siblings                  Children not willing to come in

Use of carpet squares                        Children wanting to leave during session

Floor or chair                                     Child bring his/her items in

Addressing lateness                          Repeating books

Dealing with disruptions                     Discipline

Individual involvement                     Flexibility

How to read aloud                               Parents knowing what to expect

How to hold book/turn pages           Placement in room

Intro/summary of books                   Failure of books/having alternative titles

Stretching/circle time                          Use of voice for characters

How to control chatting                      Reading aloud skills

Rules                                                  Wrapping up a book at end

Asking "right" questions                    Time for sharing                          

Are kids aware of the theme?           Language

Read title, author, dedication           Techniques for getting kids back into story

Stamps on hands                              Pronouncing author's name/characters

Repetition                                            Early Childhood Literacy Tips

Presentation for a Crowd

Balance of Books:                              How to tell parents:

* Has definite plot and action           * Child isn't ready for attending

* Explores idea or mood                    *About disruptive behavior

* Is participatory


Evaluation & Follow-up:

Hand in or keep name tags

Storage of materials         

Parents wanting to borrow books

List of stories                              

Survey at end of session

List of materials used (for parents)                 

Finger plays/lesson plans for kids to take

Selecting books with children after storytime

Acknowledge children outside of library

Displays of related materials

Information on group - how to keep


Seeing how kids pick up on suggestions

How to encourage parents to take books (vs. DVD's)

What's Next?






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