Cat in the Hat, Yertle Turtle, Sam I Am, Sneech
May 18, 2020

How to Start a Storytime Group

By Jamie Bills

Storytime at the library is usually great, but sometimes-

  • It is too full…the parking lot and the room.
  • It is held during nap time.
  • Your library does not hold a regular storytime.
  • You are worried about a germ-filled room (maybe you have a new baby).
  • Library storytime does not provide the social outlet you were hoping for.

If you find yourselves in these situations, or you just want to try something new, consider hosting your own storytime!

Small, home-based storytime groups can be a great alternative.

To get started you just need to decide-

  • Frequency. Once a week? Every other week?
  • How many hosts. Just you? Rotate homes and story tellers?
  • Duration and basic timeline.

Most kids do better with consistency. Try to make sure whatever the plan, you can be consistent. If you are rotating homes and story-tellers, work together on format so that the kids know what to expect at each home.

Here is an example of what has worked well for me:

  • Frequency- Once a week. Same time of day, based on best compromise around nap times.
  • 2-3 Hosts. (then we invited more friends just to come enjoy) We rotated homes. The person who hosted, ran the storytime.
  • We would have book/song time (it is good to get those wiggles out) for about 20 mins. (sometimes it would be adjusted based on the needs of the kids in the group). Then we would have free play time.
  • Themes for the day were chosen in advance with the other hosts to give focus and variety to each storytime.

Try planning a couple of months and see how it goes!

My girls and I have fond memories of storytime groups. They loved the stories and free play time after. I looked forward to weekly gatherings and free play time too, because free play time meant time to hang out and talk with the other Moms. Hooray for adult conversations!

I know this is something you can do!

-Jamie Bills

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of what has worked for you, please feel free to comment below!

Also- take a little time to look around this website. It is dedicated to all things picture books. I will be adding fun and engaging ideas for storytime to make things even easier for you. Check out the “Lists” page to find lists of children’s books relating to specific holidays or themes.