Sensory Storytime: A Year (plus) in Review

January 23rd, 2013 Ashley Waring

I have over a year of Sensory Storytimes under my belt now.  (Wow!)  I thought I’d look back on my notes and share what has worked well for me since I started my storytimes in October 2011.

Favorite Books

Press Here by Herve Tullet
I stand up and walk around the room while I read it, allowing each child to take a turn interacting with the book. Parents love this one, too!

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
I made a felt dog and colored dots; the kids take turns finding the right color and putting it on Dog.

Circle in the Sky by Zachary Wilson
I have felt shapes that match the shapes in the book; the kids take turns finding the right shape and helping to “build” our rocket. At the end, we countdown and “launch” the rocket to the moon. (I lift the feltboard up into the air.) I like this book because it has both shape and color identification while telling a simple story.

It’s My Birthday by Helen Oxenbury
I made felt ingredients to match the book. The kids take turns choosing the right ingredient and putting it into my mixing bowl. At the end, I present a felt cake and top it with candles. Then we sing “Happy Birthday” to the boy in the book.
Warning: Some kids are upset by this song. Let parents know you are going to sing it, and they can cover ears or otherwise reassure their child.

If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley
I love almost any book I can sing. I made visual cues that match the book – a picture of hands clapping for “smack your claws,” a face yelling for “give a roar,” etc. I put these up and the kids love to sing and act out this song. The pictures are bold and bright, and more silly than scary.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
I hand out egg shakers and have the kids follow me in making a nice rhythm.  Then we read the book to the beat.  All the participants love the egg shakers, and the “typical” kids who know the book well enjoy interacting with it in a new way.

Down by the Station by Jennifer Riggs Vetter
Another book I can sing!  I have felt vehicles that match many pages in the book (I skip some pages or else it’s too long for my group).  The kids take turns identifying the vehicle and putting it on the felt board. Then we all sing together!

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
I made a felt cat and colored shoes.  With a small group, I’d have the kids take turns putting the shoes on Pete. As it was, I read this to a very large group, so the kids got to help by guessing what color his shoes would be next.  They also helped sing the “I love my _____ shoes” refrain.

Favorite Songs

The Bubblegum Song – This is the song I use with our Therabands. I learned this song waaaay back when my son was in early intervention. We don’t clap when we sing, instead we stretch our Therabands. I give each kid a turn choosing where they would like the bubblegum to stick.
Reminder: Give processing time. If you ask a child “Where do you want the bubblegum to stick?” and they don’t answer right away, count to 5 in your head before you ask again. Maybe give that child a choice: “Do you want it to stick to your chin or your knee?”

Rainbow Song – I let each child pull a scarf from the scarf box, then we wave them around while we sing this song.  I give each kid a chance to decide what we will sing about next. “What is something blue we can sing about?” See my pointer above about processing time and choices, which are both useful here.

Do you have any books or songs that work really well for your group?  Please share them in the comments. Thanks!

Entry Filed under: Storytime

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mary Matuszewski  |  July 12th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    My kids really liked “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems. I found a coloring page with the pigeon, copied and cut around it and put the pigeon on a stick. The kids held their puppets and had the pigeons “talk” with the book.

    They loved “Let’s Play in the Forest While the Wolf is Not Around” by Claudia Rueda. I said “Let’s play in the forest” and they audience all said “while the wolf is not around.” It went very well.

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