Storytime is an ideal environment to put early literacy into action. For most children's librarians, storytime is the single best opportunity to talk with parents and caregivers. You have the adults' attention (if they are not checking their phones too frequently!). You can model early literacy practices and the families can try them out right away. You can connect early literacy skills and practices to the books, rhymes, songs, flannels, puppets, fingerplays, and group activities in your storytime. You can share early literacy asides with the adults in the room, or give them early literacy tip sheets to use at home.
Here are some excellent resources for incorporating early literacy into your storytimes:
Storytime Crosswalk Connections (PDF)
This guide created by Ohio librarian Cheilon Preston, former youth services coordinator at the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library, is an easy-to-use tipsheet with an example activity or idea for matching each of the Six Skills from ECRR1 with each of the Five Practices from ECRR2.
Early Literacy Activities for Storytimes
A compilation of activities that Ohio public libraries have used in storytimes and programs to support early literacy skills. The activities are organized by early literacy skill and practice. Many can also be used by caregivers at home and leaders at daycare, so please share widely and add your own favorite activities.
Compiled by Saroj Ghoting, this is a wealth of plans, kits, ideas, observation aids, training aids, and publicity tools, plus a collection of rhymes and songs for creating flip charts to use in storytime. Saroj's "What Can I Say?" document, linked here, provides over 15 pages of early literacy asides for all storytime situations.
Two children's librarians curate this thoughtful collection of storytime resources, including a blog, program outlines, booklists, and a YouTube channel featuring songs, rhymes, and fingerplays that promote early literacy skills.
Early Literacy Storytimes
Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) provides this collection of early literacy asides, resource links, and tips for choosing books.
A free, open, grassroots community for youth librarians to share ideas, brainstorm and troubleshoot. Learn from your peers and teach them what you know about programming for young children and their families.
This OCLC-based initiative trains library staff in research-based methods to engage children in storytime, using resources and strategies developed by Project VIEWS2 (Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully). Participants say that this project aligns well with ECRR. Supercharged Storytimes focuses on the behavior of library staff presenting storytimes, and how that affects children’s development of early literacy skills, while ECRR focuses on the behavior of parents and caregivers in helping children acquire these skills.
Open Shut Them
The Washington Centerville Public Library's early literacy blog demonstrates that "little books make a big difference" with book reviews, links to early literacy skills, suggestions for read-aloud books, developmental tips, and suggestions to help parents and caregivers be their child's first and best teacher.
Tell Me a Story
The King County Library System (WA) offers this large and ever-growing collection of rhymes, songs, and fingerplays, with companion videos showing a librarian demonstrating each.
Digital Branch: Storytime & Early Literacy
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (NC) has published a collection of mini-storytimes and traditional storytelling videos featuring Charlotte Mecklenburg children's librarians.