Pomp & Circumstance: Graduating from Preschool Storytime

January 18, 2015 at 9:09 am Leave a comment

Hi, I’m Nancy and I’m a conference junkie.  Not just any conference, only those related to children’s librarianship and literature. My favorites are the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth held annually in April at Kent State University (Kent, Ohio); and the Mazza Museum: International Art from Picture Books Weekend Conference held each November at the University of Findlay (Findlay, Ohio). You never know when or how inspiration for storytimes or programming will strike.

At the Mazza Weekend Conference a couple years ago, I had the privilege of hearing some fine authors and illustrators speak about their craft as well as their inspiration. Will Hillenbrand, Eugene Yeltsin, Robin Preiss Glasser, John Marciano, John Rocco and Patricia Polacco all spoke with enthusiastic glee over their work for children.  When Patricia Polacco spoke of her family traditions in terms of literary inspiration, I had my lightbulb moment of the conference.

29973-honeyAs she recounted, children at about age 4 were given the gift of a book.  Upon the cover of the book was a smidge of honey.  She was instructed to wipe up the honey then lick the honey off her finger.  Sweet, no? Well, what is inside a book is also sweet–knowledge, entertainment, the gift of words and of imagination. But just as the bees work very hard to make the honey, so do people have to work hard to read what is contained in books.

At the time, I was responsible for preschool storytime–for children 4-5 years old who had not yet entered kindergarten.  Many of my crew that year were on the older side, ready to move up into kindergarten the following August.  Planning began on storytime graduation party for the final meeting in the Spring.

First, I contacted our very generous Friends group who graciously donated enough picture books for each child to select one. As the last storytime date approached, I started warning caregivers that there would be photo-worthy moments at the last meeting.  Well, it seems everyone showed up for that last program. I read books about the joy of reading, we sang Learning Station’s “Read a Book”. With the last activity, I asked the kids to line up in the front of the room where I usually sit (and I had to send plenty of siblings back to the grownups for this!).

child-316511_640Then a tray of tiny cups with a dab of honey and a toothpick inside were passed around. “What is this?” “EW!” and other comments were muttered not so quietly.  I asked them to lick the toothpicks. What did it taste like, salty or sweet? Runny or sticky? They all said sweet, a few said “gross”, and one young lady hollered, “It’s honey!”  I let them know it was, indeed honey and it is sweet.  Where does honey come from? Unanimous reply, “Bees!” Right! “And the bees work very hard flying from flower to flower collecting pollen then fly back to the hive to deposit the pollen where other bees turn it into honey, their food.” They looked confused.  “Well, sometimes we have to work hard to earn a sweet reward too.” My coworker passed out books to the preschoolers. “You have worked hard all year during storytime working on letters and sounds and making words. You are earning the sweet reward of reading books. Each of you has graduated from storytime and you all may keep this book to remember how sweet it is to read.”  I also created a bookmark (photo to come) that congratulated them on graduating from storytime.

I still see pictures come across my Facebook feed a couple of years later as parents remember this most fun graduation ceremony.

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Entry filed under: Storytime: Preschool. Tags: , , , .

Lullaby and Goodnight…Bedtime Storytime

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a librarian's library of plans & resources for storytimes, programs & readers' advisory
Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that sometimes books are received for review for free by publishers or authors. All books (ARCs, galleys, library or purchased) will be reviewed fairly; no special consideration is given to anything reviewed on this blog. In addition, I make every attempt to avoid spoilers. Sometimes they happen inadvertently or because they are important to defend a review; not all spoilers have been removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement included as a warning to readers.

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