I’ve only been doing Story Times for a few short months, but alredy I’m picking up on what stories and activities work best with certain age groups. As much as kids love having book read to them, they love to participate in the reading. Finding books that get the kids involved, asking questions, counting numbers, naming colors, is really key to keeping the kids focused. Having breaks inbetween stories is really helpful as well. I think the longer finger plays, or breaks between books help alleviate the boredom and restlessness the kids feel during story time.
I’ve been volunteering to read at a pre-school where the kids are aged 3 and 4. I used to read 4 books to get, and by the time we got to the 4th book, those kids were wiggling, crawling around and just not paying attention. I need to start making changes to my routine, but how can I make changes w/o disrupting the flow for the kids?
What I’ve noticed with my set of kids (this may not be the case for everyone) is that the flannel board stories is really what grabs their attention. Today, for instance, I read 3 books, did three little songs and finger plays. The last activity I brought out for the kids was a flannel board story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Up until this point, the kids had been squirmy and noisy. As soon as I started telling the story, putting the flannel peices up, the kids just, silent with eyes wide and full of focus. I had never seen this group so quiet before. The story was longer than most of my earlier flannel board stories, it was just as detailed as the books, but the flannel board was more interesting than books and more entertaining than the songs and fingerplays.
I’m going to reuse the 3 Bears Flannel Board story for my Friday morning storytime, and see what happens with that set of kids, the ages are more mixed, so it will be an interesting experiment.