Supercharged Storytimes & the ECRR Project

every child ready to read

Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan  -  October 2017

In This Issue:

This Month's Wisdom...

"I love easy nonfiction books that tell a story, and yet the child learns some simple facts. Since the Every Child Ready to Read Project encourages us to use more nonfiction books in storytimes, it is always great to find one that works."

~ Sue McCleaf Nespeca, referring to "Give Bees A Chance" by Bethany Barton.


Supercharged Storytimes and the Every Child Ready to Read Project


For almost two years now, the Library of Michigan has been providing training and support for ALA’s Every Child Ready to Read Project. However, many of you might also have heard of the term “Supercharged Storytimes” and wonder what, if anything, it has to do with the Every Child Ready to Read Project. This will be one topic to be included in the last webinar that the State Library is offering on November 28 at 2:00 p.m. (see more information on that webinar below in “Reflections.”)

Do public library storytimes make a difference? Is there evidence that these programs actually help children eventually learn to read? These are two of the questions that arose when the iSchool of the University of Washington was awarded two grants by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for their Project VIEWS (Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully) and VIEWS2 research. The basis of the VIEWS2 research was used when creating the Supercharged Storytime program. A VIEWS2 Planning Tool (VPT) was used to observe storytimes in forty libraries, and 240 storytime observations were conducted. The goal was for librarians to become more intentional with planning and reflecting on early literacy content in their storytime programs.

The VIEWS2 Planning Tool supports the practices of the Every Child Ready to Read Project 2nd edition, which describes five practices: talking, reading, singing, playing and writing. However, the terminology that was presented in the Every Child Ready to Read Project 1st edition also plays a part. Those six practices were: print motivation, print awareness, phonological awareness, vocabulary, narrative skills and alphabetic knowledge. So here are the VIEWS2 Early Literacy Domains: Communication, Language Use, Phonological Awareness, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Print Concepts, Alphabetic Knowledge, and Writing Skills.

In Supercharged Storytimes, for each of the above domains there is a chart of early literacy behaviors broken down by three age groups: birth to 18 months; 18 months to 36 months; and 36 months to 60 months.

By following suggestions from the VIEWS2 Planning Tool, librarians are asked to try out some of the behaviors, a little at a time. Here are some questions that can be asked:

1.       What is my plan for my storytime?

2.       How can I be intentional about incorporating some behaviors from the VIEWS2 early literacy domains into the activities I have designed around the ECRR practices?

3.       What early outcomes am I looking for in my storytime?

4.       How might I be interactive and engage with the children and parents or caregivers during my storytime?

5.       What impact is the early literacy focus of my supercharged storytimes having on the children and parents/caregivers who make up the community I serve?

6.       How can I articulate to my community and community partners how my supercharged storytimes support early literacy, strengthening children’s ability to enter school ready to learn to read?

Want more information on Supercharged Storytimes? Consider attending the webinar on November 28, and if you wish to invest yourself more fully in this project, consider purchasing the book that is mentioned on the website below. 

Recommended Websites on Supercharged Storytimes


Supercharged Storytimes: An Early Literacy Planning and Assessment Guide, published by ALA Editions, recommends “simple interactive ways to emphasize early literacy techniques and encourage children to use and practice their pre-reading skills while preserving the delight inherent in storytime.” And unlike other storytime resources, this offers guidance in performing assessment, as well as giving tips for planning and conducting storytimes.

WebJunction is a free resource that you can explore which will give you much information regarding Supercharged Storytimes. Here you can:

  • Access free archived orientation content through the Supercharged Storytimes course in the WebJunction catalog! Learners will be prompted to log-in to our free catalog and/or create a user account.
  • Review the Supercharged Storytimes orientation outline, which includes details on the learning objectives, core content, and dynamic social learning platform deployed in this program.
  • Access ideas and inspiration from fellow storytime providers at the Supercharged Library.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Project VIEWS2 research and resources for librarians and educators at the VIEWS2 website.

New Books of the Month


Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Eric Litwin. Orchard, 2017.  
ISBN: 978-0-545-88379-5. $17.99.

