Thursday, August 2, 2012

Most Memorable Moments Spent at the Oak Brook Public Library

As my last day as a Youth Services Assistant at the library approaches, I've been reminiscing on the many programs and opportunities that I was able to either develop or partake in during my time spent at the library.

Storytime Children's Favorite Storytime Books (In no particular order) 
The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn
A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke
Little Miss Liberty by Chris Robertson

Most Memorable Storytime 
My Statue of Liberty Storytime rocked the house earlier this year! I couldn't believe how excited both my toddler and preschool storytime kids loved jamming to Neil Diamond's "America" and creating torches and foam crowns. This made this "New York Girl's" heart swell with pride.

Most Memorable Storytime Moments 
When children didn't want to go home at the end of storytime because they were having so much fun.

When little ones would jump for joy at the chance to put a flannelboard piece on the board to complete our flannelboard rhyme or tale.

When shy children would finally feel comfortable coming up to the flannelboard and talking to Miss Jennifer about the books.

Favorite Youth Services Assistant Duties 
Creating programming for toddler and preschool-age children and (of course, conducting these programs!) There is never anything more exhilarating then seeing a child so engrossed with a story, simple craft, and soapy bubbles.

Writing this blog. As you can see by my incredibly wordy blog posts, I love to write.

Reading picture books and YA novels.

Lessons I Learned from Storytime 
Don't always rely on classic children's music for movement activities. Let children listen to a variety of musical genres including disco, ethnic music, oldies, marching band music, etc. By using different forms of musical expression you will be developing their musicality and interest in music (instead of pigeon-holing them in kid's only tunes.

Use props to add interest to your program. Props will add a lively flair to any storytime. Some of my favorite props were streamers, scarves, and children's musical instruments.

Just because a storytime worked for one person doesn't mean it will work for you. There have been a few storytime activities that looked great on paper, but just didn't jive with the kids. Storytime is a continuing learning experience and when you find the perfect combination stick with it.

When in doubt go Disney. Disney songs are always a hit. They are perfect for transitioning to other activities and provide great background music for craft time.

Transitioning is key. Make sure you have at least one opening and closing song you sing every week. By using an opening and closing song, you are teaching the children to understand the beginning and ending of storytime (temporal concepts).

Enjoy every moment of storytime and don't worry about being perfect or making a mistake. The kids will love you even if you stumbled over a word in a story or clapped your hands instead of stomped your feet during "If You're Happy and You Know It" (mind you, this never happened to me (smile). Just remember to always be yourself!

Never underestimate the power of bubbles. These soapy little wonders are like magic to toddlers and preschoolers. They can imagine they are dinosaurs stomping on the bubbles, you can describe the "rainbow colors" seen in the bubbles, and the children can catch the bubbles in their hands like world-class baseball stars.

Very young children (toddlers) can definitely make beautiful crafts. During their first storytime crafts you may want to leave extra time such as (15 minutes or more) for a craft. Simple 2 to 3 piece pasting projects work best. Try to describe to the children that glue sticks are just like big, sticky crayons. Show your children how to gently rub the glue onto the paper. Remember, you  may even have to take their hands (with the glue stick) and help them glide it across the paper the first few times. This will make the entire gluing concept easier to understand. I promise with a little patience and plenty of practice your kids will be crafting dynamos.

Things Miss Jennifer Would Like Her Storytime Kids to Know 
Never lose that wonderful carefree spirit of childhood, you are perfect the way you are.

Reach for the stars and follow your dreams.

Reading is the key to knowledge.

Miss Jennifer will never forget you. How could she forget how awesome you all were and are?

Most Memorable Storytime/Literacy Quotes
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more place you'll go." - Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all." - Jacqueline Kennedy

"Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read." - Marilyn Jager Adams

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." - Emilie Buchwald