World Language Story Time In Seattle Public Library

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World Language Story Time


Seattle Public Library


September 2008

Prepared by Tracy Li from Faye G. Allen Children’s Center, Seattle Public Library; Revised by Shannon Schinagl from Delridge Branch, Seattle Public Library; Based on the Story Time Training Manual from King County Library System Story Time Training Committee


The concept of Early Literacy and its six skills are the backbone of this presentation. Understanding the six skills, the candidates will have a better comprehension of why a certain book is selected, how to present books appropriately, and why we use certain strategies to present books. In addition, they can talk about the six skills and intertwine them into their storytelling or conversations with parents. Overall, our public library can approach more people through World Language Story Time programs.

  • It’s easier to approach parents or people from ethnic communities during World Language Story Times, when they come to the library voluntarily.

  • It’s always nice to deliver the knowledge to our patrons or potential patrons in their own language.

Time: 6 hours
Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this workshop, candidates will be able to:

  1. Learn the concept of Early Literacy and be able to describe why story times are a core part of public library service and identify how and what they do to support Early Literacy.
  2. Identify key elements of a well organized and well presented story time.

  3. Understand the selection criteria of the story time kits. Candidates will have a better understanding of the chosen items; thus, adapt appropriate and diverse methods to present the story time.

  4. Demonstrate how to share a book with a group of children.

  5. Learn the strategies that help them evaluate the developmental level of an audience and demonstrate 1-3 strategies to modify story time. Candidates will learn how to be flexible on tailoring the story time for an audience on site.

  6. List three techniques to address disruptive behavior in story time.

  7. Learn some resources to enable them to develop a story time in both English and Chinese. This is optional and will be addressed should there be more time.

Materials Needed:

      • Chinese Story Time Kits.

      • Selected rhymes, songs, and flannel board stories.

      • Shared story telling experiences and techniques, comments and suggestions.

      • Story time planning resources.

      • Business cards.

      • Certificates?

      • Handouts

    • Disruptive Behavior Case Studies.

    • Possible Solutions for Disruptive Behaviors in Story Time.

    • Story Time Worksheet.


Time: 15 minutes
Greet candidates. Have them make name tags for themselves, take their seats, and provide water. For those who bring lunches that need to be refrigerated, direct them to the fridge.
Overhead with three questions written:

  1. What three things do you already know about story times or doing story times?
  2. What do you hope to learn from this training?

  3. What is one question you want answered by the end of the training?

Opening Activity:

  1. Instructor self-introduction.

  2. Candidates self-introduction.

  3. Candidates share their story telling experiences and their thoughts towards these three questions.


We are looking forward to a great day. First, some announcements: We have provided water and snacks. Please feel free to help yourself. The restroom is at the Children’s Center. We will provide you with breaks throughout the day – we realize that this is a long training! However, if at any time you need to use the restroom, stretch, or get some refreshments, please do. We will have a half-hour for lunch, too. Are there any questions?


Learning Outcome: Candidates will be introduced to the concept of Early Literacy.
Time: approximately 1.5 hours

Song and Game: If You’re Happy and You Know It

Present at least two different versions of this song…you can create your own

Other examples: Old MacDonald Had a Farm/Woodshop

Interaction: Children learn these skills beginning from infancy. What are some examples you can think of regarding early literacy for children from birth to 24 months of age? What are some of the things they do that involve words, sounds, or writing?


  • They know how to babble.

  • They know how to talk.

  • They know some words.

  • They can scribble.

  • They know colors.

  • They know shapes.

  • They sing songs.
  • They can turn the pages of a book.

  • They show some interests in computing.

  • They like to play or act out.


  • These are all the behaviors that we can use to develop young children’s EL skills, simply because all of these are part of early literacy!

  • We, as story tellers, can help young children develop these skills during our story times.

  • It’s important to help them develop their EL skills, as it is critical to school success.

  • EL is used as a framework - the backbone if you will, of today’s training.

