Storytiming

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Flannel Friday: An UnQWERTY Storytime Keyboard!

Here’s a fun group activity I have used with my toddlers storytimers. I do 2 Toddler Times each week. Toddler Time is a registration-required lap-sit storytime for ages 20 months to 3. We have two sections of up to 20 kids. It runs during the school year for 4 6-week sessions. As we all know, this age group is a bit funky. I have tinkered around a lot with my storytime planning, routines, demeanor, etc, to strike the right chord with this age group.

As we all know, repetition is HUGE at this age. But let’s face it, even the most solidly beloved storytime traditions, can get stale after a while. So I start fresh with new rituals at the start of each new session. This has been hugely successful with both parents and kids!

The kids are a bit sad to say goodbye to the old routines at the end of the session, but they also get excited to see what “new, weird things Ms Cate comes up with” on the first day of a new session. And by week two, they recall the old routines fondly, but they are also excited to repeat the new ones. And I think learning to tolerate a bit of the bittersweet sadness that comes with getting older is an important experience for kids and parents alike.

At some point, I stumbled upon a box full of perfect little paper squares. I believe they were originally cut for a Minecraft program. It gave me a kooky idea: Let’s make a special storytime keyboard! First, I showed the group an old keyboard. We passed it around, and let kids push the buttons. I explained that it was called a QWERTY keyboard because the first 6 letters…yaddayaddayadda…They all love the word QWERTY, btw.

Then I taped a big piece of contact paper on the wall sticky-side out. I invited storytimers to take turns picking squares, and placing them on the contact paper. As each kid came up, I stood by with a marker, and she told me what write on the key. We started with letters, and once we got the whole alphabet on the keyboard, we moved on to other stuff, leaves, flowers, animals… We had a ball.

Unqwerty

I brought our “storytime keyboard” each week, and used it to “type out” each storytimer’s name as a good-morning routine. The kids loved this greeting activity. More importantly, this little ritual enabled me to get all my storytimers’ names down by week 2! I can very, very tricky. And, of course, this has great letter knowledge practice going on!

Happy FF! I am hosting the FFRU, so stay tuned!


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Flannel Friday Round-Up: January 23, 2015!

Hello all! It’s been a billion years since I last hosted a FFRU!

***UPDATE! See newbie #2 Erin Davison***

Let’s begin with two FFRU-Newbies!

#1 Melody (aka the Storytime Bandit…ADORABLE!) knocks it out of the park with this flannelization of Shape By Shape by Suse MacDonald! Welcome Melody!

#2 The lovely Erin Davison shows off a foxy little flannel.

Next, we have Fun With Friends Storytime! Kathryn offers up this very festive flannelized 5 or 10 Birthday Candles. Incidentally, she matches this flannel story with my all-time favorite birthday book: Don’t Spill the Beans by Ian Schoenherr.

Lisa gets sneaky at Thrive After Three. She dreamed up a brilliant way to make One Mitten by Kristine O’Connell George interactive! She hides these amazing big yellow mittens under the carpet squares in the storytime room! Brilliant!

Look out, Bunnies! Don’t snooze on Anne’s parachute! You might get a pretty wild awakening. She uses Kathy Reid-Naiman’s”Sleeping Bunnies” for this brilliant activity in Parachute Playtime.

Storytime Katie is already looking ahead to springtime…Chicago winters can really get you down! So she’s got her butterflies on sticks and ready to flutter! 

My hat’s off to Laura’s of Laura’s Storytime Adventures. Check out the gorgeousness that is her flannelized Hurray for Hat! by Brian Won.

Here’s my nonFF…This is an oddball UnQWERTY keyboard thingy that we made in Toddler Time.

And Jane of Piper Loves the Library is partying with the Pigeon for Take Your Child To the Library Day.


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Flannel Friday: Fall Is Pretty Scary, a Halloween Hack

Let’s hop into my time machine and travel back to July of 2011 when I posted my fifth Flannel Friday post: an adaptation of Fall Is Not Easy (FINE for short) by Marty Kelley. I love this book, as many of my #FFRU friends do!  In fact, FINE was the very first book I ever read in storytime. The kids and I? We all went bananas for it. I look forward to reading it in storytime every year.

