Members share their successful storytime tips and routines on this page. But wait, there's more! We also have Storytime Resources and Preschool Library Curriculum pages.

Routine Name



Good Listener Posters

This is the BOY version of "a good listener". I also have a girl version posted in the library.
Before each storytime, I review what a good listener looks like. This helps to remind the students of my expectations during a readaloud. From time to time, I will point to the poster during the readaloud if I see that a student needs to correct a behavior. These posters work wonders. I am able to correct the behavior without using words and without interrupting the story. (Keisa Williams)
Good Listener (BOY version)

Sitting in the story area

  1. Ears are listening for instruction
  2. Remain in line order
  3. Only 3 students per bench (when no more benches, wait for Ms. K to direct)
  4. Turn into a SUPER Student (see SUPER poster)

*Sit up straight
  • Use complete sentences to ask and answer questions
  • Participate with your whole body
  • Eyes follow the speaker
  • Responsible listeners use cares always.

Bodies “look like” the “Good Listener” Poster (This poster works best for grades K-3)
  • Feet on the floor
  • Eyes on the speaker
  • Mouth is silent
  • Hands are folded in lap
  • Body is still
  • SMILE!
(Keisa Williams)
(see Good Listener poster above)

Super Poster

Reinforce Author & Illustrator w/ Images and Songs

Each time you read a book to students, take the time to show them an image of the author and the illustrator (Print them on cardstock and post them during your readaloud. Keep them posted around the library throughout the year). This reinforces the fact that the author and illustrator are REAL people. You'd be surprised at how many of my students thought that Dr. Seuss was a cat LOL!
(Keisa Williams)

These songs also help:

Author Song (Sung to the tune of Hi-Ho Dairy-O with hand motions like you are writing)
The author writes the words,
The author writes the words,
Hi-Ho Librari-O,
The author writes the words.

Illustratior Song (Sung to the tune of Fr’ere Jacques with hand motions like you are painting)
Il-u-stra-tor, I-lu-stra-tor
Draws the pictures
Draws the pictures
I-i-lu-stra-tor, I-i-lu-stra-tor, (the I’s have to last two counts in this line)
Draws the pictures,
Draws the pictures

Just GOOGLE the author's name to find an image.

DRTA Reading Strategies

Use these posters during readalouds. Choose 1 strategy per readaloud. Encourage students to use the sentence frames for each strategy.
Students MUST speak in complete sentences when responding to questions in the library...NO MATTER WHAT!
(Keisa Williams)
Click here to download all 9 posters (doc)

Conversation Club

The Conversation Club by Diane Stanley is a great book to teach the importance of listening. Peter Fieldmouse is overwhelmed by the Conversation Club members, where everyone speaks at the same time and no one pays attention to what anyone is saying. He decides to form a listening club instead.
Unfortunately this book is no longer in print, so try interlibrary loan if you don't have it...well worth it! (Nancy Alibrandi)
Find it at your local library using WorldCat!

Storytime Rug

Never underestimate the power of a storytime rug. I bought one this year (from the teen line at Demco), and it has made all the difference. Kids know the boundaries and are less likely to wander or inch away. My rug (pictured at right) has swirls and circles on it. I might ask kids to sit on a particular color circle or swirl before we start. Rugs can be expensive but when I ordered my rug from Demco, the sale price had just ended. I asked if there was another discount code I could use, and lo and behold, the lady gave me a different prefix for my rug's item number, saving me almost $100. It never hurts to ask!) Several teachers ask for rugs on, I've noticed. (Regina Hartley)
external image p179965552_40122_thumb.jpg?sc_id=1274978399

Storytime Songs

Hands Go Up

To the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"

"Hands go up and hands go down,
I can turn myself around,
I can stand up on one shoe,
I can listen, so can you,
I can sit, I'll show you how,
Storytime is starting now."

I use this with PreK and Kindergarten classes to work out the wiggles before we start. We do the actions and they love it! It has even helped me improve my balance. I always point at a couple of kids when I sing "so can you." The neat thing about this song is that as the kids turn around and stand on one foot, they are also spreading themselves apart so that they are not crowding each other when they finally sit down. (Regina Hartley)

The Listening Song

(Tune: Frere Jacques/Are You Sleeping?)

"Eyes are watching,
Ears are listening,
Lips are closed,
Hands are still,
Feet are very quiet
You should really try it,
Listening well, listening well."

Used with PK-K.
(Ann Mengel)
Video for "Are You Sleeping?"

Ready to Listen


I wiggle my fingers (hands in air wiggle fingers)
I wiggle my toes (look down and wiggle toes)
I wiggle my shoulders (move shoulders)
I wiggle my nose (wiggle nose)
Now, no more wiggles (pointer finger wiggles)
Are left in me (thumbs point to self)
So I will be still (big clap)
As still can be (whisper this last line and fold hands in lap)

I do this with Child Development and Kindergarten after they come in and sit down on the rug.

Storytime Poems

These are two "storytime poems" I use before storytime, similar to the ones above. I think I found them on LM_NET.