Concept of Early Literacy:

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read or write.
Why EL is important:

  • Studies have shown a close connection between shared reading experiences, language development and reading achievement. Children who are read to from an early age have more advanced language skills at age four. Learning to read and write is important to school success.

  • Children are ready to learn how to read long before they start school.

Parent Involvement: This is what we can tell parents during story times. Get parents’ attention by telling them that:

  • They are in the best position to help children get ready to read (optional):

    • They know their children best, so find the easiest way;

    • They are the role models, so children will follow their lead when the parents value reading and enjoy books;

    • Children learn best by doing things and they love doing things with their parents;
    • Put reading into everyday life and all kinds of activities, just as they have been doing. (The point is always giving parents encouragement and confirmation.)

Six Skills (the concept of EL revolves around 6 skills)

      • Print Awareness (is also symbol awareness): it is the understanding that print is everywhere and it defines the ability to handle books and how to follow the words on the page.

      • Print Motivation: children’s interest in and enjoyment of books.

      • Narrative Skills are a child’s ability to describe and explain things and tell stories.

      • Letter Knowledge: is about knowing that letters are different from each other and they have different names and sounds.

      • Vocabulary: is about knowing the names of things.

Why it is important:

How to build up vocabulary:

      • Dialogical Reading: another way to read a book that helps children develop narrative skills and vocabulary. It’s also called the “Hear and Say” method. With dialogical reading, the adult helps the child tell the story. The adult becomes the questioner, helper (give them a hint when necessary), and the listener.

Why it is important:

How to do DR:

      • Phonological skills: is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds (sound chunks) of words.

Why it is important:
    • As we read and share stories and song, we help children identify sounds in words, such as 马 / 妈. We use stories with words that rhyme, or simply a rhyming prose.

    • 小小黃狗,尾巴黨手,一搖一搖,歡迎朋友。(小黃狗

How to do Phonological Skills:

    • Tongue twisters, rhymes, songs, Clapping Game.


Learning Outcome: By the end of this section, candidates will be able to identify key elements of a well organized and well presented story time.
Time: 30 minutes

      • Now that we know why we do story time, let’s discuss how to do story time.

      • Every single person has their own style of preparing and presenting story time. Examples of Children’s Librarians.

      • However, there are some very important elements of story time that we should include, in order to be successful. We would like to go over those elements now.

Key Elements of an Effective Story Time:

      • Children like a routine. We usually do three to four books each time, two to three songs, and some flannel board or finger play. Here are some general layouts of our story time:

      • The most important thing is to choose great stories! You can choose:

      • The best story times are ones in which the children can join in/participate. But do not force participation if your group is shy. After all, the key is having fun together.


We Are Going On A Bear Hunt

      • Encourage parents to join in/participate with you and children when you are singing and doing rhymes. Believe me, grown-ups do enjoy this and they are very helpful to support their young children.

      • In between stories, use other language activities, such as songs, finger plays, and rhymes. (Others listed included “dance,” “play,” etc.)

      • Use lots and lots of repetition. Children need repetition to learn.

      • Story times for preschoolers can be up to thirty minutes.

      • Plan ahead! You will be sure to include emergent literacy skills if you plan your story time well in advance. Introduce our story time kits.

      • The more comfortable you are, the better your story time will be! You will be more comfortable if you practice/prepare. Practicing will give you confidence as well.

      • Make eye contact with the children throughout the story time.

      • Sometimes the behavior or mood of your audience will not be what you expect! Prepare to be flexible and to change your plan if necessary.

      • Would you like to make your story times more exciting and interactive? Dramatization helps the child to understand and remember the story and allows active children to have an energy outlet. Mention that stories with a lot of repetition are particularly easy to dramatize.

The Story Time Room: (Instructor shows candidates the Anne Marie Gault Story Hour Room.)
      • We will be covering each of these topics more in depth. However, does anyone have any basic questions right now?

