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Counting Storytime

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the library, it’s… The Return of Storytime!

I may or may not have mentioned that I’m trying to focus more tightly on school readiness. I don’t remember and I’m too lazy to read my own blog to jog my memory. I’m awesome like that. Either way, yes, school readiness. Our storytimes were always school readiness focused to a degree, but I want to work harder at including concepts that will carry over into Kindergarten.

The letter of the week this week is C. C is for Cookie! Wait, no. C is for Counting! But still, I want a cookie.

We read:

Count the Monkeys by Mac Bennett

A fairly new title, this storie lures you in with the promise of counting monkeys, only to begin with all the monkeys absent, scared off by 1 King Cobra! Who is then scared off by 2 Mongooses (or Mongeese, depending on how you vote)! And so on until 10 polka dotted rhinos playing bagpipes with bad breath clear everyone out, but then…we are out of pages! And you never get to count any monkeys. Of course, you can still count the monkeys inside the back cover, which is a nice bonus because once you tell the kids, “Now we’ll never get to count the monkeys! The End,” you will get looks ranging from incredulous to freaked out. But then you can say, “Oh wait, here are some monkeys!” The other great thing about this book apart from the humor is the interactivity factor, as it asks you to confuse crocodiles and high five lumberjacks.

Concept: Counting.

Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews

This old favorite is starting to feel a bit dated to me in the illustration department, but it’s short and simple enough for little ones to understand. I used it with my Wednesday group, which has more toddlers, and dropped it for my Thursday group, most of whom are going into school next fall. The illustrator uses black dots to represent different parts of illustrations, adding one dot per spread.

Concept: Counting.

Cookie Count by Robert Sabuda

Hooray for Robert Sabuda pop-ups! Unlike some of his longer works, this one works nicely for storytime. Little mice present all kinds of cookies with a gingerbread house as the finale. One of the spreads has pinwheels that really twirl!

Concept: Counting

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root

When a duck gets stuck in the muck, increasing amounts of animals come to help, but it takes all of them to finally get him to SPLUCK! out of the muck. With a repetitive structure and a “Help! Help! Who can help?” refrain, it’s easy to involve the storytimers with the recitation.

Concept: Counting. Rhyming/narrative structure.


Ten in the Bed

Many versions of this rhyme exist, but I use:

There were ten in the bed and the little one said,
Move over! Move over!
So they all moved over and one…fell…OUT!

Keep counting down until…

There was one in the bed and the little one said,
Finally! I’ve got the whole thing to myself!

The bears were made by die cut machine, but the pattern for the bed can be found at Making Learning Fun.


Action Song

Instead of something traditional like This Old Man, we used the Count Your Fingers Song from Kiboomu!, which goes to the tune of London Bridge but a little jazzier. After we counted our fingers, I stopped them and asked if we have the same amount of toes and fingers. Most of them said no, so then we sang and counted our toes and compared the answer to the finger verses. We didn’t actually take our shoes off as suggested, we just wiggled our toes inside our shoes to count them.

Craft: Counting C’s

Our craft is adapted from the Kiboomu! counting caterpillar, on the same page as the song lyrics above. However, I wanted to tie it in to the letter of the week, so I used plain ol’ letter Cs instead of making caterpillars. I had fake beard forms left over from summer reading, so we used those as our bases.


How It Went:

Kids love to count, so this theme went over very well. My Wednesday group was small and quiet, but later the moms told me the kids had really enjoyed it, especially Counting Monkeys. My Thursday group was on the larger end of our spectrum (22 kids) and hoo boy, they were hyper! I could tell it was the first storytime after the holiday break. Everyone was engaged, but they all had something to say about everything and wanted to say it at the same time. I needed more ears and more mouths. And more brains, but I always need more brains! Quiet or noisy, both groups had a good response to everything in this plan. I’ll definitely use it all again.

Next week: Buttons, both wearable and pushable!


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