Here is the sequel to the popular Groovy Joe Ice Cream & Dinosaurs by the author of the first couple Pete The Cat books that everyone loved. The early Pete books were of course illustrated by James Dean, and his falling out with author Eric, led to a string of Pete the Cat books by Dean that mostly were not as popular with kids. Eric branched out on his own and wrote the Nut series, which were mildly popular until he hit upon his dog character, Groovy Joe. These books are very amusingly and successfully illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site). As with the first book, there is a link to the music at At the site, you can download Eric telling/singing the story, and you can download the “Disco Party Bow Wow” song. There is also a video of Eric and children doing the moves for the song, and there is a trailer for the book.  The story is a vehicle for simple multiplication (the most difficult problem being 4 + 4 = 8). You have got to give it to Eric, he knows how to get kids up on their feet and dancing --- which is great for storytimes!


Old MacDonald Had a… Zoo?  Iza Trapani. Charlesbridge, 2017. ISBN:  978-1-58089-729-7. $16.99.

Trapani is well-known for her song picture books where she takes a popular children’s nursery song, and then adds additional verses to make an enjoyable story. At best count, this is her 14th such book. This one however adds quite a twist on the traditional song. The first verse is conventional, with Old MacDoanld having a cow on his farm mooing away. But here comes the twist – the second verse “Old MacDonald in the sty…Saw a kangaroo hop by….With a hop hop up, and a hop hop down, her a hop, there a hop, Everywhere a hop hop, Mucky mud went flying high, E-I-E-I-O.” This verse is followed by a havoc-creating elephant, zebras, monkeys, and crocodile. He loads them all on his truck and returns them to the zoo, from where they had escaped. There have been numerous books lately with different themes on Old MacDonald, but this will make a great storytime choice, and the illustrations are very child-friendly. 

Give Bees a Chance. Bethany Barton. Viking, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-670-01694-5. $16.99

I love easy nonfiction books that tell a story, and yet the child learns some simple facts. Since the Every Child Ready to Read Project encourages us to use more nonfiction books in storytimes, it is always great to find one that works. This may be a tad long for the younger or restless group, but I think it could be shared with your older storytime kids that have been coming regularly and can handle longer stories. Either way, it is also a good choice for one-on-one story sharing and is by the award winning author of I’m Trying to Love Spiders. There are plenty of facts here presently humorously and with colorful appealing illustrations “Honeybees have hair on their eyes!” “Bees sometimes communicate by dancing!” “An average queen bee can lay up to 2,000 eggs in one day!” A nonfiction winner!




On November 28, the last webinar that is part of Library of Michigan’s two-year Every Child Ready to Read Initiative will be offered. I am hoping many of you will consider registering for the webinar here. There will be a short recap of the Every Child Ready to Read Project, and then information on Supercharged Storytimes, and finally information on Demco’s Very Ready Reading Program, which also centers on adding early literacy practices within your library storytimes.

You will be seeing more on the subject of Supercharged Storytimes in the future.

For example, ALSC (ALA) will be holding its 2018 National Institute on September 27-29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Sixteen programs total will be offered. One of the sixteen is entitled Every Child Ready to Read and Supercharged Storytimes: How these two research h-based projects connect and add value to early learning:

Research from the PLA/ALSC Every Child Ready to Read Project and VIEWS2 research that produced "Supercharged Storytimes" have overlapping early literacy domains/skills which promote early literacy behaviors for library staff, parents, caregivers and children. This program will address how librarians can use this knowledge to support early learning in storytime programs and throughout their community.

Also, OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. was awarded $249,969.00 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to further the Supercharged Storytime project. Here is a description of what they intend to do with this award granted:

“OCLC will partner with state and regional library systems, including New York State Library, Minnesota State Division of Library Services, and Southeast Florida Library Information Network, to expand the Supercharged Storytimes early literacy curriculum, and then deploy it nationally by offering a free self-paced online course for all library practitioners to access; training 100 facilitators to lead learning cohorts in their libraries using the online course; and training up to 20 expert online trainers to deliver the curriculum across each state and regional systems. The project will result in as many as 1,600 children's librarians nationwide better equipped to intentionally incorporate research-based concepts that promote literacy outcomes in young children during storytime programming. Collaborators on the project include the Public Library Association and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.”