Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan - September 2016 Newsletter

every child ready to read

Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan  -  September 2016

In This Issue:

This Month's Wisdom...

"Not all two’s will have the fine motor skills to do finger plays, as three’s might, so adults can help with finger rhymes. Good rhymes to use have basic movements like opening and closing hands, pointing to various fingers in countdown rhymes, or using the whole arm in motions."

~ Sue McCleaf Nespeca 



Focus on Twos & Threes!


For the last newsletter I focused on babies. This month the focus will be on children ages two and three, and next month ages four and five. Some people refer to this storytime for twos and threes as “Toddler Storytime,” though I am quite frankly not fond of this designation. (See reflections below.)

Just a reminder that a webinar was already held on August 22 concerning storytimes for children ages two and three.  (By the way, on November 10, the final group, ages four and five, will be highlighted.) Again, like last month, I am not going to repeat here what was covered in the webinar, and I highly recommend that if you are interested in the topic, that you access the archived webinars when you have time, and listen to them. You can find them here: http://www.michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan/0,2351,7-160-62245-370596--,00.html Scroll down to webinars, and click on the date.

In the webinar for twos and threes, the following topics were covered: tips for incorporating books and activities on the five practices of ECRR (Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play) into storytimes; what types of books are recommended for these ages along with suggested titles; music and play activities for twos and threes, and fun activities that will assist in developing the small motor skills they will need later to learn to write, plus recognizing print and alphabet letters.

So mentioned here will be some other tips for storytimes for this age group that were not specifically covered in the webinar. First, here are some tips on conducting these storytimes: 

Twos & Threes Storytimes - Tip Sheet

 ·         For children ages two to three AND their parent/caregiver

·         The caregivers should participate in all activities –rhymes and songs - and help the child act out the motions or actions.

·         Not all two’s will have the fine motor skills to do finger plays as three’s might so adults can help with finger rhymes. Good rhymes to use have basic movements like opening and closing hands, pointing to various fingers in countdown rhymes, or using the whole arm in motions

·         Some younger children may watch and listen only, some will participate and some may appear to pay little attention or may attempt to wander around the room.

·         Storytimes are usually thematically arranged however if you do select a theme, make sure that every activity/book related to that theme is developmentally appropriate

·         Groups of 15 to 20 children with the caregiver is a manageable group

·         Adults usually sit on the floor with their child in front of them or some two’s may still sit on their lap

·         Librarian sits in front facing caregiver and children in a location where everyone can see

·         Books used should have one to two sentences per page as these children often have a short attention span

·         Have your first book be the longest text; if possible have at least one story that is more visual (i.e. using a prop, flannel or magnetic board story)

·         Because children are active, use short age-appropriate stories and quick activities that allow for a lot of movement

·         When offering a series of programs, try to repeat some activities from week to week, particularly an opener and  closer

·         Provide a sheet of activities used that day for caregivers to take home and use with children & have a display of appropriate books for two’s and three’s for check-out

·         Consult the following Resource Books:

 Briggs, Diane. Toddler Storytime Programs. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1991.

Briggs, Diane. Toddler Storytimes II. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 2008.

Hopkins, Carol Garnett Artsy Toddler Storytimes: A Year’s Worth of Ready-to-Go Programming. Neal-Schuman, 2013.

Maddigan, Beth and Stefanie Drennan. The Big Book of Stories, Songs, and Sing-Alongs: Programs for Babies, Toddlers, and Families. Libraries Unlimited, 2003.

Nichols, Judy. Storytimes for Two-Year-Olds. Third edition. American Library Association, 2007.

Very Ready Reading Program. Manual for 2’s and 3’s. Upstart/Demco. 2014 Sue McCleaf Nespeca & Pam Schiller, authors. 

Sue's Suggested Template for a Twos & Threes Storytime



Opener (Song or Rhyme. Use same opener every week.)

Book Appropriate for Twos and Threes

Follow with any combination of two of these activities: Finger Play, Rhyme, Song, or Creative Dramatic/Stretch

Book Appropriate for Twos and Threes  

Follow with any combination of two of these activities: Finger Play, Rhyme, Song, Creative Dramatic/Stretch – Make sure one activity gets them up and moving

Book Appropriate for Twos and Threes

Follow with one (or two) of these activities: Finger Play, Rhyme, Song, Creative Dramatic

Closing Song or Rhyme (Use Same Every Week)

Share Time (Optional): choosing books specifically pulled for storytime, open-ended art, music, or other hands-on activity etc

New Books of the Month


My Very First Mother Goose. 20th Anniversary Edition. Edited by Iona Opie. Candlewick Press, 2016. 
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8891-2. $24.99.