Anyway, every year, I struggle to find great Halloween books. Most of the good ones fly out the door by the end of September, and all we’re left with are some holiday-themed stinkers. Last year, I decided to pick a favorite non-Halloween picture book, Clip Clop by Nicola Smee, and adapt it for Halloween.

I like traditions. And it came to me pretty suddenly over the weekend (after a conversation about Halloween programming with @RebeccaZDunn of Sturdy For Common Things) that FINE is perfect for a fangtastic remix. So here we are: another year, another Halloween Hack: Fall Is Pretty Scary!  Here is a PDF, feel free to download, & make your own.

Hannah is our intrepid hostess this week, and she is Lovin’ the Library…Thanks Hannah!

Happy Halloween!!!

 

 

 

 


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How Would I Put Phil Shapiro’s Knight News Challenge Project to Work in My Library?

I’m glad you asked!!

When I read the Knight Foundation’s special invitation to libraries for submissions to the Knight News Challenge, I didn’t run to put a submission together myself. Instead, I made a vow to keep an eye on the submissions. You see, I’m a librarian on the front lines of library service. I don’t always have a say in what equipment gets purchased or what programs get implemented in my library. I can make suggestions and write proposals, of course, but ultimately, the final word comes from the administration and board of directors at my library. And you know what? I’m cool with that. The fact is, there is a spectacular amount of freedom and creativity on the implementation-side of librarian work.
So when the proposal started pouring in, (Whoa! There are 680 library submissions! YAY LIBRARIES!) I decided that, rather than submit my own proposal, I’d try a thought experiment: What would I do with my favorite Knight News Challenge Project?

So I got to work…

The first step was to read through as many submissions as I could in a reasonable amount of time. I chose a few of my favorite project ideas, and started brainstorming. Then I had to pick my pony, and run with it. In the end, there was one submission that got my library mojo going. It was this entry submitted by Phil Shapiro’s entry: Video Booths at Libraries to Create Charlie Rose Style Interviews to Capture the Best Ideas From People Who Are Not Famous.
Video booths are a fantastic idea for public libraries, and I think there many ways we can put them to use. Building one from scratch is feasible, but a huge endeavor for a small library. Being a children’s librarian, I’m usually thinking in the youth services context, but I think it’s a flexible concept that could be riffed on for a wide variety of purposes and audiences. The main objective is largely influenced by my two major professional and personal heroes: Fred Rogers and Vivian Paley. This summer, I dove into two interrelated research projects. I find that their ideas have shifted the foundation of my day-to-day world, and allowed me to deepen my connections to the community in which I work. Moreover, my research lead me to develop two experimental library programs based on the work of these early child development visionaries.

1) Family and Community Storytelling based on the work of Vivian Paley

I wrote about Little Authors in an earlier post. It’s a story dictation program for kids 3-8. Kids tell stories to an attentive adult who writes down their story verbatim. I think a video booth would allow this program to grow in unimaginable ways. One of my “crazy, over-the-top goals” would be to develop a community-based web series like Written By A Kid. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it, I recommend watching Scary Smash ASAP.
Of course, once you start thinking what it means to collect family & community stories, there is no limit to what a library can do. The Atlantic published a story on the importance of family storytelling on young children. What Kids Learn From Hearing Family Stories had a big impact on me. I talk about this article with in storytime, and encourage the parents who attend my storytimes with their children every chance I get. Here are a few more ideas for implementing participatory projects designed around public library video booths:
Puppet Time & Puppet Talk Show: When our library play area is particularly full, I grab our large collection of puppets, and set up spontaneous Puppet Time. Every kid picks one puppet out of the pile, and we spend an hour developing  a character for that puppet. I ask the kids, what is your puppet’s name, how would s/he walk, talk, laugh, dance etc. I have some of the most interesting, hilarious, imaginative conversations with kids and their puppets. I would love to develop this idea further, and turn it into an improvisational talk show, where I or another adult interview participants and their puppets

2) The Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of the 21st Century starts in the public library

