Saturday, September 29, 2012

hello! (plus a week 2 postmortem)

Oh my. Last week's Head Start storytime did not quite go according to plan. Well, the plan is pretty much just "have an awesome storytime," and last week did not feel so awesome.

Oh wait. Perhaps I should introduce myself. Hello. I am Ted. I will be a children's librarian pretty soon; as in, I graduate in a little over two months. Right now, though, I do a weekly Head Start storytime next door to Miss Amy's library in East Oakland and conduct an occasional library storytime at my work. The Head Start is really big, so I do back-to-back storytimes: one for Classes 1 and 2 and another for Classes 3 and 4.

Last week I also started a Tumblr to document and discuss my storytimes and was never happy with its format. So here we are. Last week was just this year's second storytime, which is important to keep in mind. The first week was tons of fun, mainly because I played the hits: Max & Ruby and Clifford, specifically. I took a week off for the super-great ALSC Institute and came back all fired up to get back in the swing of things with a bird-themed storytime.

But the thing is... I realize themed storytimes are not going to work right now. The kids are just starting preschool, though Class 3 and 4 somehow seems younger to me than Class 1 and 2. Their attention spans need time to develop. At its heart, storytime is supposed be hecka fun. Right? Right.

I made some theme-driven book choices last week that ended up sorta bombing. In a Head Start environment, unfortunately, the books you bring can sink you. You can't go grab something else off the shelf; what's there is there and that's it. Of course I try to bring alternates, but if there aren't enough or if the crowd is squirmy and not into birds (or whatever), you're going to have to deal.

And so I nixed themed storytimes for the time being. We're going to focus on reading as many fun books as possible. I have a stack of 15 choices sitting next to my desk as I write this: Chicken Butt, Pete the Cat, Do Monkeys Tweet?, some Jane Yolen, and so forth. I also bought my own copy of Go Away, Big Green Monster! (at last) so I can have it in my bag at all times: a storytime security blanket.