Transforming Preschool Storytime: A Modern Vision and a Year of Programs

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ALA Neal-Schuman
8 12"
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  • About the authors
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According to recent research, the best way to make new connections in a child's brain is by building on something already known. A child who loves a book will listen to it repeatedly, maintaining interest. Using a selected book in a number of consecutive preschool storytimes, but presenting it differently each time, can help children learn new skill sets. This book presents a new approach to storytime, one that employs repetition with variety to create an experience which helps children connect and engage with the story on a higher level. Diamant-Cohen, recently awarded the 2013 ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award, and Hetrick offer a year's worth of activities specifically designed to address multiple intelligences through a repetition-based process. Incorporating recent theories on developmental learning, this book includes

  • Scripts for 8 different books, with enough activities to repeat each one for six weeks, along with lists of optional alternative books
  • Planning aids such as outlines of storytime sessions, a fill-in-the-blanks planning sheet, questions for evaluation, and tips for enhanced storytimes using props and crafts 
  • Detailed but straightforward explanations of theory and research that will help readers communicate effectively with parents, caregivers, and other stakeholders

From setup to execution, here's everything you need to create and implement a successful, elevated storytime.

Check out this book's Web Extra now!


List of Figures



Part I: Preschool Storytime, Learning Theories, Research, and Practical Applications

Chapter 1- An Overview of Preschool Storytime

What Is Preschool Storytime?

Benefits of Preschool Storytime

Read It Again!


Scaffolded Learning

Multiple Intelligences

Every Child Ready to Read @ your library

Incorporating Technology into Programs


Presenting a Book in Multiple Ways

Incorporating Repetition into Preschool Storytime

Leveling the Playing Field


Resources regarding Preschool Storytime, Theories of Learning, and Repetition

Chapter 2-The Nitty Gritty: A Step-by-Step Guide for Organizing a Storytime

Basics for Preschool Storytime Planning

General Structure of Preschool Storytime

Planning Helpers

Tips for Presenting Preschool Storytime

Consider Enhanced Storytimes

Keep Records

A Brief Explanation of Six Consecutive Sessions Utilizing Repetition with Variety

Resources for Planning

Building One Session upon Another

Additional Information


Part II: Scripts Using Eight Different Books

Chapter 3-Series 1: The Three Bears by Paul Galdone

Week 1: Introduce The Three Bears

Week 2: Tell "The Three Bears" as a flannelboard story

Week 3: Narrate the story and have children act it out

Week 4: Read other versions of the story by different authors and illustrators

Week 5: Read a fractured version; find opposites in the book

Week 6: Give children props to play with while they retell the story themselves






Chapter 4-Series 2: The Princess and the Pea by H.C. Andersen, adapted and illustrated by Janet Stevens

Week 1: Introduce The Princess and the Pea

Week 2: Tell "The Princess and the Pea" as a flannelboard story

Week 3: Use dialectic reading, illustrations, and questions about the story

Week 4: Read the same story by a different adapter; show different illustrations

Week 5: Read more versions of the story; dance with peas

Week 6: Invite the children to retell the story in their own words






Chapter 5-Series 3: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont

Week 1: Introduce I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More

Week 2: Inspire imagination with the aid of colored scarves

Week 3: "Paint" body parts; review vocabulary and develop fine motor skills

Week 4: Discuss the silent story being told by "reading" the illustrations to convey meaning

Week 5: Discuss the book’s illustrations, focusing on colors, lines, and shapes

Week 6: Examine other books by Karen Beaumont





Chapter 6-Series 4: Buz by Richard Egielski

Week 1: Introduce Buz

Week 2: Explore the book through flashlight play and dramatization

Week 3: Tell Buz as a flannelboard story

Week 4: Narrate the tale while the children act it out

Week 5: Focus on the illustrations; compare pictures

Week 6: Invite the children to go through an obstacle course to act out the story





Chapter 7-Series 5: Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Week 1: Introduce Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

Week 2: Tell Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! as a flannelboard story

Week 3: Use creative dramatics to build a garden and surrounding walls

Week 4: Compare books by the same author and illustrator

Week 5: Use ICDL to digitally compare Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! with a similar book

Week 6: Invite the children to act out the story





Chapter 8-Series 6: Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic

Week 1: Introduce Duck Soup

Week 2: Make an imaginary pot of soup

Week 3: Use soup to test scientific concepts

Week 4: Reenact the search for Max with puppets

Week 5: Compare similar stories

Week 6: Invite the children to act out the story





Chapter 9-Series 7: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Week 1: Introduce Bark, George

Week 2: Tell Bark, George as a flannelboard story

Week 3: Tell Bark, George with stick puppets

Week 4: Encourage multisensory exploration while narrating the story

Week 5: Interview George and his friends to find out what really happened

Week 6: Examine the story from a veterinarian’s perspective





Chapter 10-Series 8: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd

Week 1: Introduce The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

Week 2: Repeat the story using props and signs

Week 3: Put yourself in another person’s shoes

Week 4: Take a nut-and-herb walk

Week 5: Build a scarecrow and watch a movie starring storytime children

Week 6: Encourage children to dramatize the story, guided by book illustrations


Questions for Evaluation


About the Authors





Betsy Diamant-Cohen

Betsy Diamant-Cohen believes that the best way to learn is through play. She created and developed the nationally-replicated "Mother Goose on the Loose" (named a "National Early Literacy Best Practice" in 2015) program, for which she was awarded the 2018 Alexandre Vattermare Award for Creativity in Libraries. Betsy enjoys presenting training workshops, webinars, and online courses for librarians. Member of the ALSC Early Childhood Services and Programs Committee, her website is and Twitter handle is @MGOtL.

Melanie A. Hetrick

"Drawing on research about how children learn, Diamant-Cohen and Hetrick propose a new model for storytime: one where repetition is built into the structure of ongoing programs so that children can build on what they have learned. It sounds like a simple concept, but the key is to provide repetition in context, with enough variety to keep children engaged and allow them to approach the same material from multiple angles … Whether you're a librarian who is new to the idea of an anchor text in your storytimes, or a preschool teacher who uses the concept regularly, you are sure to find lots of inspiration here!"
--Storytime Stuff