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Preschool Discussion Group 2017 ALA Annual Report

NAME OF DISCUSSION GROUP:__Preschool Services Discussion Group__________

DISCUSSION GROUP CONVENOR/S:_Linda L. Ernst & Sue McCleaf Nespeca______




Two for One Special!




Preschool Services Discussion Group

ALA Annual – Chicago, IL

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Hilton Chicago, Lake Erie




How do you set up a story walk? What are the ins and outs to make it a success? How can you use Story Walks in other locations to attract different audiences?

Speaker: Ashley Waring, MLS; Assistant Director; Reading Public Library, MA

Meeting Notes:

Speaker: Story Walk is trademarked by Anne Ferguson in Montpelier, Vermont. If you use the term, you may need to contact them, or use a disclaimer. Ashley explained that they did their Story Walks based on the booklet by the Boston Children’s Museum and did the program in various places such as: conservation lands, at shopping centers and in downtown store windows. They have done five so far. They do StoryWalks during school breaks and keep it up for two weeks. Example: Tree lighting walk. Families went from shop to shop. Story was Elves and Shoemaker. Bought two copies of the book and took apart. Ordered on Amazon, used copies in good condition. Pages were hard core laminated (use 10-milliitrel laminator sheets for durability). It is important for the pages to be stiff and weatherproof. Each stake was labelled with “Property of… Return to….” Labeling is important so these items were not thrown away at shops, etc.  A logbook was kept at the last page’s location --- people signed if they participated, so library would have stats. If they signed, they were also entered into a raffle. StoryWalk was advertised thorough: electronic signs in library, on library calendar, local newspapers, press releases, local school districts. The first page would explain what StoryWalk was, how it works, and credit the library. Then on the bottom of each page they would have the library logo. It also gave directions telling them how to proceed through the story, with arrows giving directions. Some pages were under Plexiglas.

The link below will give you the whole booklet about “Building Literacy Skills through StoryWalk” from the Boston Children’s Museum and provides guidelines & suggestions.



  • “Everybody Walks” was name used in Arizona. Focus was also on staying healthy, which they hope will help with grant funding also. Cost $50 to $60 to do.
  • There is a foundation (Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Montpelier, Vermont) that will send books. You can borrow them and send them back.  Info. and list of books: http://www.kellogghubbard.org/storywalk
  • Suggestion: if possible make the last stop inside the library. Families needed to enter the library to read the last page. They printed a map for folks to follow.
  • Information from the Kansas Library Association: http://kslibassoc.org/2014Conf/handouts/storywalkproject.pdf



How do you handle large groups and disruptive children? How about families that come late and interrupt the program? Parents who sit in the back of the room and talk to each other? Parents who text and do not pay attention (while you are trying to share early literacy tips)?


Discussion Points from Participants:

  • Be direct in your body language, facial expressions and tone.
  • Use nice tone to tell people to put phones away (just like they do at the theatre).
  • “Please turn phones off and put them away.  Take this time to be with your child without interruptions.”
  • Make sure mother/caregiver is sitting within the group (not in back of room) to help keep control.
  • Praise children – “You are doing an amazing job of listening, but some Moms (adults) are talking.”
  • Some parents expect you to do something and keep control.
  • Talk to parents directly at the end of the program
  • Have a bouncer at door (staff member) and close door when program starts. Bouncer does not let latecomers in. Bouncer also greets others when they arrive.
  • One parent wrote to mayor and mayor wrote back to be on time.
  • Once door is closed, folks can’t go in. Schools start on time. Children need to get use to that.
  • Child has meltdown --- “Feel free to go out and come back in.”
  • “Put away anything that is distracting.”
  • “Parents --- the more you are engaged in the program, the more kids will want to be engaged.”
  • Tell kids “Can you help your parent do that?” or “Let’s teach the big people this song since they don’t seem to know it!”  Use songs such as: “Row, row, row, your boat” and “Wheels of Bus,” have the adult be bus or boat and have child sit in the adult’s lap.
  • If you can lock door so you can get out, and they cannot get in, have sign on door “Storytime Has Started. I am sorry you have missed it. Please come again next time.” Sign is in English and Spanish.
  • One library has guidelines. “If we do all of these things, we will have a great time.” 1. Participate and sing songs, do rhymes (parent/caregiver) 2. No cell phones on 3. No food or drink 4. Meltdown statement.
  • One librarian will just stop, even if in middle of the story and is totally silent until everyone is quiet.
  • Keep consistency. Start on time, start with same opener.
  • One library reverses and does playtime first. Then most people have arrived, and then does storytime. Song “Everyone put their ball away,” or other clean-up song (ex – “Goodbye Shakers” to the tune of “Goodbye Ladies”). When finished, use goodbye song and shakers.
  • Others do bubbles last, and have a stamp.
  • Use songs that calm children down like “Twinkle Twinkle.” Another example is “Tall Tree” that can be found at the King County Library System’s “Tell Me a Story” site: https://kcls.org/content/tall-trees/
  • Three tips for a fun story time: 1. don’t expect the kids to sit absolutely still but do expect you (the adult) to keep them safe. If there’s a meltdown, step outside & regroup. 2. Distractions away till the end of the program when there will be time for that (snacks, visiting, etc.) 3. Big people take part – the more engaged you are, the more your child will be. 
  • Try to be aware of any children with special needs in your group.  Talk to the parents and see what they suggest to help their child enjoy the program.  You may want to investigate and gain more insights at websites such as Reading Rockets, Storytime Underground, WebJunction: The learning place for libraries that includes programs like -  Serving the Underserved: Children with Disabilities at Your Library. Search the web with phrases such as “Story time special needs,” ‘story times disabilities,’ or “story times ADHD.”


TOPIC for 2018 Midwinter: Books and STEAM Activities



FUTURE PLANS: 2018 ALA Midwinter:   Books and STEAM Activities