Learning Outcome: The instructor explains the selection criteria of the story time kits.
Time: 30 minutes

      • Toddlers vs. Preschoolers

      • Show and demonstrate books

      • Themes and focus

      • Culturally Relevant materials

Example: Book --- Hug;

Example: Song --- Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Chinese;

Example: Guji Guji;

      • Show and demonstrate 1 finger play

      • Show and demonstrate 1 flannel board

Why do we use the flannel board? (Ask candidates to remark on the value of using felt board stories and rhymes with young children.)


    • Flannel Board: The Big Turnip

      • Show and demonstrate 1 rhyming game

Why do we use rhymes?

    • Phonological awareness.


Rhyme: 你拍一,我拍一

    • Demonstrate technique of showing all actions to children before beginning the rhyme.


Have candidates each choose a book from the pile on their desks. Read through the book, and then answer the questions:

      • Would you use this book with younger children or older children (although the story times are mainly for pre-schoolers, there might be younger or older children joining in)? Why? Analyze each book’s length, illustration style, complexity of the story…

      • What technique you are going to use to present this book?

      • Which Early Literacy skills can you promote by using this book?

      • What kind of interactions can you initiate with young children?


      • Group gives comments and suggestions, gets into discussion after each candidate present a book.


Learning Outcome: By the end of this section, candidates will be able to demonstrate how to share a book with a group of children.
Time: 30 minutes

We covered some heavy topics that might take some time to digest. Now we will talk about some basics of story time. I am sure that all of you are aware of these, but you know, repetition is the key. The good thing is that you can all join in and help me.


(10 minutes)

Demonstrate interactive game: We Are Going on a Bear Hunt to the Candidates. Ask them to note techniques they think would engage an audience. After the reading, initiate a short discussion of the presentation and note on the board techniques that they think “worked”.


      • Demonstrate appropriate techniques for beginning and ending a story time.
    • Greeting, introduce yourself, mentioned today’s theme (especially if it relates to holidays, festivals, seasons…)

      • Demonstrate appropriate techniques for beginning and ending a story.

      • Demonstrate how to hold a book in a way that the pictures may be seen by the entire audience.

      • Model voice variations to engage the audience.

      • Present a story including at least three interactions with the audience.


The ways to share a story including:

      • Techniques for introducing and ending a story.

      • Demonstrating appropriate ways to hold a book so that the pictures may be seen by the entire audience.

      • Ways to introduce a story:

      • Ways to end a story:

      • Ways to hold a picture book while sharing it with an audience:

      • Participatory activity: Pair and Share (5 minutes)


      • Discuss things that they discovered, realized, learned by presenting their books.

      • Discuss how sharing books ties into Early Literacy skills.


Learning Outcome: Candidates will be introduced to the strategies that help them evaluate the developmental level of an audience and demonstrate 1-3 strategies to modify story time.
Time: 30 minutes

Recite and teach Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes or other rhymes with multiple verses.

      • Use same rhyme but invite translation of body parts into other languages.

      • Invite candidates sharing their reservoir of the interactive pieces.


Invite the input of the experienced story time presenters (and all) with the following:

“Our story times are often for a WIDE range of ages – whole families with children from birth through elementary. As a story time presenter you will be (have been) challenged by this!” (Ask for their ideas of Advantages and Disadvantages)

How can you tell the developmental age of your audience?
How can you be prepared for these age and developmental differences? (After their comments - go ahead with the content)
In addition to these above, let’s go through some strategies.
Strategy #1: Be over-prepared – always have enough material and more (example -- number of Mice books on story time handout)
Strategy #2: Having a stock of “instant success” songs or rhymes to use at any moment (share favorites.


Open Shut Them for Toddler Story Time, If You’re Happy and You Know It --- both sing alone or with the picture book)
Strategy #3: Have a “gimmick” - a book on hand- puzzle, guessing game, lift-the-flap


Spot books in English. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, its flannel board is also available.
Strategy #4: Employ counting-out rhymes to take up time if you think you may not have enough books, though you should always have more than you need! Do this between each story, after the song or fingerplays.


