One of my duties at the library is taking over the baby storytime, which is held Tuesday mornings at 9:30. I was strictly on observation for the first few weeks on the job, so I could get a sense of the rhythm before jumping right in. Part of that was also getting familiar with the Mother Goose on the Loose format, which is what my library uses for the babies.
Mother Goose on the Loose is a program defined by discrete sections, each one performing a different function (rhythm games, body rhymes, lullabies, etc.). It is also a program defined by repetition – it encourages you to repeat whole chunks or the entire program, as a way of reinforcing early literacy skills for the babies.
It is also completely different from any storytime format I’ve used before – that is, it’s different from the storytimes I was prepping and running as a library intern, when I designed and gave a new one three times a week. The repetition bit has been hard for me to grok, because I keep imagining the babies will get bored with the repeated material.
Can you tell I haven’t had a lot of experience with babies?
It didn’t take me long to realize that repetition is not only necessary but makes the program a lot more fun – we get maybe three or four (and on occasion as many as five) kids, aged infant to just under two years old. The parts of the storytime they get most excited about are the ones that are the same week after week – the scarf rhyme, in particular, is a big hit (click here for the full rhyme on my storytime wiki).
The repetition also makes planning easier on my end, since I started at the library in the middle of a storytime session (starting in January, I’ll be laying out my own plan from scratch). So all I have to do is pick a lullaby, shaker song, two books and a rhyme; the rest is the same every week. This week, I went with (stuff in bold are the parts I added):
Opening Song: Hello Everybody, Yes Indeed
Opening Rhyme: Knuckles Knees
Rhyme: I Had A Little Turtle
Book: Tiny Little Fly, Michael Rosen and illus. Kevin Waldron
Bounce Rhyme: See the Ponies
Book: Little Owl’s Night, Divya Srinivasan
Rhythm Game: This Old Man
Stand-Up Action: I’m A Little Teapot
Animal Rhyme/Fingerplay: Here Is The Beehive
Shaker Song: Popcorn, Barenaked Ladies (from the album Snacks)
Scarf Rhyme: Wiggle Waggle
Lullaby: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (from the album The Best of Wee Sing)
Closing Song: The More We Get Together
First impressions of the format…mostly I felt weird only reading two books. I also let first-time jitters get the best of me and completely forgot to do my turtle rhyme, and rushed other parts so I came in a few minutes under the time slot. Picking songs was another place I got tripped up, since I’d never done a storytime with recorded music before – turns out CDs can be sort of overwhelming to browse when you a.) don’t know what you’re looking for and b.) aren’t familiar with the track lists. But I had a ton of fun, and the babies had fun, and the parents were very involved, which always makes things more enjoyable.
I’m going to close this entry with the cutest library story I have so far:
The very first week I observed, the librarian doing the storytime read a book called Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins. It’s about a baby woodpecker learning how to peck for the first time, which results in holes all over the pages as he pecks his way through trees, doors, tables, clothes etc. The librarian tapped the page on the holes, and invited the kids who wanted to to come up and tap the pages as well. One kid in particular (we’ll call him John) had a lot of fun with the pecking, and kept pecking around the storytime room after the book was over.
The next week (and the week after, and the week after…) John came into the storytime room already pecking! The book really stuck with him – his mom commented that it was the first time she’d seen him show that kind of long-term memory about something. (He is also one of my “wiggle waggle” fans.)
Reading: Little Brother, Corey Doctorow
I finished Ender’s Game for my book club (I’ve read it before, but not for years), and it was most interesting for me to compare how I relate to Ender now versus how I related to him as a kid and a teen. Reading the book now, I felt heartbreakingly protective toward him. Still an eternal classic, no matter what my feelings about the author are.
Playing: Pokémon X, forever.
Seriously you guys, this game is so good – I’ve been playing Pokémon for fifteen years and this is the first time it’s felt like a fresh game. I especially love that leveling is easier, so I can rotate my team more and experiment with different ‘mons, as in the past I’ve very much felt that I had to carefully consider who I would keep with me, since once you got past level 50 the level grind became unbearable. The character animations are also stellar, and give the game as a whole more personality than ever.
Watching: Not Sleepy Hollow, since it’s on break for the next few weeks. 😥 OR American Horror Story: Coven, since I don’t get F/X anymore. :”( Getting caught up on Parks & Rec and New Girl. And starting Dracula tonight! I hope it’s as quality as Hannibal.