Over the summer, I started a comprehensive research project based on the work of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and frankly, it has transformed my life inside and outside the library. No where is this more true than in the storytime room, and my reference interactions with parents. Fred Rogers’ core philosophy was “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” In fact, this is why the video booth concept is so perfect for public libraries. There are countless simple ways to use video booths to give community members a voice, and bring people together through the sharing of ideas, experiences, beliefs, questions, etc.
The simplest way is simply to pose simple, specific, yet open-ended, questions-of-the-week to parents who frequent the library, and request informal, off-the-cuff answers in 30s or less. Here are just a few examples of good questions to “ask your neighborhood”.
  • Ask about memories…
    • What was your favorite toy/book/story as a child?
    • What is your earliest autumn/summer/winter/spring memory?
    • Did you ever help your sister/mom/dad/teacher do something that made you feel especially proud?
  • Ask about parenting experiences…
  • What questions does your child ask you the most?
  • What is your child most curious about?
  • What is the single most important piece of advice you can offer a 1st-time parent?
  • What is single most important piece of advice you can offer a parent who is about to have kid #2?
  • What is your best parenting lifehacks!
  • What is their weirdest question your child has ever asked?
  • Ask the neighborhood about work/jobs/hobbies (hopefully some of them actually love their work)
    • Can you describe your job in under 10 words? (e.g. I often describe being a children’s librarian as “I read picture books for a living”)
    • What is the most interesting/funniest thing you’ve ever done or seen at work?

3) Voice Donation in the Public Library***

***This 3rd possible application is 100% speculative! Like I said, this is a thought experiment…

I have one BIG DREAM public service project that might be ideal for a video booth. Actually, it doesn’t require video so much audio, but I assume the video booth could be developed with audio-only recording in mind, as well. Like I said, this is a highly speculative project since the technology is still in the development stage. But, after all, so is this Knight Foundation grant proposal. I figured, why not blend these two speculative ideas together? You can learn more about this incredible technology on the VocalID website.
I learned about  Rupal Patel’s TedTalk from February 2014. It’s an inspiring call to action for the Human Voice Bank Initiative and VocaliD. Next, I thought of Sharon Draper’s 2012 bestseller Out of My MindI concluded that these two brilliant minds offer an opportunity for a World Voice Day Symposium.
Background
Rupal Patel
Patel has developed a method for creating synthetic voices for people with profound speech disorders by blending the recipient’s vocal identity features (age, body size, personality) with the speech clarity features of a matched voice donor.  Here’s how Ted describes her:

“Many of those with severe speech disorders use a computerized device to communicate. Yet they choose between only a few voice options. That’s why Stephen Hawking has an American accent, and why many people end up with the same voice, often to incongruous effect. Speech scientist Rupal Patel wanted to do something about this, and in this wonderful talk she shares her work to engineer unique voices for the voiceless.”

Here are links to her Ted Talk and her post on the TedBlog: Everything You Need to Know About Donating Your Voice. I think VocaliD and public libraries make an ideal collaborative match. What is more, a video booth would provide the perfect tool to support voice donation opportunities to patrons.
Sharon Draper

Draper’s novel, Out of My Mind is about Melody, an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who obtains a computerized speech device for the first time, and how she navigates the experiences she faces as she adjusts to her new abilities. While Draper doesn’t overtly assign racial identities to any characters in the story, I think Melody’s story is about the intersection of race and disability.  I believe this book provides a unique opportunity for a nuanced conversation about the particular struggles an African American family faces when dealing with healthcare providers and educators.

PROGRAM: World Speech Day Celebration/Symposium (April 16) with speakers Rupal Patel and Sharon Draper.
AGE GROUP: All Ages, with break out sessions for kids and adults.
GOALS: Technology: Host a VocaliD Voice Drive, and offer ongoing voice donation services through the DML. Voice donation requires the donor to read or repeat 3200 sentences into a recording device. The entire process takes 2-3 hours from start to finish, and it can be broken down into 15-minute segments.Civic Engagement: Voice donation offers patrons the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people with severe speech disabilities, in exchange for a few hours of their time in the DML.  Public libraries can add voice donation an optional activity for the summer reading program.