Rhyme --- 打枣
Candidates will then be encouraged to share one they know. Hopefully they will share for the whole group.
Strategy #5: Demonstrate how to paper clip pages together to shorten a story and show what kinds of books this technique will work for.


The Squeaky Door


Strategy #6: Learn two and demonstrate at least one “back-up song” that can be adapted to any theme.


Teach Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, a song with calming tune. Sing it in both English and Chinese if necessary.

找朋友can be another sing-along game, do it as long and as many times as you want in order to calm everybody down and get the extra energy out.
Strategy #7: Body Parts

Sharing: What are your favorites?


Review the strategies -- ask them to list them orally as a group.


Learning Outcome: By the end of this section, candidates will be able to list three techniques to address disruptive behavior in story time.
Time: 30 minutes

Asking the questions:

  1. Have you experienced the disruptive behavior from either children or adults when you presented a story?

  2. What are the disruptive behaviors that you experienced? Do you have a most difficult one?

  3. How did you handle the situation?

Examples may include:

      • A child cried and cried and wouldn't stop?

      • A child hit another child?

      • The parents in the room talked during your story time?

      • A child wandered around the room and played with their noisy toy?

      • A child tried to (and maybe succeeded) in grabbing the book or felt piece away from you?

      • Children get restless and cannot sit still to listen to the story teller?

Possible solutions for Disruptive Behavior:

      • Disruptive Behavior Case Studies.

      • Possible Solutions for Disruptive Behaviors in Story Time.

Activity: Case Studies
Closure: (1-2 minutes)

The important thing to remember about disruptive behavior is that there isn't just one way to deal with it, and we all have great ways of doing so. Today you have demonstrated your ability to solve these "problems" by planning ahead, by changing your own behavior and strategies, being flexible, and by using your own creativity.

Learning Outcome: By the end of this workshop, candidates will be exposed to some resources able to develop a story time in both English and Chinese.
Time: 30 min.

Now that candidates understand why story time is important, have seen and practiced all the elements of an effective story time, and know where to find resources to help them plan, they will practice creating an entire story time.

Reminders to candidates:

      • Our library may have limited materials in Chinese. You may have to use the translated pieces.

      • Themes are optional; story bag can be an alternative.

      • Depending on your audience, you may use songs, finger plays, etc. in English first, then in Chinese. Although we provide monolingual Chinese Story Time, this can be considered a back-up strategy to attract patrons’ attention.

      • Materials do not have to come from the library! If you know a traditional story, song, etc. from your childhood, culture, country, then use it, as long as it’s appropriate.

Library resources (Optional)

      • Baby Boxes (preschool, toddler)

      • Story time resource books

    • Storytime for Two-Year-Olds by Judy Nichols
    • Booksharing: 101 Programs to Use with Preschoolers by Margaret Read MacDonald

    • Workshop Handout

      • Online resources





There are many more resources. We are just highlighting some examples of each type. Hand out bibliography with room for candidates to add their own resources as they find them.

Introduce OPAC

      • library cards

      • Basic searching: title, author, subject

      • Placing holds

      • Searching for story time planning resources:

    • Subject Words:


Storytelling – Handbooks, manuals, etc.

    • Title Contains:



    • Subject/Summary Words

Finger plays

Action songs

Rhyming games – United States

      • Use the Library Catalog to Find Materials in Chinese

Q & A:

1. Do you feel that you could now prepare and present a story time, with support from a children’s librarian?

Learning Outcome: Summarize and closure; what comes next? Questions and answers.
Time: 30 minutes
Activity: Making flannel board together

Thank you so much for coming today! We hope that this training has given you the skills and confidence to plan and present a library story time. There is a big market out there for Chinese story time. Without you, we will not be able to fill that need! We have handouts!
At the end of our training, I would like to work together to get some flannel board stories made. I am also here to answer and further questions. Monthly meeting to share stories, songs, finger plays, and resources.

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