Behind the Scenes: Planning for Fall Storytime

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My current situation…

Well, summer reading is officially over and I am now elbow deep in planning and organizing our fall storytime themes.  I am a bit of an organization freak because I cannot clearly plan a program without knowing what I am doing and when I am doing it.  Does that mean I don’t improvise?  Of course not!  Everyone knows you cannot work with children without flying off the cuff!  However, it gives me a framework and expectation of what I need to accomplish every week.  Here’s how I do that!

First, I start with a calendar…cross referencing our storytime to the county school system because we follow their general schedule.  From there, I refer to a 4 year rotation that we base our storytime around.  It looks like this:

Storytime 4 year rotation

Next, I plug those into my calendar.  Then I spend a few weeks researching those themes to come up with crafts, songs and books to showcase.  I LOVE Pinterest, but I also reference my old binders which show me what worked in years past.  I keep them organized by the rotational year.  As you can see, this year I am back in rotation 1.

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Now I fill out the lesson plans and make sure that I have a craft for every theme.  Then, I file those plans into a Lesson Plan binder:

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This binder is my brain during the storytime semester.  I put all of my ideas in here!  In addition to the lesson plans, I also put notes on books, handouts to give to parents and inspiration for fall book displays and bulletin boards.

Speaking of book displays and bulletin boards, I have to keep track of everything I do in this area, as well.  If not, I would leave a bulletin board up for months without thinking anything about it!  So, I plan out the semester on this handy worksheet:

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Nothing is set in stone and is always a work in progress. But I find that with a little extra investment upfront I can relax and enjoy the rest of the semester since the hard part is already done!  That frees up my time to work on this blog, pin ideas for library parents and brainstorm other library program!  Happy planning!

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