Early Literacy


What children know about reading and writing before they actually can read and write!

Adding “give me five” as an addition to Every child ready to read @ your library–

Reading is sharing, writing is creating, talking is listening, playing is imagining, singing is rhyming

Starts with survey about story times by asking key questions, making a difference in our story times

Kindergarten readiness; can they count to 10, know their ABCs

Modeling for parents & carers is the current focus on story times

Flip kits-different ages; birth to second grade                     books, materials to do activity and what you child be doing and can be checked out for two week and examined upon return to be sure book is returned

RAP kits-read and play kits where connections can be made between carers and kids and they rotate throughout the county

Passive programming including crayons

Play kits rotate throughout the district in St. Charles County with storage of kids being done by the coordinator, may go the administration building with the youth services manager storing them

Racing to read kits rotating kids with toys between the district in Springfield, outlying areas rotate between their selves

Having a kit be able to check out to customers is a goal for most of the group that attended

Outreach departments in some libraries are also helpful with child care centers

Child care centers coming to the library’s story times, pros and cons

Being able to read to many kids, yet too many kids, no one has fun!

Try having a child care center set up a separate time for library visits

Stories to go – Allison Eckart & Jessica do outreach and grant writing from Springfield-Green County

Grants fund these type of early literacy programs, reapply for grants, this is a summer experience only

Grant positions who were vested, efforts were made to keep the staff responsible and placed in the district budget

United Way has a literacy trail which are located inside parks

Dollar General has literacy kits available through grants

Grant monies are available, take a look at what is available, federal grants are overwhelmingly paperwork laden

Corporate grants are available, not as much paperwork

Corporations include Hamburger helper, Lazy Boys, Scholastic, Wal-Mart, Monsanto, etc

Grants received for puppetry and other options

Babies and technology-do they mix, animal farm app, make a star app, rocket ship app

Digitee tots should be used as a supplement, not they main event

Many technological apps can make reading more changeling because they become involved in the game, not the interaction

Apple TV with a big television attached to an iPad to read along a book with kids

When using technology with children be careful of time limits

When using music at preschools and child care centers be careful of licensing

Happy birthday to you is not public domain, Disney owns it

Change Happy birthday in a different way




Children’s Programming and Book Discussions

Book Talk Discussions and Children’s Programming

Book Talk Tips:

What a hook for the book?

  • Cover, specific topic or element,
  • Enthusiasm, concise (don’t give away too much), read a short segment
  • Book trailers


Books to recommend:



Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The Marbury Lens

Porcupine of Truth

The Testing

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon


Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein


Snoozefest at the Nuzzledome


Children’s Programming:

  • Book Club discussion, have questions ahead of time, snack, activity or craft, possible skype with the author
  • Length 50-60 minutes


Other Youth Services Programming:

  • Library Con, fandoms for children (storytime/Fandom starts early), tweens, and teens
  • Program ideas that can be used for all age groups
  • Turning those programs into different versions for different ages
  • Most ages groups enjoy crafts


Acre the Mouse Education Series by SM Higgins

  • Costume character meet and greet (Pete the Cat)
  • Cookie Club, visit the library during the winter month 6 times, get stamps on card and then get invitation to come to Cookie Club party
  • Cinco De Mayo Skimpy John Jones Party, learn Spanish, make Cinco De Mayo crafts
  • I Spy




STEAM and Makerspaces

STEAM and Makerspaces

STEAM and preschoolers

Pumpkin Power program—stations

Weighed them named A, B, C, D and E. Is A heavier than C?, etc.

Pumpkins with tops cut off but with the insides left in for touching; Ziploc bag of pumpkin innards

Gingerbread Men

Take one bite of your cookie—now draw that body part on a piece of paper. 4 bites—4 colors

Dissolved gingerbread cookies in water.

Gingerbread playdough

State on promo materials: “Food allergens will be present.”

