Reading stories to the kids is one of the best ways to spend quality time with them. It not only enhances the overall development of the kid but also instills a love for the books in them. As I have been conducting story-times for my daughter and her little friends for the past few months, many of my friends have asked me how to start a storytime and how to choose a theme for it. So today, let me take this opportunity to write a blog post on how to start a storytime for the kids.
- Firstly, choose a particular age group for your story session. This is very important because everything else depends on this age group. Choose the age in such a way that there is only a little difference between the youngest child and the oldest child. This way everything will be synchronized and all can get involved easily. For my story session, I have chosen age from 3-6 years. So most of my storybooks are just above 3 yrs and below 6 yrs of age.
- Secondly, Choose the most comfortable time and day for the story session when the kids are free and are in relax mode. I choose Friday’s @ 6:00 Pm because all the kids will be in weekend mode and would like to have some fun with friends. You should also decide whether the story time is a weekly/biweekly/monthly program.
- Next, choose a proper place to conduct the story session. It can be anywhere like in a living room, in the garden, in the community hall, on the terrace etc.. Make sure that the place you choose has the least distraction and noise. My venue is on the stairs in my apartment. It is a bit weird, but the good thing is no one stays upstairs. I like to make my kids sit on the stairs and I sit on a chair so that everyone can see what I am reading and I can have direct eye contact with each kid.
- Decide the duration of the story session, including the activity time. If the audience involves younger kids limit the reading time to 20min max as their attention span will be less. Follow this with the activity based on the story. The activities can be anything a simple craft or coloring sheet or some game based on the main character of the book.
- Selecting a theme is completely optional. If it is a theme based story session There are a lot of resources available online with various themes based books along with its associated crafts.
- The cost for setting up a story session depends on various factors. If it is just as a hobby like mine, I conduct them for free as I borrow most of the books from my local library. For the activities, I mostly try to use the recycle items which are readily available at home, this way I don’t have to shell out much money from my pocket. If the story session is a kind of a professional setup which requires buying certain supplies and books, it is better to have a fee to cover up the expenses.
- Planning is an important task while conducting storytime. Make sure to plan which book to read and what activities to conduct for two weeks ahead. It gives us enough time to buy the supplies required for the setup. I plan my story sessions at least three sessions ahead, which helps me to select the theme well in advance and plan for the kid’s friendly activities and also get the time to get the books from the library.
- Spread the word about the story sessions within your circle and invite kids to the session. Initially, it will take time for people to know about it, but once kids attend them, more people will come to know about it. I send a broadcast message via WhatsApp about it on that day morning asking me to confirm within a certain time. In this way, by afternoon I will know the kids who would be attending the session.
- Before starting the story, ask the kids if they want to go to the restroom or drink some water. In this way, there will be less disturbance during the session.While reading the story make it interesting and interactive. Keep asking open-ended questions in between so that the kids feel engaged. A high five and a good job does wonders with the kids during the sessions.
- Lastly, Make sure the activities are less messy and easier to make. It would be better if the younger children are accompanied by a parent. They can help the little ones with the activities.
It would be nice if you can share me some of your kid’s favorite storybooks, I would like to read them to during my storytime.