One Last Thing…er, um, correction…Two or Three Last Things.

1) Knight News Challenge people: You are awesome! Thank you for this challenge!

2) Good luck to all the librarians and library supporters who are putting the final touches on your submissions!

3) There are many inspiring submissions entered in this challenge! Join me, and try doing a thought experiment if you are so inclined! Oh! And PLEASE GO LOOK AT THE PHIL’S VIDEO BOOTH ENTRY BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME!!!


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Flannel Friday: Early Bird Prop Story

TODDLER STORYTIME IS BACK IN SESSION!!!!

A Flannel Friday dropout NO MORE!! I haven’t had a #FF to post in a zillion years! I can’t promise to post #FFs as regularly as I have in the past, but I have one this week. Anyway, here’s a prop story for a brilliant little picture book: Early Bird, by Toni Yuly.

Early Bird by Toni Yuly

Early Bird by Toni Yuly

This is a perfect book for baby and toddler storytime. The illustrations are bold. The language is simple. The concepts are concrete. And yet, in spite of all this simplicity–or perhaps because of all this simplicity–the story delivers a boat-load of drama and character development. This makes it an ideal choice for a prop story.

If you haven’t read this picture book yet, YOU MUST!! Here’s a summary…SPOILER ALERT: Early Bird features a surprise ending, so if you want to experience this twist in real time, read this post after you read the book. However, the story is told in less than 100 words. If you’re reading this, you are a grownup, so I’m guessing you don’t mind the spoilers. But I digress… I am paraphrasing. Early bird wakes up. She stands up as tall as she can. Then she gets going. As she walks, she passes grass, flowers, a spider web, rounds a corner, enters the garden. In the garden she meets a worm. She picks up the worm, lays it on a big juicy strawberry, and then… She and the worm share the strawberry for breakfast. The last page shows early bird and worm singing a morning song.

We are very fortunate at my library to have a jam packed storage room. Well, sometimes we’re fortunate to have such a great storage room, and other times it turns into an unholy mess. Anyway, this is not one of those artsy fartsy #FF. This was quick and dirty, and ready to go in under 10 minutes. Here’s the whole spread:

here's the whole kit & kaboodle.

here’s the whole kit & kaboodle.

Early bird……….finger puppet

grass…………….green felt

spider web……..white die cut spider web (laminate)

flower bed………leis

worm…………….rubber band, cut so that it’s all squiggly & wormish

strawberry………strawberry plushy

corner……………milk crate

path……………..brown felt

garden…………..sheet from Ikea leftover from SRC13

Here’s a close up of the finger puppet, worm, and strawberry. They are a little hard to make out in the 1st photo.

 

First we read the book aloud. Then we did a few different activities. Then I pulled all this junk out, and we retold the story using the props. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Ms Kelly at the Library is hosting the #FFRU! Thanks Kelly!  Don’t forget to check out the pinterest for lots of flannely goodness.

 


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Write This Down: Story Dication and Vivian Gussin Paley, You’re My Hero!

This gorgeous image was created by our soon-to-be-former graphic designer, Colleen Kelly. We are all so sad, but happy for her. She's amazing!!

This gorgeous image was created by our soon-to-be-former graphic designer, Colleen Kelly. We are all so sad, but happy for her. She’s amazing!!

This summer I started a program at my library that is very close to my heart both professionally and personally. Little Authors is a story dictation program inspired by the work of the visionary preschool teacher and McArthur Genius Grant recipient Vivian Gussin Paley. If you have not read any of her books, you must immediately. Er, wait, I said that wrong… If you haven’t read ALL of her books, you must find them, and read them immediately. Her body of work covers a wide range of unconventional child development issues: from the peculiarities of three year-old behavior in Mollie is Three to moral philosophy of young children in the Kindness of Children.  Honestly, I don’t know how to describe her writing other than to say that each of her books is a dose of vital life-force.  They are all unique and unputdownable.

The focus of each book draws from Paley’s 35 years as a lower school teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. Here’s where the “personal” connection comes in, Lab is my high school alma mater.

