Tag Archives: preschool storytime

Friday Fun: The Preschoolers (and teachers) and I Read Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin

18 May

For your Friday entertainment, I recorded a class of preschoolers and their teachers reading Pete the Cat with me. They help out on the singing and with lots of the refrains. These teachers LOVE Pete and have shared him often with their students. They were excited to hear Eric Litwin’s new Pete the Cat story today, too, which we read before this one.

My favorite part, though, is near the end when a little boy comments on how his shoes are white like Pete’s.

Enjoy! I hope it makes you smile like it does me!

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Feelings! Whoa whoa whoa…!

26 Feb

If you sang along while reading that title, you are my new best friend. If not, well, I still like you, but you need to brush up on your cheesy pop tunes of the 70s.

Perfecting a storytime about feelings (or, if you’re fancy, emotions) has been challenging for me. Often the books for kids about

The original Grumpy Bird. From http://cutengrumpy.blogspot.com/

feelings are rather didactic and not so much fun to read. Same with the songs/fingerplays I’ve found. But I’ve whipped one up that seems to be holding on to the kids’ attention, so I thought I would share.

One of my favorite puppets, Frankie the small gorilla, starts things off (mostly because his hands are so big and cover his face adequately). He greets everyone and then covers his eyes. I ask what wrong, and he tells us he’s “feeling sad.” He doesn’t have a reason – he’s just sad. So we decide to read him some stories to try and cheer him up.

  • Willems, Mo. My Friend is Sad. The perfect book to show off your melodrama skills – Gerald the elephant alternately sighs, cries, and is finally euphoric at seeing his friend who has tried so hard to cheer him up.
  • Chodos-Irvine, Margaret. Best Best Friends. Mary and Clare are best BEST friends, until jealous rears its ugly head and makes Clare say things she regrets. But friends can, and do, get mad at each other and still be friends in the end.
  • Activity: “Feelings Faces”. The kids and I make our best sad, mad, scared, surprised, confused, and happy faces.
  • Menchin, Scott. Taking a Bath With the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy. Sweet Pea doesn’t have her smile, so she goes asking various random people and animals what makes them happy. The kids helped me by identifying on each page (based on picture clues) what it was that made that person/creature happy. Afterwards, if the group was small enough and there was time, we each named on thing that made us happy. Surprisingly few of the kids mentioned princesses and superheroes, but more often said things like “being with my mom” or “playing with my brother.” Made me happy just hearing them!
  • Tankard, Jeremy. Grumpy Bird. Holy guacamole, I love this book. Bird is grumpy — too grumpy to fly — so decides to take a walk. His friends come along, and invariably change his mood.
  • Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” I play this on the uke, and we get up and do the motions for various feelings:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re sad and you know it, say boo hoo (we also wipe our eyes)
If you’re mad and you know it, stomp your feet
If you’re scared and you know it, hide your eyes

Because I like happy best of all, we end by reprising clapping our hands, and maybe jumping up high, and shouting hooray. Yay!

Other books I might use if there’s time or I want to switch things up:

  • Rayner, Catherine. Augustus and His Smile/Augusto y su sonrisa. Augustus tiger has lost his smile. So he sets off on an adventure to find it! The illustrations are GORGEOUS, and it’s available in Spanish too!
  • Hodgkinson, Leigh. Smile! Sunny, like Augustus, has also lost her smile and sets out to find it. She discovers it when she’s not looking for it, but playing a game with the dog.
  • Verroken, Sarah. Feeling Sad. I love the woodcut illustrations, but I don’t think the kids loved this quite as much as I would have liked. It’s pretty low-key. But you might have the right group for it.
  • Emberley, Ed. Glad Monster, Sad Monster. I really wanted to make a felt board of this, but my program copies were out and I never got one in fromt the library! Bummer. Next time.
  • Bang, Molly. When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry. A Caldecott Honor Book!
  • Smith, Linda. Mrs. Biddlebox. If only we could all bake our bad day into a cake. Marla Frazee’s illustrations are glorious.

