A beginning word about Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR)

I have found that the most effective way to interject Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) principles (Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, Playing) into storytime without the parents eyes glazing over is to say at least one sentence per storytime.

 You could use your 3-ring binder to help create a “storytime commercial”.  When you turn to the page with a PowerPoint sheet below you would be clued in to add a ECRR tip. 

Letter Knowledge
Narrative Skills
Phono Awareness
Print Awareness
Print Motivation

I got some sample narratives from this site from Iowa’s Library Service Areas:  http://www.ilsa.lib.ia.us/ECL/buildkits.htm#resources

An example from this site (from the old ECRR but you could say what is in the bracket instead) would be:  “Rhymes and songs help teach “phonological awareness” – awareness of the sounds that make up words.  [Ever wondered why it is so important that you sing to your baby?]  You may have noticed that your child enjoys the way a nursery rhyme sounds even if it doesn’t make much sense to him.  When you introduce a new rhyme or song, repeat it at least twice.  Three times is even better.  And be sure to keep repeating the old, familiar rhymes.”

Saroj Ghoting – Early Childhood Literacy Consultant has several short sample narratives to share with parents that are ECRR 2 based (Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, Playing).  I mix it up and use the more simple terms and the jargon terms depending on my mood or audience.

Perry Public Library has several storytime themes in PDF that also have ECRR narratives that fit the theme.


DIY–Toddler Storytime

Ages 18 months and older have enough attention span for themes to be introduced.  Themes also lend themselves to teaching the basics of kindergarden readiness topics such as learning colors and shapes.  I usually have an easy craft that reinforces what we learned or something just fun for parents to put on the refrigerator.  Below is the handout I give to the caregivers before storytime starts so they can participate.  As with baby storytime, I have my 3-ring binder beside me on the floor with the rhymes enlarged in PowerPoint so caregivers can sing along.  The 3-ring binder actually guides the storytime and helps with my memory of what to do next. 

Ducks and Chickens and Birds
Toddler Food
So Big!

The rhymes in PowerPoint to put on display or in a 3 -ring binder beside you:
10 Fingers on My Hand
A farmer went trotting
Animals in the Jungle
Apples and Bananas
Boing Boing Squeak
Barnyard Dance
bumble bee
Bubble Bee
Caught a fish alive
Chubby Little Snowman
Eeny, meeny, miney, mo
Down by the Station
Farmer in the Dell
Farmer went trotting
Five Little Pumpkins
I can stand way up tall
Head and Shoulders
I take care of me
Itsy Bitsy Monkey
I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
Kiddle Collage
Peas Porridge
Sing a Song of Snowflakes
This is a Square
Tiger Pokey
Warm Days
Trash pictures

DIY– Baby Storytime

In my opinion, themes are not appropriate for ages 18 months and under.  The most important thing is that the books and rhymes are developmentally appropriate.  If you use a theme, you expend too much energy trying to find books that fit into the theme.  I have a list of my go-to books that I rotate. Luckily, Memphis Public received a grant from International Paper that has allowed me to have my own small collection of books to read for our Babies & Books storytime. Repeating rhymes and books is a good thing because it helps the babies feel secure because they know what is happening next.

Below is an extensive list of books many with pictures that are good for babies and good to share in storytime.  I do not recommend giving this list to parents, since it is all inclusive; give them a modified one with about ten books.

Books for Baby- With pictures

Next we need some age appropriate bounces, songs and rhymes in addition to the four that we repeat each storytime.  Based on Mother Goose on the Loose, I have added one Mother Goose rhyme to each session.  I pick the easier Mother Goose rhymes and ones that aren’t as morbid (Three Blind Mice is scary!).  Again, I rotate these often, so it can get a little boring for the adults (but hey, it isn’t for us!).  I LOVE when the regular babies are able to sing the song with me.

Rhymes for Baby

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Again, I place each of these rhymes individually in PowerPoint and place in a sheet protector so I can mix and match them in my 3-ring binder.  A “bounce” is the key to baby storytime.  Always have a least one bounce per storytime.  Usually, the caregiver bounces the child on their knee preferably looking at the mother (caregiver) creating a bond, however, in my experience all my moms have the baby look at me.  I suggest to them sometimes to hold their baby towards them, but for some reason it seems more natural for them to all face me.  I go with whatever they choose.  Action rhymes like Did you Ever See a Lassie lends the baby and caregiver to sway with the song.  Kissy Kissy Baby type rhymes has the caregiver performing the actions in the rhyme and Shoe the Old Horse has the caregiver stomping baby’s sock feet to the “bare, bare, bare” lyric.