Let’s just say, transferring to Lab was the best thing that ever happened to me. My life changed the day I walked through the doors of that school. I was embraced by every student, teacher, and PTO member from day one. If you want to know what my experience was like at Lab, and what my classmates were like listen to this clip from This American Life. They are pretty amazing people, and a good chunk of my senior class had spent their early years in Mrs. Paley’s classroom. As I read her books, I picture little Mollie Stone, Patrick Sellers, Dima Khalidi, Kareem Saleh, etc; and I feel the dumb, gooey grin spread across my face. My classmates never outgrew Mrs. Paley’s awesomeness. I wholeheartedly believe, was a major influence on the people they grew up to be.

When I started at Lab, I quickly realized I would be at the bottom of the class. But this bottom was different than the one at my grammar school and junior high. My classmates were smart…scary smart. But more importantly, they were open, warm, inspiring, and supportive. After years of disapproval in school, for the first time in my life I held up as an example of a “great kid”. Lab is a progressive ed school. So there were no bells.  My classmates had never been tortured by spelling tests, multiplication tables, or sentence diagrams like I had in grade school. As a result they couldn’t spell, so they used spell check. They couldn’t add, so they used calculators to finish up their calculus problems. Every classroom was filled with stimulating debates, discussions, jokes, and imaginings. My sister used to joke, that the kids at my school “couldn’t spell worth a damn, but when a sociology professor presented his research findings to a group of high school juniors in a Lab assembly, they’d better prepare for tough questions.” In other words, it was nerd heaven.

And obviously, it took a lot of wonderful people to make Lab what it is.  But the more I read and re-read her books, I am convinced that the foundation of awesomeness was built in Vivian Paley’s early childhood classroom.

I’ve read many teacher-conducted interviews with Paley.  In each one, the interviewer inevitably asks something like “Your wonderful books on your classroom experiences with young children show what an excellent observer of children you are. Can you talk about the specifics of how you managed to do this while teaching?” Here’s her response from an interview that appears in Learning Landscapes:

I found out that observing, listening recording, re-observing, recommending, and writing it all down was the same thing as teaching.I found out that observing, listening, recording, re-observing, re-commenting, and I discovered that it was this ongoing narrative that in fact matched the child’s own discovery of an ongoing narrative—call it play, dramatic play. It was a very exciting realization for me. It meant that I was always in my own laboratory and the questions that I had would be answered eventually right there. All I needed to do was listen to the children while they played, and join the conversations engendered by play. 

In other words, there are no “specifics”. Listening to children, and interpreting the things children is a difficult process for adults to master. In fact, time and time again, Paley, herself reports that it is a process she finds perpetually challenging and humbling. One of my favorite examples comes from Paley’s second book, Wally’s Stories: 

Wally: People don’t feel the same as grown-ups.

Teacher: Do you mean “Children don’t”?

W: Because grown-ups don’t remember when they were little. They’re already an old person. Only if you have a picture of you doing that. Then you could remember.

Eddie: But not thinking.

Wally: You never can take a picture of thinking. Of course not.

You can, however, write a book about thinking–by recording the conversations, stories , and playacting that take place as events and problems are encountered. A wide variety of thinking emerges, as morality, science, and society share the stage with fantasy. If magical thinking seems most conspicuous, it is because it is the common footpath from which new trails are explored. I have learned not to resist this magic but to seek it out as a legitimate part of “real” school.

Early on in her career, Paley decided to play the long game when it came to student performance.  And it led her to wildly profound insights into the follies of grown-up thinking. I love putting kids in the driver’s seat, and seeing where they take me. So of course, I love another thing Paley said later on in the Learning Landscapes interview:

