Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Read to the Rhythm

This was planned as an outdoor storytime in the park to go with the iREAD 2015 “Read to the Rhythm” theme.  It ended up moving indoors due to weather.

Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)

tanka-tanka-skunkStory: Tanka Tanka Skunk!  by Steve Webb.  This is the ultimate awesome rhythm story.  I handed out shakers at the beginning, which I probably wouldn’t have done if we were actually outdoors.  I taught the repeated “Skunka Tanka, Skunka Tanka, Tanka Tanka Skunk!” before I started.  Each time it appeared, we did it together, twice.  Other times, I’ve had the kids repeat each page after me, but I thought this was enough.  I also used my shaker to shake out the rhythm throughout the whole book, and the kids did that with me, too.

Song: “We’re Going to Shake Our Shakers.”   I was planning to sing “Head and Shoulders” slowly, gradually going faster, but since the kids already had shakers, I figured this would be more fun.  I use this weekly at Babytime, so I knew the song really well and was able to play it on the guitar.

hiccupotamusStory: Hiccupotamus  by Steve Smallman.  This one also has a super strong beat, which I sort of tapped out with my toe as I went along.  I didn’t have the kids repeat any of the noises after me, just because we were doing lots of stories like this.  If this were the only story of its kind in a Storytime, I’d definitely do each of the lines twice, with the kids repeating after me.  It did hold their attention, even without the participation, and some of them were moving or clapping along as I read, which was a good intro to the next story.

i-got-the-rhythmStory: I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison.  I had the kids stand up to start, so it functioned as an action rhyme.  I chanted it like the ending of the playground rhyme “Down, Down Baby.”  I read each page twice.  Once I read it as it was in the book – “I kept the rhythm with my fingers.  Snap! Snap!”  The second time, I invited the kids to do the action – “Now you keep the rhythm with your fingers.  Snap! Snap!”  This was fun, and I’d definitely use it again when I needed the kids to get moving.  The ending of the book didn’t follow the same pattern, so if I did it again, I might skip the last few pages.

farmyard-beatStory: Farmyard Beat  by Lindsey Craig.  I love this book, but I always introduce it as “the worst bedtime book ever!” because it makes you want to get up and dance instead of going to bed.  This one has all of the sounds repeated twice, so I invited the kids to join in with me the second time through.  Like I Got the Rhythm, there is one part in the middle, when the farmer is coming, that doesn’t quite follow the pattern.  I sometimes skip a few pages there.  This time, I read it all and it worked ok, but it does break up the nice, rhythmic flow.

Ending Song: “Wave High, Wave Low”

We’re Going to Shake Our Shakers
To the tune of “Jimmy Crack Corn”

We’re going to shake our shakers
High and low.
We’re going to shake our shakers
High and low.
We’re going to shake our shakers
High and low,
Until someone says…….STOP!

Shake our shakers … Fast and slow.
Shake our shakers … Left and right.
Shake our shakers … Front and back.


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