Anne Clark over at So Tomorrow recently blogged about her story time planning process. That post inspired me to write my own.
First a little about me. I'm a relatively new youth services librarian. I received my master's degree in 2009 and I've been working in the field almost 3 years. I presented my first story times when I was 13 and 14 although I didn't realize it at the time. I paired a book with a craft for the kindergarten art class at my school. Fast forward a few years and I'm doing story time for the campus at the college where I received my undergraduate degree. A few years later I present my first story time as a real librarian.
Here's a link to one of the story times I planned as an undergraduate. Here's a link to one of the first story times I presented as a librarian. Here's a link to the very first story time I presented in my current position. Finally, here's a link to one of my most recent story times. I don't know if you'll take the time to click through and look at these, but they show the evolution of my story times.
When I was in graduate school, I took a classes on children's literature, young adult literature, and a programming class that combined both ages. While I gained useful knowledge from these classes, they didn't teach me everything I needed to know especially about story time. So I took myself to story time school mainly using Crash Course in Storytime Fundamentals by Penny Peck. From reading that book, I developed a planning sheet and decided on a definitive opening and closing for my story times.
I am a solo librarian. I'm the whole of the youth services department in our system. I present story times at our four branch libraries. I do story time for most of the year with very few breaks. In the summer, I select the themes for the fall story times (end of August-mid December) and I select the spring story time themes (January-May) in December. I pick my summer reading story time themes anytime between January and March. I give out schedules to parents and caregivers that list the season's themes.
After I select the themes, I search the online catalog to see what books we have. I might look at 10-15 and pick 3-5 of those for any given story time. Once I have selected the books, I add in flannel boards, fingerplays, movement rhymes, and the like. It's at this time I look back at what I've used before for a theme, search Melissa Depper's Storytime Resources, search the web, look at the tagged posts in my feedly account, and look at my GoodReads account. I've recently started putting all the picture books I've read and used for story time into my GoodReads account on thematic shelves.
I normally present the same story time 6-7 times. By the last presentation, I have usually changed several things. I type up my story time plans and print out a copy. I make the changes in long hand on that sheet.