Mid-Continent recently instituted a food policy for children/teens—all food given out must be individually wrapped—came from a ruling by the Health Dept.

Sticky science

6 stations with various kinds of slime—some premade, some made together; recipes to take home

Sink or float activities

Leaves—Ellison cutouts, matching leaf types to  a poster; real leaves to touch

MO Dept. of Conservation–PreK curriculum—could be easily adapted to ST.

They also have trunks of materials on various themes—animal tracks; pelts/furs—can check out to use for storytime.

St. Louis Art Museum—SLAM kits with art supplies to check out

Phyllis’s Pinterest—look for Phyllis Davis with the coffee picture

Ann’s Storytime Board arandolph@stchlibrary.org

Program ideas:






STEAM and elementary ages

After school curriculum will adapt well to library programs

NASA stuff online—lots of programming resources and ideas

2 ways to approach STEAM:

  1. Demonstration—for example, everyone builds a catapult to take home
  2. Science fair style—follow scientific method

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments (ISBN 978-0309136747)

Best practices for teaching: self-directed; collaborative; inquiry based; each person has clearly defined roles—works best with 3rd grade through middle school

Project Manager

Materials Coordinator

Data Collector

Diplomat—gleans info from other groups

Program idea: Design a car that is safe, fast, stylish and comfortable—going to crash it to test safety; door has to open to let plastic egg in and out

Sound sandwich: http://www.exploratorium.edu/afterschool/activities/index.php?activity=137

WGBH Plum Landing—environmental curriculum  http://pbskids.org/plumlanding/

Watershed unit works with PreK age

PBS website—Fetch with Ruff Ruffman  http://pbskids.org/fetch/

Design Squad http://pbskids.org/designsquad/

Engineering is Elementary  http://www.eie.org/


We are informal educators! Speak classroom educators’ language to them to help them recognize this.


Atlas of New Librarianship   http://quartz.syr.edu/blog/?page_id=6352


Ellison Strawbees: http://quartz.syr.edu/blog/?page_id=6352


Outside the Box Programming

Outside the Box Programming Ideas


  • 18 inch Doll Camp with reading, camping, and snacks
  • Stop animation, flip books, plays, short stories, wordless picture books
  • Kid run storytime, bring your favorite book
  • Puppet show, tickets to show for audience
  • Magic show performed by kids
  • Minute to win it program with kid and parent teams
  • Teach your parents Mindcraft
  • Hunger Games program, design your own tribute competition, tribute for each library branch
  • President’s Day, First Lady dress design, fashion and crafts
  • Creation from supplies, Crafter-noon
  • Lego programs, Wedo
  • Creation with boxes and supplies, fostering children’s creativity and imagination
  • Bibliobop dance party, listen and move, freestyle, reading book during intermission, ribbons, scarfs, parachutes, instruments
  • Sugar Free All Stars band, kindi-rock
  • Glow party Heroes vs. Villains, glow sticks, balloons, team comic strip creation
  • Just Dance tournament
  • Spy training, finger printing, training skills, strings for laser beams, destroy the evidence (food)
  • Maze runner program, maze in the library
  • Live Pac Man program, Angry Birds, Ninja Turtles
  • Hollywood Game night, TV show inspired games, trivia
  • Dewey Decimal ducks
  • Live action games/ role playing games, Clue, Monopoly, Candy Land
  • Author talk, read some of the books, learn about the author’s life
  • Movie night with movie money for snacks
  • Movies with interactive elements, sing along (Frozen), costumes, craft while watching (robot building/Big Hero 6)
  • Harry Potter Quidditch and other HP themes

Passive Programming

Passive Programming


What do we mean by passive programming?

  • Anything that is not an actual program
  • Self-directed by the patrons
  • Votes, interactive bulletin board display, hero registration cards, scavenger hunts


What has worked in the past?