This book is for babies but I just saw it after I wrote the last newsletter, so I wanted to mention that the 20th anniversary edition of this book was just re-released. It is a beautiful book filled with rhymes and Rosemary Wells colorful illustrations would make a great gift for babies and should be in every library collection.


Don’t Wake Up the Tiger.  Britta Techkentrup. Nosy Crow, 2016. 
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8996-4. $15.99.

Tiger is sleeping and blocking the way as fox, frog, tortoise, and stork, are trying to get past him with a bunch of balloons. Children are asked to get involved to make sure tiger stays asleep. Who are the balloons for? What happens if tiger gets awake? This is nice choice for two-and-three-year-olds, and could be used in storytime.


Animals. Ingela P. Arrhenius. Candlewick Studio, 2016. 
ISBN: 978-0763692681. $22.00.

Okay – this book will be difficult to shelve in a library collection. The size of the book is 18 inches by 13.5 inches! But what a wonderful book to share in a storytime about animals. There are familiar animals: Rooster, wolf, sheep, rabbit, crocodile, bear, snake, mouse, zebra, tiger, deer, fox, cat, cow, grasshopper, gorilla, lion, elephant, and owl, and two that might not be as well known, flamingo and toucan. Each is depicted on its own page and it would be great to have children guess the name of each animal. My only complaint is that the script with the animal’s name changes fonts from one page to another, and sometimes is difficult to read. And there is no excuse for writing the word “deer” the way it is shown. Despite these criticisms, I think very young children would love poring over this book. Just sit it on a table in your children’s section, and watch how children love paging through it. 

Websites of the Month


Language and Literacy Skills from 24 – 36 Months


This is a wonderful site to recommend to parents OR to share some of the tips in a program you do for children ages two and three, OR to make a handout for parents of children this age. The site has tips to help support a child’s development of language and literacy skills from 24-36 months. Here are a few of my favorite tips from this site: 1. Talk together often 2. Give child toys that encourage him/her to act out stories 3. Ask open-ended questions that don’t have a yes/no answer 4. Make up rhymes, recite child-friendly poems, and sing songs with your child; 5. Help your child build and grow her sentences 6. Play the telephone game 7. Ask your child to tell you the story of a favorite book using the pictures on each page and 8. Let you child choose her own books to read.

Literacy Milestones: Birth to Age 3


This site helps parents assess what language accomplishments are typical for most children from birth to age three based on current research in the field. For example, by age three children should be: Pretending to read books; Understanding how books should be handled; sharing books with an adult as a routine part of life; naming some objects in a book; and Talking about the characters in a book.

Surprise—It’s STEM for Toddlers!


If you missed it, this School Library Journal article talks about using books which encourage STEM activities with toddlers and young preschoolers during the time in their lives that one of their constant questions is “Why?” The article suggests that librarians encourage parents by modeling how to talk to tots about math concepts during play-based programs and storytimes in libraries.  



Toddler Storytimes --- Is your storytime REALLY for toddlers?

Toddlers are children who are just beginning to learn to walk. They are rather unsteady, and this is described as toddling.  Most babies take their first steps sometime between 9 and 12 months and are walking well by the time they're 14 or 15 months old, though for a few children, it might be as late as 16 or 17 months. After the child is walking steadily, they are no longer normally considered a toddler. So, if your library advertises a storytime as a “Toddler Storytime,” that should mean it is a storytime for children ages 12 months to 24 months tops. For most libraries, these ages would still be part of a baby storytime. Thus, calling a storytime for two-year-olds a toddler storytime is really a rather inaccurate use of the term. What we also know is that children ages two and three are much more developmentally alike and at the same stage than children who are ages four and five. So if you do not use the word “toddler,” what term do you use? My three storytimes were Baby Storytimes, Storytime for Twos and Threes, and Preschool Storytimes for children ages four and five. I also always had at least one family storytime where children of different ages, in the same family, could come to the same storytime. If you have a storytime for children ages two and three, and you have an innovative name for it, I would love to hear what it is. Email me at sue@kidlitplus.com