Let’s go back to “peekaboo,” the beginning of story. The adult didn’t invent it—the adult merely added some more words…the infant not yet having gotten to that stage.  But it’s the infant who begins the story: “Where is that nice smiling person? Gone. Will she come back? I’m afraid. Ah here she is, back again. Peekaboo, peekaboo.” This is the beginning of the child as his own narrator. It is the child’s job in our cultural history of mankind—this is the learning tool, the job of asking her own question and then playing around and finding out the options. What we tend to do is bring the answers, the adult-established answers, to so many subjects earlier and earlier into a child’s life. Now, what is the task of early childhood? I would say, number one, to learn to listen to others—and you do want to listen to others when they’re telling you stories and to learn to express your own narrative. You want very much to give them back the gift that they have given you. And then, we play around with the combination of a half a dozen different narratives and see where they go: “What if the mother and baby do this? What if there’s noise at the door? What if there’s a big wind and it looks like a hurricane? What if the bad guy comes and where is Superman? Are the pirates good or bad? Are pirates always bad?” No end to it. It is the beginning of abstract thinking, of concentration, of focusing on a subject, and focusing on people.

Everyday, I strive to set a similar tone with the kids and caregivers who visit the library. Little Authors was motivated by this goal. And I want to get to that part of the post. So for now, I will get on to how the program worked…

Vivian Paley didn’t invent story dictation as an early childhood education practice. She did, however, innovate the hell out of it by making it the central focus around which all other classroom activities revolved.

Anyway, in the library story dictation is a deceptively simple early learning activity. In fact my library soul sister, Rebecca Zarazan Dunn, totally independent of me, experimented with it at Chattanooga Public Library. She had the brilliant idea to crash the Lego Club on the 2nd Floor for a little spontaneous story dictation. She wrote about it on Sturdy for Common Things. So it’s a very flexible activity. All you need is paper, pencils, and your undivided attention. Ask a child to describe an event, idea or person; and write down the words exactly as the child says them. Then read the story back to her, and watch her face light up in pride & triumph! I’m sure this sounds ridiculous, but it really is that simple. I tried to write out a program outline, but it looked like this:

Little Authors

Prep: 15 minutes

1) Set up a story dictation corner in one corner of the program room using floor pillows. Sharpen several pencils, and fill a clipboard with lined paper.

2) Set out lots of toys: puppets, dress-up stuff, blocks, picture books, play food, and anything else you can find that gets kids pretending. Also set up a drawing station with lots of blank paper, and mix in some coloring sheets. Dollars to donuts, the characters from both the books and coloring sheets will show up in the dictated stories.

3) If you want, you can also make a sign-up sheet. If a kid wants to tell a story they can write their name down. This will serve as your queue. Also, it’s a good idea to use name tags because names are important.

The Program

As the kids came in with their parents, I explained what we were going to do. A few parents asked, “Do I have to stay?” But when I explained what we were doing, I think they got curious. Only one parent out twenty from all three sessions stayed for the program. I even heard one parent say, “I’m so glad I stayed for this. What a fun thing to do in the library.” #yay

Next, I just explained what we were going to do. I said, “So most of the time, when we’re in this room, I do most of the storytelling. And I always get the feeling that kids want to tell the stories. Have you ever felt like that?”

They responded with lots of nodding. And Joey, whose story you will read later, piped in, “I tell you lots of stories, Ms Cate, remember my stories?”

“I do, Joe! You tell lots of good stories. Today, I’d like to write them down, so we can read and reread them over and over, and remember them forever. Who wants to do that with me today?” They were all fired up and ready to go.

One by one, they joined me in the story corner. When a child sat down, I showed him a blank sheet of paper. I wrote his name at the top. I said, “Your story can be about anything you want. It can as long as one whole page. Or it can be as short as one word. Oh, and I need to talk kinda slowly, because I need to write down every word. And you can talk a lot faster than I can write. So if I need to catch up to what you’re saying I’ll say, ‘hold on, dude-man!’ I might also ask you some questions about some of the interesting details. That’s just because I’m curious, and I want to know more about what you are telling me. But you can just say that doesn’t matter, if it doesn’t matter.”

And we were off. It was super simple and fun. And the stories were mind-blowing. At the end of the session we all got together and I read one story from each kid (a few kids told me two or three stories). Enjoy!

Anna

First was a caterpillar. Then it eat lot of fruit and lots of vegetables and sweets. Then it turns to a cocoon. Ten days it stays in the cocoon. Then it opens and turns into a butterfly.