Children’s passive programming

  • Duplo tables
  • Puppet stages
  • Weaving using popsicle sticks
  • Lego alphabet
  • Rubbings using textured paper
  • Tangrams
  • *avoid choking hazards
  • Nursery rhymes on Velcro (children can rearrange or put rhymes in order)
  • Collaborative Lego sculpture
    • Every time a child checked out books they received a Lego to add to the sculpture
  • Play as learning
  • Cardboard structure to encourage pretend play. (from Brentwood branch library)
    • Examples: make a lemonade stand out of cardboard and set out cups, plastic fruit, etc. Carwashes, houses, and other structures. Use those creative volunteers!
    • You can get boxes from other areas of the library or businesses
    • A good way of modeling to the parents on how to make play things on a budget
  • Using Popsicle sticks with Velcro to make different shapes, letters, and structures.
  • Using colored Popsicle sticks
  • Felt boards
  • A giant paper superhero and have patrons write heroic words on post-it notes
  • Heights of all the superheroes
  • Write heroes on post-it notes for different months: Black History month or Women’s History month (can work for all ages)
  • Di-cuts
  • Flat Stanley. Send Flat Stanley’s (or any mascot) with kids so they can take pictures
  • Color monsters and mix and match body parts
  • Doc McStuffins with doctor toys, Band-Aid stickers, x-rays, dental station, office, and waiting room station with books about going to the doctor/dentist


Teen passive programming:

  • Post it notes
  • Zen-tangles
  • Easy/not messy so no one has to police the program
  • Coloring
  • Art journal using a dictionary that is left out in the teen area
  • Black-out poetry
  • ‘guess how many’ in a jar
  • Magnetic poetry
  • Chalk board contact paper & chalk
  • Marvel/DC website has cube craft print-outs. Mix and match heads and bodies



Adult passive programming:

  • Idea box: post it notes with different experiences or working on a model together as people come and go
  • Chess boards/games/puzzles
  • Collaborative coloring sheet
  • Coupon exchange boxes
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Where have you traveled to? Put out a map and put a sticker or a postcard to show where you’ve been (all ages)



Promote passive programs

  • Social media
  • Passive programs and social media
  • A page with different pictures of passive creations
  • Save the date cards


How do you gage the popularity of a passive program and how long do you leave it out?

  • Three weeks to a month



  • Phyllis Davis on Pinterest
  • Self-Directed Teen and Children’s programs on Pinterest

Outreach & Partnering with School Librarians

Outreach & Relationships with School Librarians

Library Card Drives

School fairs and area festivals-but decide which ones are worth your time. Is it too noisy, hot, not a good place or time for a library visit? Can you compete? Visit community events. Don’t rent booth space instead walk around and promote the library and library info. You’re there talking to the kids.

Visit school sporting events-go to school events and host a program. Ask the school for permission for a visit-have a table at school event.

Saturday morning storytimes at the Laundromat

Look at your community and figure out where people are and where there’s a need.

Chat & Chew-Book discussions over state nominees award over lunchtime. Kids eat lunch in the library. One book a month.

Visit schools once a month, visit every class during their library time. Read picture books and do activities.

SRP promotion at each school before Summer Reading, read picture books for all ages

How do you reach the preschools? Child care centers need us the most-get into child care centers.

Approach the schools, principals, school librarians, preschools-ask “what can I do to help you?” Offer suggestions of what you can offer. We’re all doing the same thing

Reception for school staff hosted by the library or at the library, give them contact information for librarians and resources you can offer them.

Digital access cards for students for school year for library online resources.

Don’t forget principals-let them know you appreciate them allowing you to visit their school.