Hope this storytime puts you in a good mood!

We like to Rhyme! All the Time!

6 Mar

The past couple of years I’ve done a “rhyming books” storytime in the spring with my preschoolers. By spring, I figure, they’ve been in school long enough that some of the younger kids are starting to grasp the idea of a rhyme and the kindergarten-bound have a pretty good handle on rhymes. Either way, it’s a ton of fun, and there are so many great books to choose from. I posted on this a little over a year ago, and those books are still great choices, but lots of great new stories have come out since then and so it’s time to revisit!

I start with any puppet I haven’t yet used in storytime this year, and he introduces him/herself and says that he “likes to rhyme, all the time!” He will say another couple of rhyming phrases and then settle down to listen to the stories with us.

  • Wood, Audrey. Piggie Pie Po. This is a new title that I really like. There are lots of picture clues the kids get (they figured out the “can’t tie his shoes” in the second story) and the rhymes are silly and fun.
  • Flannelboard: “Oh me, oh my…” Words can be found on my previous rhyme storytime post.
  • Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Mad At Mama. Really, any Llama Llama title. I love the way Dewdney draws little Llama – so expressive. The kids can easily tell how he’s feeling!
  • Song: “Down By the Bay” by Raffi. I created a set of pages with the rhyming pairs in the story, using clipart images found online. I put the word for each underneath, to increase print awareness. We go over these picture/words once, without singing, so that we’re ready when they come up in the song. I found the chords for the song here, and it was an easy one to learn to play on the ukulele! The result:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/20717458″>Down By The Bay</a>

  • Thomas, Jan. Rhyming Dust Bunnies. I mean, OF COURSE! One of these days I’m going to pack some of my proliferate dust bunnies in a bag so I can show the kids what they are. Then they will not say “NO” when I ask if they have any in their houses!

Other rhyming titles I like:

Now it’s your turn. I want to learn!

What do you read, when rhyming books you need?

This storytime is a little fishy…

21 Feb

Okay, that was lame. I admit.

But yes, this is a storytime about fish. Or, more broadly, sea creatures. I start with my fish puppet hidden and ask the kids what animals live in the ocean. I get lots of suggestions before the fish comes out to “bloop bloop” his hello. And, we’re off swimming!

  • Diesen, Deborah. The Pout-Pout Fish. One of the reasons I love this book is for the performance opportunity it gives me.

    Let's go for a swim!

    The Pout-Pout fish sounds a bit like Eeyore, I think, and that’s how his voice comes out of me. Plus, the story is sweet.

  • Grace, Will. The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark. The kids recognize this as a variation of “The Three Little Pigs,” which is cool!
  • Flannelboard: “Five Little Sea Creatures” I substituted a crab for the lobster because that’s the pattern I had. The kids named all the sea creatures and helped with the counting.
  • Peck, Jan. Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea. As early literacy skills learning goes, this book is a winner. It’s repetitive, has opportunities for the kids to participate (by naming the sea creatures and “swimming away”), and is generally just all around fun.
  • Song: “Slippery Fish” – by Charlotte Diamond. Oh, we love this song! It’s silly and gets us all up and moving as we pretend to “swim” our hands like fish, wiggle our tentacles like octopus, and use our arms as a shark’s gaping jaws.

Other books I might substitute based on group’s mood/attention span or my boredom:

  • Blackstone, Stella. Secret Seahorse.  The kids look for the seahorse on each page and tell me where it is. They are not allowed to simply point and say “there!”; they have to describe it’s location with more vocabulary.
  • Cousins, Lucy. Hooray for Fish! “Spotty fish, stripy fish. Happy fish, gripy fish.” Hello, new vocabulary word! Easily deciphered as a synonym for grumpy based on the fish’s face.
  • Heck, Ed. Big Fish, Little Fish. The kiddos help “read” this one, as I read “big fish,” and they can easily recognize the refrain “little fish.” There are also lots of opposites.

Now I gotta get out of the water. My fingers are getting pruny.

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