Austin, 5

So once upon a time there was a place. Well it was some kind of fun house, but some evil person named The Joker lived there. But one day the dynamic duo came and they knock the Joker out of the fun house. And the Joker went to jail. The Joker didn’t like jail at all.

Bella, 8

Once upon a time there was a fish named Fisher. He loved to play all day. He loved his parents, but they had to go away, now. And now he lives with his big brother and sister and small brother and sister. He had a neighbor, and he thought he could play with her but she was busy because she was moving far away. They just started today though. So she had a little time to play but after they play her parents call her and all they have left to do is move a mattress through a door. The door is ginormous. It was one foot bigger than the mattress. His big sister though they should go to the beach. The beach was a perfect place to hang out. The big sister had to go somewhere really quick. So after the beach she took her brothers and sister back home. So she could go to do her job. “It was so much fin hanging out with my family.” One day their parents came back and they had a celebration. There were games, cake, and food. It’s fun hanging out with my whole family.

Colette, 4

The man cracked the stairs. And then he cleaned and fixed the stairs. There was a little a little girl named Goldilocks. She lived with her mommy and daddy. There’s two bears: sister bear and brother bear. Daddy bear said, “Who squooshed the porch?” Goldilocks did! There’s a bad danger. Goldilocks saw the fierce, bad danger and she runned away!

Farhan, 4

The cat ate an apple. Then the dinosaur needed to eat an apple too. Then the dog wanted to eat an apple. And the elephant wanted to eat an apple.

The bunny wanted to eat a pear. The monkey wanted to eat a banana. The bird wanted to eat a pear. A frog wanted to eat an apple. Then a mouse wanted to eat a cheese. A kangaroo wanted to eat an apple.

A deer ate an apple. A cat ate a pear. The duck ate an apple. The octopus ate an apple. The cat ate a pear.

Joey, 5

Once upon a time there was a dinosaur. He’s a meat eater. And he eats meat. And a good dinosaur came up to him, and a bad dinosaur snapped the prey.

Maeve, 6, The Dancing Tooth

I want to tell about when I got my first tooth out. I went to Mommy. I went and got a tissue. Then Mommy pulled it out. It was bloody. I got a tissue and put it in my mouth.

I want to tell about my second tooth. Me and Daddy were watching TV in the bed and I just bended it and it comed out. I went  downstairs in Mommy’s office and I told her about it. Actually we were at Grandpa’s house.

Prisha, 4

One day the Little Red Riding Hood went to the Grandma’s house. But the big wolf chased her. But Grandma’s right here! But the Teddy Bear came and the Big Bad Wolf run away over there. The Teddy Bear play with Little Red Riding Hood and Grandma came back!

Laith, 6

Once long ago there was a creative guy. His name was Jones. He build a big giant robot with giant laser beam eyes. And he opened the garage door. And then he started destructing the whole city. The robot said, “You can’t stop my power. It was the millennium. When you connected the last piece you released me too! My dragons do their work. You need to stay here. I will suck up your soul into my eye. You can’t stop me from destroying the world. If you stay here I will chit chat with you. And if you stay here I will destroy the bridge with cars going across. I will make all the cars talk on the phone and topple into the sea.” The end.

Resources

Here is a list of books. These are my five favorite Vivian Paley books, plus a wonderful book by Ann Gadzikowski on the story dictation process. It is a wonderful resource. However, I don’t think you need to read it to get started with story dictation. The real meat of the Gadzikowski’s book how to use these stories as a tool for understanding how young children think. I will add to this in the future, but this will get you started:

Screenshot 2014-09-05 at 6.08.30 PM

Boston Public School offers an INCREDIBLE RESOURCE for anyone who is interested in story dictation. They offer videos of teachers supporting students in telling their stories. They are wonderful to watch, and wildly helpful. I think the best part is, they show you just how practical an activity this is.

In the end, there is no trick to bringing story dictation to your library. In the words of the great Fred Rogers:

“You’ve got to do it.
Every little bit
You’ve got to do it, do it, do it, do it
And when you’re through,
You can know who did it,
For you did it, you did it, you did it.”

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