Outreach storytime: Kindergarteners


Here’s what I know about kindergarteners, having a) worked directly with them during the day b) worked in after-school/extended day programs with them c) been one: one, they have lots of energy, two, they have lots of opinions, and three, they have lots to say. And I thought that was just me, ba-dum-bum.

My plan for them today for outreach at a local school was a fractured fairy tale storytime. (Why I didn’t think to do a Mother’s Day storytime/craft, I have no idea. DUMB. ASS.) I chose a few books – the two pictured below were the only ones we got to, and I had an hour – AN HOUR, mind you – and had a modified Mad Lib and a craft idea, but the three items above ended up taking a lot of time.


Having a storytime with this age group, and this particular group before, I get it: it’s an afterschool storytime, the kids have sat still all day, and even after a stretch on the playground, which is where they were when I arrived, they still have the wiggles. Even before they sat down, we did jumping jacks. Not much help.

We started off talking about fairy tales and naming as many as we could. Then we read Eric Kimmel’s The Three Little Tamalesand I told them to think in their heads, and not use their mouths (not possible, and this is me talking, so I know of what I speak), if the story reminded them of a fairy tale they already knew.

After the story, we talked about which fairy tale it was – The Three Little Pigs, obviously – and what was the same and what was different about the two stories.  We all agreed it was pretty silly.

More jumping jacks.

Then we all sat in a circle and I said we would write our own silly fairy tale. I had created a few Mad Libs for an author visit earlier this year, and modified it for this visit so that I wasn’t asking for nouns and verbs and adjectives, but for “relatives,” or “numbers,” or “feelings,” or “person, place, or thing,” or “something in the classroom,” etc., since kindergarteners aren’t yet versed in parts of speech. With each blank space, I went around in the circle and every child had a chance to contribute a word.

Here’s the mini-Mad Lib I did with the kids, “Cinderella,” telling them nothing beforehand (not even the title). Their contributed words are in bold.

 Once upon a time, there was a lovely young clay named Cinderella. She lived with her laughing stepmother and 1000 stepsisters. One day, Cinderella heard about a wonderful zoo, and her stepmother said that Cinderella could go if she made her own pajamas. Cinderella’s helpers, the frogs, made her a beautiful shirt, but her stepsisters were so happy that they destroyed it.

   Luckily, Cinderella’s fairy brother appeared, and created a new dress for her, with a coach made out of an apple. But she warned Cinderella to be home by 100 o’clock.

   When Cinderella arrived at the ball, everyone wondered who the blue girl was. The prince fell in mad with Cinderella, and asked her to hop. Cinderella and the Prince danced together until the clock struck 99 o’clock.

   Rushing home, Cinderella jumped down the steps of the palace and lost her glass hat, but didn’t even realize it was missing. The Prince picked it up and promised himself that he would play her. 

   The Prince wanted to find the fancy girl he danced with, so he went to every horse in his kingdom to find her. When he arrived at Cinderella’s house, her stepmother and stepsisters tried on the book, but it was too quiet. When Cinderella tried it on, it fit her quickly. The Prince knew he had found the mysterious young man. He asked her if she would like to go on a date on Wednesday, and she said, “Yes!”

Sounds good, right? I expected laughs, which I got in abundance. I did not expect tears.

One thing that Annabelle did not remember about that age group is how sensitive five-year-olds can be.

The little boy who contributed “pajamas” got a huge laugh, because the idea of going to a ball in pajamas is funny, right? But he thought we were all laughing at him, rather than the idea of the pajamas, and I had to remind him that the point of the story was for it to be as silly as possible. Other children were proud of their words; for example, when we got to “99 o’clock,” the girl who had suggested it said, “That’s mine!” as we all laughed.

Oh, this poor boy, he may never look at pajamas the same way again. I felt rather wretched for a bit. But then we read Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude, and all was smiles.

Until we did one more activity.

I asked them each to give me one word that they could think of that they would find in a fairy tale, and I would mix them all up and tell them a silly fairy tale on the spot, and the words were great: “sword,” “princess,” “dog,” “sun” (?) etc. So I talked about an angry dog who used a sword to fight the sun and they found that silly.

Except the boy who suggested the word “dog.”

Guess who that was?

Yup, it was poor Pajama Boy.

I may never be able to go back to that class again.


In the top spot: Author Ruth Rendell died this week.

This news is super very excellent good.

From Friend D:

More great news about Nancy Drew.

From Library Friend D:

Jonathan Crombie remembered by Megan Follows. 

From Mama Bear: Unusual, unlikely libraries.

A lot of these apply to libraries too.

I assume this is supposed to be funny, but whatever.

From Sister A:

I received this from a lot of people – 2 Friends J, Friend D – but Sister A sent it first, so she gets the credit. And I would like to say that my coworkers and I were doing this before it was cool.

A terrific interview with the director of Baltimore City’s Enoch Pratt Free Library system.


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