Story Time

A toddler and young child lying on the floor reading together

Join us January 6-April 17, 2020:

Outreach Story Time

In addition to these in-house story times, during the school year we also visit seven or more preschool and 4K classrooms per month to present story times.

Try This at Home

App Resources: A list of helpful links if you are looking for quality apps for your children, or if you have concerns about screen time.

Behavior in Story Time

How do we feel about behavior in story time? We strongly believe that story time is a great place to build social skills and prepare for school--and life in general. We understand that some children will want to run around and scream during story time, and others may want to cling to their caregiver's neck and never show their face. Story time is a great place to work on all kinds of social and educational skills. If you feel embarrassed by your child's behavior, please don't leave! Feel free to step outside for a moment if a child is very noisy, then come back in when we start up the next song or story. We don't expect children to be perfect. All we ask is that adults continue to work on behavior every week--reminding children to keep their voices quieter while stories are being read, or encouraging shy children to interact more as they feel comfortable. We do not expect a room full of perfectly-behaved children.

What We Do in Tues-Fri Story Time

Is your child a little nervous or shy about story time? We highly recommend the book "Music Class Today" by David Weinstone and Vin Vogel to give children an idea of the kinds of activities we might do in story time.

A typical story time runs 25-35 minutes and consists of stories, songs, a craft, and either a playtime or a short movie/app. We generally have 12-20 children attending for a total of 24-40 people in the room, but numbers can vary since we do not require registration.

We open the doors about five minutes before story time is set to begin. That way people have time to find a seat and get situated, but it is not so early that children get bored waiting for story time to start.

We create a semi-circle of rugs to indicate where people should sit. We may have more children than rugs; our apologies. We also have chairs behind the rugs for adults who prefer not to sit on the floor.

Story time begins with our Welcome Song, "The Story Time Train." We pass out toy train cars and sing a song to welcome each child. We can also skip the song if the child prefers. We want to make everyone feel comfortable, not force them to do something they don't want to do. When we have a big group this can take a long time, but it's an important part of story time--it helps us learn each other's names, as well as making every child feel special and welcome.

Next we typically sing a shaker egg song: either "I Know a Chicken" or "Wiggy Wiggy Wiggles." As we pass out and hand back the eggs, we try to reinforce that children should take care not to run over people around them, especially children who are smaller.

After our two songs, we share our first story. Children are welcome to come closer to see the pictures better while we read--all we ask is that they sit flat on the floor so children behind them can see. If the story includes props such as flannel board pieces or puppets, please help the story teller if children want to come forward and take away pieces. If the story is presented in app form on the projection screen, please help us keep little hands from hitting the screen. We are very understanding, however--taking flannel pieces and hitting the screen seems like fun!

We follow our story with another song. Some of our favorite story times involve using dancing scarves, rainbow ribbons, rhythm sticks, bean bags, or other props. We always sing a song between reading books to give children a chance to stand up, move around, be a little loud and silly, and "recharge" their attention spans for the next book.

After the song, we do another story. We finish with a craft and either a playtime featuring educational toys, a short movie based on a picture book, or a story app. We turn the subtitles on during movies when possible so children can see the letters and words.

Everything in story time is designed to foster early literacy and childhood development skills. To make sure your child gets the most out of story time, we suggest talking about the stories with your child as we read them and encouraging children to interact when the reader asks questions such as "What color is this?" or "What noise does this animal make?"

When it comes to craft time, it can be tempting for adults to take over so the craft gets done quickly, or so it resembles the sample craft. But craft time is an important part of story time--not just for expressing creativity, but for using fine motor skills to manipulate glue sticks and markers. Please let your child work on the craft with minimal help (save for adult tasks such as stapling headbands to the correct size to fit your child's head).

In fact, we suggest using craft time/movie time/play time as a quick break for socializing. While your child is occupied, use this time to chat with other caregivers.

Once your child has finished the craft and the movie is over or playtime cleanup is done, story time is over. We always appreciate help stacking the story time rugs so they can be put away for next time.

Books and crafts tend to be the same within the same week. If you wish to attend multiple story times, that's fine, but just know it may be a "re-run" of the same story time attended earlier in the week.

Do you ever wonder why we repeat the same songs and sometimes stories in Story Time? Repetition helps babies and children develop, strengthen, and retain neural pathways in their brains. Check out this blog post from JBrary for more details.

If you need any special accommodations for story time, please call 608-873-6281 at least two weeks before you plan to attend and let us know.


Growing Wisconsin Readers

Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards