A Guide to Children’s Storytime

1This site is all about creating exciting storytime routines in children’s lives and adding spark to storytime with dynamite picture books, eBooks, apps and music videos.

Friendships-Subway-ArtParents look to children’s librarians, teachers and caregivers to help nurture children’s enthusiasm for learning and discovery.  By creating an enjoyable storytime routine in the life of a child, you have the power to do just that.  If you already read to groups of kids (or only one), or if you want to create a new storytime routine, this guide is for you.  

There are four main sections to this guide:

  1. Magic Carpet Handbook:  A field guide to planning and conducting storytime.
  2. Children’s Material Reviews:  A database of traditional and new media reviews. 
  3. Curated collections of recommended materials for storytime, including: PictureBookWOW, Picture eBookWOW, AppWOW and MusicVideoWOW.  Check out the side bar to find menus for each of these collections.
  4. The Read-Aloud Blog is this website’s journal.  It includes all posts across storytimeWOW.com, including children’s material reviews, traditional and new media material recommendations, articles, posts about this website, guest blog posts and storytime news.

Storytime is a Magic Carpet RideFUN!Children are your passengers and you are the captain.  This website is a flyer’s field guide to becoming a great pilot.  The Magic Carpet Handbook will help you create a soaring program that excites kids with stories and keeps them engaged with music and movement.

Your Storytime Supplies

  • stories and story stretches come in various formats including picture books, sing-alongs, board stories, fingerplays, eBooks, apps, and children’s music videos
  • your storyteller’s toolkit  (voice, eyes, expressions, gestures & body language)
  • your listener’s unlimited imaginations
  • traditional and new media storytime technology
  • this guide

The WOW Factor!  There are tons of wonderful children’s materials out there, but many of them don’t lend themselves to a read aloud or group storytime context.  For a tool to work brilliantly during storytime, it needs something special, that X-factor, that storytimeWOW!  

stretchThe WOW may come in many forms, for example:

  • a story that inspires imagination and wonder
  • a story told in a comedic and humorous voice
  • engaging built-in participation elements
  • rhythm, rhyme and repetition
  • a catchy singable song
  • fun with dramatic movement and music
  • big colorful illustrations
  • emotional hooks
  • all of the above

WOW elements hook listeners.  Storytime selections need to be highly engaging tools (or you need to make them highly engaging).  Why?  Because the purpose of storytime is to make reading more fun so children’s brains grow to connect books and learning with enjoyment.  Those neural pathways can last a lifetime.

“When you grow up and have funchildren of your own, do please remember something important:  A stodgy parent is not fun at all!  What a child wants, and deserves, is a parent who is SPARKY!” Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl knew how to have fun with kids.  That’s why he’s a hero. The greatest job in the world is bringing joy to children, so have fun and be sparky!

The StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal indicates that a picture book, eBook, app, or music video has the “WOW” factor described above.  More specifiStorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1cally, the seal indicates that a tool meets The StorytimeWOW Standards (SWS).  The SWS adapt and expand upon the E. B. White Read Aloud Award’s universal read aloud standards in an effort to promote excellent edutainment materials for traditional or new media group storytime programs in libraries and schools.

Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!