Visit training days at schools and new teacher luncheons

Connect with patrons at the library, find out who the teachers are

Book kits with copies of the same book, check out to schools and rotate between the schools

Summer schools-run the summer reading program and take programs into the schools during the summer

You only have so many hours, so determine who needs you most

Storytime for Babies and Toddlers

Storytime for Babies and Toddlers           

Toddler Time-open play with a couple of stories, 18-36 months, registration-St Louis County

St Charles-Toddlers & Twos-birth-3, Fun for One-1 year olds, time for twos-2-year-olds, Preschool-3-6

Goals: Color  Game, Count to Five, Learn simple directions

Format-Books, Fingerplays, rhymes, lap bounces, simple craft, goodbye song-some libraries have activities, others all books, songs and a simple craft

Toddler storytime the focus is on parent and child interaction

Crafts? Not crafts exactly, work on fine motor skills, open ended art activity, not product art-no coloring sheets! Stopped doing crafts because it’s more parent led-parents are doing the crafts instead. Open ended process art. Stop doing examples.

Stations-sensory activity, open toys with play

Registration for storytime or not?-Most libraries don’t require registration

“You decide”-2’s decide what song or rhyme to sing

Book basket full of books-parents and children can read together as an activity

Less is more!

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat-Babies and Toddlers are happy with repetition! It’s not about you-it’s about the kids, so do what they love.

It’s about the caregivers-modeling behavior for the parents

Incorporate shapes with colors

Add additional sessions when you know it’s going to be busy

Once a month evening storytime

Messy activities for writing-shaving cream, cloud dough, jello

Making Learning Fun-racing tracks of letters with play cars

Letters cut from various textures for rubbing

Felt board table-felt across the table with robot parts-passive activity for older kids

Baby storytime-one big picture book, board book sets-multiple copies, hand out board books and parents and kids can read together-focus on socialization and play time with babies

Non-tangible ways to evaluate programs-what are your success stories?

Resources: Perry Public Library-Baby Time Games, Rhymes, and Songs-0-24 months

Jbrary-website and youtube videos

How to get parents involved? Call out names of kids, lap bounces






Tween Programming

Tween Programming

Facilitator: Alyssa

Recorder: Natascha

Major Questions of Teen Program

  1. General ides for Tween Programming (What Tweens Like)
    1. Crafts
      1. Rainbow loom kits
    2. Quincy Public Library
      1. Do at the Library Program
        1. Do Art Journal (Wreck this Book) (1st Thursday of the month)
        2. Do Make a Mess (Science) (2nd Thursday of the month)
        3. Do Play with Paint (Art and Crafts with Paint) (3rd Thursday of the month)
        4. Do Create (Mini-Weapons of Mass Destruction) (4th Thursday of the month)
        5. Do Wild Card (if there was is a 5th Thursday we do an art and craft that does not necessarily match what we already do)
      2. “Fandome” Programs
        1. Iron Chef program
          1. Gather supplies
          2. Teams with one leader who was the only one who could get the supplies
            1. Make items (ie. Car)
            2. Look like gourmet food
            3. Sprung a strange ingredient in the middle that they had to use
          3. Gingerbread Houses (using graham crackers)
            1. Have guidelines
            2. 2 hours to make
            3. Can be a more expensive program
          4. Blog-TweenLibrarian.blogspot.com (email address:alyssat@thelibrary.org)
            1. I survived obstacle course
            2. How to Train Your Dragon (author has lots of handouts to use for program
              1. With a teacher who talked about how dragons could have lived in the past
            3. Titanic Programs
              1. Lots of websites you can use
            4. I Survived Series
              1. Titanic
                1. Marbles in an aluminum boat
              2. Lego buildings
                1. Shake to with stand earthquake
              3. Crime Scene Science
                1. Retired Las Vegas Crime Scene Investigator led the program for 5 sessions to cover Crime Scene Science last session was using what they learned to solve a “cookie thief crime”


  1. Definition of Tweens
    1. Common-8-12 year olds (4th-6th grades)
    2. Some do through 8th grade (Springfield Green Public Library)
      1. Children in 7th and 8th are in transition between middle school and high school
      2. Good to collaborate with the Teen librarian(s) to work with programming
        1. Have teens volunteer with programs so the tweens have someone to look up to
  • Should we let children come in when there are not in the area?