Sometimes my hands are in the sky
Sometimes my hands do like to fly
Sometimes my hands go snap, snap, snap
Sometimes my hands go clap, clap, clap
But now they're quiet as can be
Because it's storytime, you see!

Make one eye go wink, wink, wink
Make two eyes go blink, blink, blink
Make two fingers stand just so
Then ten fingers in a row
Back and forth your head will rock
Make your fists go knock, knock
Now fold your hands and help me say
A very quiet sound today...shhhh.

See video to the RIGHT with hand motions >>>>>>>
Chigga chigga whole potata
Half past alligata
Bim bam bullagata
Give three cheers for the dippy dappy happy sappy readers!
Are we happy?
Well I guess!
Readers! Readers! Yes Yes Yes!

(Susan Eley)

Ready to Listen

Here is one that I use with my Pre-K and Kindergarten classes. I can't remember the source!

These are my grandma's glasses (make glasses on eyes with circled fingers)
This is my grandma's cap (put your hands like a tent on top of your head)
This is how she folds her hands,
And puts them in her lap. (Fold hands and place them in your lap as you are seated criss-cross)

(Amy Blaine)

Ready Rhyme

If you are seated on your bottom with your legs crossed and your eyes this way, You're ready You're ready You're ready Yea!

My school is Pre-K through 1st grade. We start each Storytime with a rhyme or finger-play. We work on several seasonal ones foe about a month at a time. Some of them are found in Hand Rhymes by Marc Brown. We use these as filler activities if we are waiting in line for our teacher as well. We have a 5-Star Listener poster in our story area. We have kiva steps that we sit on "criss-cross applesauce." just like the child in the poster. Our five check points are eyes, ears, lips, hands and feet. If a look doesn't take care of it, I usually just give simple reminders to those having difficulty like eyes, or hands (if someone is touching a neighbor.) We sit on cut-outs that match various themes during the year so we don't crowd each other. That is important because you need to do motions in many of our stories! We use lots of puppets, stuffed animals and student participation. We had a Cookie Monster video clip on the theme letter of the week this last year for Pre-K from our Safari Montage collection. Cookie Monster wouldn't come out unless we were being 5-star listeners.
(Donna Bills)
Use sign language motions. Clap at the end.


Do Re Read Mi a story! Music and Movement Storytime

A music and movement storytime blog post by Miss Mary Liberry.

Favorite kindergarten read-alouds

These are "best hits" at our schools
Kindergarten Readalouds

Criss-Cross Applesauce

All of my preK through 2nd grade story times start with this rhyme. Years ago one of the teachers used to use "Criss cross, applesauce", so the 2nd graders and I decided to expand it. The students love to do the rhyme-- last year the high school girls' softball team saw me at a street fair and insisted on showing me that they still remembered it.

Criss cross, applesauce.
Hands on lap, gingersnap.
Lips sealed, orange peel
Open ears, root beer.
Open eyes, french fries.
Back straight, chocolate shake.
Heads up, Reese's Cup!

Alan Katz; David Catrow
I use the Poem from Alan Katz book: Are Your Quite Polite:

(To the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)
When Your In the Library
Quiet is the Way to Be
Please Talk Softly
Make the Choice
Only use your indoor voice
Libraries are full of joys
But they can't be full of noise
Someone is a bit to loud (getting louder)
We don't need a one kid crowd
I won't beat round the bush
Please be still won't you shush
I will have to ring this bell
And I'm going to start to YELL (quite loud but not yet yelling)
QUIET IN THE LIBRARY (yelling now)!!!
oops the noisy one is me (whispering)

After a few times the students sing it with me. Even the 3rd graders request it.

Storytime Attention Song
During my internship, my cooperating teacher (April Eichmiller) sang this song at the start of each story time and the kids LOVE it. She made the song up and it's the tune of Barney's song, I love you.

"I am happy to see you,
Thanks for visiting me,
Welcome to the library
Where voices are hushed and eyes
are up front to look
Now...sit down and listen to this lovely book!"

Another is this chant she made up where one student says it and the others repeat.

"We are ready
Our eyes are straight ahead
Our hands are to ourselves
Now...Please read us a book from one of the shelves"

Ready for Storytime
Standing up:
Can you hop like a rabbit? (use hands above heads as ears or in front of you bent at wrists)
Can you jump like a frog? (spring high!)
Can you walk like a duck? (use arms to make wings)
And run like a dog? (we usually pant with our tongues out after we say this one)
Can you fly like a bird? (arms out big especially if we say "eagle" instead of "bird" - small flappy wings if we say "little bird")
And swim like a fish? (hands with palms together swishing through water)
Can you sit, still as can be, just like THIS? (sit on "this)

Ready for Story
Standing: (with thanks to Jennifer Struss who taught me this one)
My two hands go clap, clap, clap
My two feet go tap, tap, tap
My two fists go thump, thump, thump (on chest)
My two feet go jump, jump, jump
My one body turns around
then ver-y qui-et-ly sits down.