Storytime Ideas

Storytime is an ideal environment to put early literacy into action. For many children's library specialists, 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 great resources for incorporating early literacy into your storytimes:

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.

Storytime Crosswalk Connections (PDF)
This guide created by 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.

Storytime Solidarity
Blog, booklists and songlists, and many other resources to help you diverse, equitable, and inclusive early literacy programming and book collections.

Storytime Resources
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. 
Storytime Skill Builders
Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) provides this collection of videos demonstrating storytime practices and techniques from adult participation to dialogic reading to group management.
Supercharged Storytimes
This OCLC-based initiative trains library staff in research-based methods to engage children in storytime. Participants say that this project aligns well with ECRR. Supercharged Storytimes focuses on how library staff behavior affects children’s development of early literacy skills, while ECRR focuses on the behavior of parents and caregivers in helping children acquire these skills.

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.

Ohio Library Council                    State Library of Ohio