Below is the PowerPoint’s for all these rhymes individually, the rhymes that have both elements of Traditional rhyme and bounce are in the middle:

Bounces or Action Rhymes       Both               Mother Goose or Traditional Rhymes
                                                                               Baa Baa Black Sheep
Bounce Me
                                          Diddle Diddle Dumpling
                                                                                Hickory Dickory
                                                                               Jack and Jill
                                                                               Jack be nimble
Kissy Kissy Baby
                                                                                 Muffin Man
                                      Noble duke of york
old macdonald
Patty cake
                                                                              Sing a song of sixpense
                                  Shoe the old horse
                                  Trot Trot to Boston
                                                                              Two little bluebirds

How to perform storytime for the very young

I am a children’s librarian in the Memphis Public Library system and have been hosting a Baby Storytime for about 3 years. I also do Toddler Storytime. I also have a 3 year old daughter. I created this site to help my collegues both at Memphis Public and others who perform Baby and Toddler Storytimes.

In Memphis, there is little opportunity for children under age 3 to experience storytime, unless you attend a storytime from the city’s or municipality’s libraries. Preschoolers, ages 4 and 5, can hear storytime at bookstores and other kid friendly venues in the city. I concentrate on a storytime for the very young, because I feel that the earlier you start listening to literature the better.
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I do both my baby and toddler storytime sitting on the floor.  I place receiving blankets (or carpet squares) on the floor for the caregiver and child to sit on.  In order for the parents to participate, I have a 3 ring binder that I have put the rhymes for the day.  I have the paper in a sheet protector so I can just change out the paper before each storytime.  However, I start and end every storytime the same way, in this order:

Opening: Hello song
               Open, shut them

Closing:  More we get together
               Goodbye song

These are the handouts that I give the parents:

Baby_Repeating Songs and Rhymes

Beyond the opening and closing, not much about baby and toddler storytime is the same. Click on the links below (or above) to read how I perform each:
Baby Storytime                 Toddler Storytime

Websites to help with storytime

Abby the Librarian Storytime.url

Awesome Storytime.url

Babies’ Lap Time.url

Baby Storytime Sing a Book Read Sing Play.url


Blog Silly Librarian.url


Issaquah Tuesday Toddler Story Time.url

My Baby Storytime Mel’s Desk.url

No Time For Flash Cards – Crafts, books, and learning for babies and kids..url

Pierce County Library Theme Packets.url

Popular Baby Storytime Books.url

Programming for Babies – Resources.url

Story Kits.url


Storytime themes Perry Public Library.url

Storytime Themes – Story Share.url

The Wielded Pen – Children’s Corner Storytime Outlines.url

Toddler Time Themes Falling Flannelboards.url

Toddler Storytimes 2 – Diane Briggs – Google Books.url

Why Story-Time Rocks — PEPS.url


ZERO TO THREE Homepage.url


Brimful Curiosities Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage – Book Review and Walrus’s Whiskers Craft.url

Busy Bee Kids Crafts Fun and Easy Crafts for Kids.url

Cheap & Easy Button Snake – Jonah Lisa Land.url

Crafts « Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime.url

HarperCollins Children’s Books – Kids Games and Contests Printables.url

Kid’s Book Club Book – Book Recommendations.url


Parenting Press Skill-Building Books for Parents, Teachers & Children.url

Pipe Cleaner Crafts Dazzling Duck Barnyard Animal Crafts FamilyFun.url

Homemade Toys Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers.url

Kern County Library – 100 Picture Books Every Child Should Know.url

KidsSoup Store Preschool activities and online games for kids.url

Play Create Explore Felt Rainbow Busy Bag.url

Read to me… – Reading Aloud.url

Shapes and Colors Busy Bag.url

Storytime_messages.doc – Google Drive.url

Opening and Closing Storytime

 I open and close both baby and toddler storytime the same way.  I usually give the handouts below to the parents on their first storytime class.


Opening sequence:  Hello Song then Open, Shut Them

Closing sequence:  The More We Get Together then Goodbye Song

I have added an additional rhyme for anytime there is a new participant.  Name Song–  When we do The Name Song we shake egg shakers or maracas to the beat of the song.  For toddlers, I will enunciate the syllables in their name with a shake for each syllable.