Friday, April 30, 2010

Poetry & Rhyming

Rhyming is a fairly easy concept for preschoolers to understand. And so many kids' books rhyme, so often when I'm reading a book where the rhyme is obvious, I'll pause to let the kids guess the rhyming word in the story. Not long, just a little bit to allow the kids that are paying attention to shout out the missing word. Alliteration is also simple for kids to grasp - words that start with the same sound. Since April is National Poetry Month, I thought we'd talk a little about rhymes and alliteration for this week's storytime.

Book 1: Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
Of the thousands of books in rhyme for kids, I wanted to pick a couple whose main emphasis was on rhyming. Sheep in a Jeep is perfect. The story is secondary (though funny) - the point of the book is that most of the words end in "-eep". I though about (though decided against) also doing the board book "Truck Duck" by Michael Rex.

Book 2: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
Classic Dr. Seuss book. Wonderful rhymes, and plenty of alliteration too. What more can I say?

Book 3: Berenstain's B Book by Stan & Jan Berenstain
For our final "poetry" book, we talked about alliteration. The kids already (mostly) knew what it was, they just didn't know the word for it. But we practiced saying "alliteration" a few times, then read the "B Book". Afterwards, we thought of other words that started with B. 

Activity: I was a slacker this week and just made a worksheet for this week's activity. Had pictures on one side of a hat, bear, etc. and had cat, hair, etc. on the other side. They were to connect the two pictures that rhymed.
Theme used week of April 26th, 2010. Next week: Mother's Day!

Monday, April 5, 2010


We talked about colors this week, and I started off by having everyone name their favorite color.  The library had purchased a couple of very neat books about color that I was so excited to read to the kids, and this was my opportunity.

Book 1: See the Colors by Dawn Babb Prochovnic
This book has a nice, calm phrasing that repeats the name of different colors on each page. "See the blue, see the blue, see the blue, little one. Chase the blue jays from our garden, see the blue, little one." What's neat is that it shows the word in sign language on each page (with more detailed instructions on how to do them in back). I signed and also had the kids signing the different colors on each page. At the end, I had a little "quiz" and it's amazing how many kids retained most or all of the signs by the end.

Book 2: The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria
Most of the kids had some knowledge of sign language and how deaf people used it to communicate. But then I brought out The Black Book of Colors and we talked about how blind people experience the world. This book is so neat - all of us here at the library have been recommending it to people that come in. It's all black with white text, about a boy who can't see, but tells us what colors feel, taste, or smell like. Braille text is printed below the English text, and raised pictures (also in black) encourages kids to touch the pages and feel the green grass, the yellow feathers, or the black hair. I requested a couple other copies through ILL and left them with the daycare groups that I read with so that the kids could take turns reading and feeling the pages. I also showed them a thank you note we had received here at the library, written in braille, by a local girl who is blind and was introduced to this book through our recommendation.

Activity: Rainbow handprints
We ended with each child tracing their hand on various colors of construction paper. I let the older kids cut out their own, but helped those that we couldn't really trust with scissors yet. They drew their names on the handprint and I hung all of them in ROY G BIV order to form a rainbow in our front window. I like to show people that don't come during storytime some of the neat things we do here with the kids!

This theme was used the week of April 9, 2010.
Next week we're working with math and patterns.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter bunnies

In some ways holidays are easy weeks to plan because you don't have to come up with a theme for that week; it's expected that you'll read Christmas books at Christmas, Easter books at Easter, etc. But on the other hand, there are only so many good holiday books out there. There's dozens of holiday books published each year, but I'm not going to read just anything at my storytime... there, doesn't that sound snooty enough? But truly, so many of these books are disposable, meant to be purchased by parents just because it has "Valentine's Day" or "Halloween" on the cover, and with no regard to the quality of the writing on the inside. Ok, enough ranting. I knew this was going to be a fun storytime as one of my moms had agreed to bring her bunny for all the kids to see and pet. But we started off with a few decent holiday books...

Book 1: My First Easter by Tomie dePaola
A short board book illustrating some of the things that happen around Easter. Nice that it includes both the religious and the secular: there's an egg hunt and new clothes for church on Sunday. I do just love dePaola's illustrations. He makes everything so clean and simple, and yet there's always something more to find in all of his pages.

Book 2: Owen's Marshmallow Chick by Kevin Henkes
Another great board book by a wonderful author/illustrator. Owen gets a number of different candies in his basket, each one named his "favorite" before he eats them up. Then he comes to the marshmallow chick, the same color as his blanket. Instead of eating it, he plays with it all day and calls it his "favorite" before he puts it on his shelf with his toys. Very cute and you can just see the excitement in Owen's eyes as he picks up each item in his basket.

Book 3: The Story of the Easter Bunny by Katherine Tegen
Before I brought out our "surprise guest", I read this story about the supposed origins of the Easter Bunny as a pet white rabbit in the home of an old couple who dye eggs, weave baskets, and deliver them all to the village children on Easter. Then one year the old couple are still asnooze when there is work to be done, so the bunny finishes their tasks and delivers the baskets. Little by little the bunny takes over, then moves to his own place with his own troop of bunny helpers to get all the baskets made and delivered each year.

Book 4: An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston
Actually this would be book 2.5, as I read it between "Owen's Marshmallow Chick" and "The Story of the Easter Bunny", but only for the daycare groups where I didn't have the live bunny coming. A beautifully illustrated book, it shows the wonderful variety of eggs: bird eggs, insect eggs, fish eggs, and more. A peaceful book that still manages to engage and astonish kids of all ages.

Experiment: Vacuum/Egg experiment
I had video taken of this as well, but my helper had the camera turned the wrong way, so until I get that figured out, the still photo will have to do.  I've always wanted to try this experiment, but didn't think of doing it here until a coworker suggested it. You light a small piece of paper, drop it in a flask, then immediately put a hard-boiled egg on top. The vacuum created by the fire sucks the egg down into the flask with a satisfying pop! And, if you have a neck that is just a little bit too small (like I did), then it also tears the egg in half.  Naturally there was a little talk about fire safety beforehand, but the kids just loved it. Hooray for science!

Theme used week of March 29, 2010.
Next week, we're talking about rainbows.