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Themes for Storytime

Page history last edited by Jane McManus 3 years, 9 months ago

To use a theme or NOT to use a theme--that is the question?  See also PINTEREST for specific Storytime themes. See also: Jbrary for this subject.


All songs, fingerplays, and ideas are used for educational purposes only and not for profit. Where possible, authors are noted.

Themes are a great way to organize your materials:



From a PUBYAC contributor: 

At first I didn't think I would like it, but a colleague told me once to not do themes. I thought she was crazy and that it would make planning a lot harder, but in fact the opposite was true. Now I find my storytimes to be more interesting for me and the crowd. I just pick three or four books that look fun and interesting each week and we have a ton of fun in storytime. For years I did themes and I found myself "settling" occasionally for a book I didn't really love just because it fit the theme. I also thought the preschoolers and toddlers would not like the lack of a theme, but they don't even seem to notice and I actually think they have more fun now than before. Plus, I always try to incorporate some of the same things (colors, numbers, body parts, animal sounds and names, etc.) into every storytime and every book. For example, every story time I ask them to tell me the color and sound of certain objects in a book: "What color is that dinosaur? And what does a dinosaur say?" So, one storytime theme could actually be colors, but just in that you are focusing on the colors of things in the stories.Anyway, I have found that losing the theme has really loosened up my storytimes. I can now use any songs and fingerplays I feel like, without worrying that they don't match the theme. So liberating!!


Another point of view, from a PUBYAC contributor, (4-30-2010):

One of the best ways to get interesting themes is by not thinking of the theme first. Try planning several storytimes at once. For the book part, gather together a lot of books making sure all of them meet these criteria: 

1. YOU like them; 

2. You think the children will like them;  

3. Books are appropriate for the age level that the storytime is targeted to; 

4. They work well in a group.

Then, start grouping them, long/short, quiet/active, something you may have a puppet or flannel board for, maybe a big book, for older/younger. THEN, look at one pile at a time and think--what could be my theme for this one? One thing that might help--think verbs, not just nouns. If you can't think of a specific theme, you can have Librarian's Favorites. Themes serve a couple of purposes:

1. For publicity, distinguishing one storytime from another; 

2. To help us focus among the hundreds of books to choose from;

3. Talking point thread throughout the storytime, a link for both us and the participants.




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