Latest Event Updates

Sensory Storytime @ Main

Posted on


We are excited to offer a new program series for families in our community. Sensory Storytime are designed for children on the autism spectrum or who are sensitive to sensory overload. While similar to traditional storytimes in using books, movement and music to promote literacy and learning, Sensory Storytimes integrate therapeutic activities to stimulate all five senses and promote learning in a comfortable environment. Our goal is to provide a relaxed and welcoming storytime experience for children and their caregivers. A visual schedule guide will be used which allows children to see the order of events for the day. We encourage parents who use a daily personal visual schedule to include the library storytime in their schedule of activities. We are working with USF CARD to create a library storyboard to post online. This pictorial storyboard will walk you through a visit to the library. We invite families to join us in November.

Sunday, November 9th, 1 p.m. School Age Sensory Fun for elementary aged children and teens.

Thursday, November 18, 4 p.m. Sensory Storytime for children six and younger in physical age or developmental age.

Let’s Go to the Zoo-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

Posted on Updated on

Today we all took a trip to the zoo to visit with the animals. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids. Even Mr. David danced along with us this morning!


Everyone clap and show how happy you are

Two at the Zoo by Danna Smith was our next book. This was the rhyming tale of a boy and his grandfather who went to the zoo together. As the pair visited each animal, they counted how many of each they say, and the children and I were able to count along with them. One bear, two parakeets, three alligators all the way up to ten hogs. Our story ended with the boy and his grandfather getting a snack, seeing a show and riding a train before departing the zoo after a fun filled day.

For our first activity we rode the Animal Train. I put on the CD Having a Ball with Music by Mar Harman and the children and I rode on the train with the animals. Each child chose their favorite puppet from a group of stick puppets, each representing an animal mentioned in the song. Then, as the song played and each animal was called to board the train, the child with that puppet got up and started to dance. As an extra added attraction, we had puppets join us for our ride on the Animal Train.


Choose your favorite stick puppet and get ready to board the train


Join us on the train Mr. Rabbit!


Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Dog rode with us into the station as the Animal Train came to a stop

I turned our next book, Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, into an interactive activity. In this delightful tale a child has written to the zoo asking for a pet. One by one, the zoo sent a selection of animals, one more outrageous than the last. For this activity I printed out, and laminated, not only pictures of each of the animals mentioned in the book, but also pictures of the crates and baskets they were shipped in. Here is a printable version of the animals and crates from Kidz Club. Prior to Storytime the pictures were placed on the board, hiding the pictures of the animals beneath their respective crates and baskets. As we read through the story, and the child opened his latest package from the zoo, one child would come up and pull off the image of the crate or basket to reveal the animal beneath. We learned, right along with the child in the book, what animal the zoo had sent him. The last package the zoo sent the child was the best, and most appropriate of all, a dog.


What did the Zoo send? An elephant…


…and a giraffe, a lion, and a camel! I wonder what was in the final crates?

My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall was our next book. Each page of the story had a different animal illustration, and each of the animals were constructed entirely out of hearts. Each animal displayed it’s own characteristic. We saw hopeful herons fishing for a meal, silly seals balancing balls on their noses and cool penguins waddling around on the ice. At then end we discovered each of these animals was really a stuffed animal that belonged to their faithful zookeeper, a young child, who after a busy day tending his animals, was fast asleep.

Our last activity employed the use of the iPad and the app “Free Animal Sounds.” This is a wonderful app that allowed the user to hear the sounds made by many different animals. From horses, to birds, to big cats and much more, the user simply had to click on a picture of the animal to hear several different sounds it makes. The children took turns selecting various animals to listen to, and their reactions upon hearing the noises the animals made were wonderful. The best one was when one of the children selected the leopard. It let out such a mighty roar, which sent the children scurrying away. The lure of hearing more animals soon drew them back though, and we had lots of fun discovering what various animals, some familiar some less so, sounded like. This activity was an enjoyable way to better relate to the animals we were reading about in our books today. Also the ability to make sounds, and phonological awareness, is an important milestone in childhood literacy. Learning to read begins with communication skills, and communication skills begin with sound, as this article from Reading is Fundamental examines. The article outlines important literacy milestones in children from birth to age six, and the first item on the list is that children begin to make sounds that resemble the words adults use. As children learn to make these sounds, they will in turn learn the words that are associated with them. Once they learn the words, they can begin to discern their meanings, and that words convey a significance. The process continues to build toward literacy skills from there.


What does a cuckoo sound like?

The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom was our last book. This was a hilarious look at what the animals at the zoo thought of the people who came to visit them. At the beginning of each day the animals had to primp and preen to get ready for their new crop of visitors. Once the people arrived we got to see all the different animals, and how they showed off for the people at the zoo. Penguins danced on the ice, snakes hung low from the trees and birds called out in a variety of ways. At the end of the day, as the people were leaving, all the animals were settling down to sleep. It had been a long day, and they had to rest to be able to do it all again tomorrow.

Everyone got up to dance to “Shake My Sillies Out” from the CD More Singable Songs by Raffi.


Shake, clap and jump your wiggles out

We had lots of fun visiting all the animals at the zoo today.

Next week our theme is Halloween and costumes are encouraged!

-Miss Jessica

Halloween Fire Safety for the Little Ghosts and Goblins

Posted on Updated on

Here is a fire safety resource from National Fire Protection Agency.

There’s a slime recipe on this page too.


Click on the picture.

Stories to Sing-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

Posted on Updated on

Today our Storytime had a musical twist, all of our stories and activities were sung. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.


Even our littlest ones danced along

Itsy Bitsy Spider by Richard Egielski was our first book. This was a wonderfully vibrant pop-up that I paired with an activity board and  a puppet. Prior to Storytime I printed out, and laminated, images of spiders, sun, rain and a water pipe. I placed the pipe on the board and handed out the other images to the children. As we read through the story, and saw all the glorious pop-ups, the children were able to come up and place their spider, sun or rain cloud on the board, depending on what part of the story we were at. In addition, as we sang along we were joined by a spider puppet that acted out the story right along with us. The children really enjoyed the activity board, it made them a part of the tale.


Climb up the spout little spider

For our first activity the children participated in a musical motion song. I borrowed “Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands,” based on the popular children’s song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” from Reading With Red. This song had multiple verses, complete with fun movements for the children. I added every other body part, besides hands, because they were not specified in the original song. This website has a plethora of fun songs, many of them come with accompanying motions. Here are the lyrics:

*Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands
(Tune of Row, Row, Row, Your Boat)

Clap, Clap, Clap your hands
As slowly as you can.
Clap, clap, clap your hands
As quickly as you can.

Roll, Roll, Roll your arms

As slowly as you can.

Roll, Roll, Roll your arms

As quickly as you can.

Shake, Shake, Shake your foot

As slowly as you can.

Shake, Shake, Shake your foot

As quickly as you can.

Pat, Pat, Pat your knees

As slowly as you can.

Pat, Pat Pat your knees

As quickly as you can.

Our next book was Pete the Cat: Old MacDonald Had a Farm by James Dean. Everyone’s favorite groovy feline was back; this time performing his rendition of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” The children and I traveled with Pete throughout the farm as he met many different animals. As we came across each new animal, a puppet joined us, so the children got to see a representation of that animal.

Dog Horse


Dog, Horse and Goat were some of the animals we met with Pete the Cat on Old MacDonald’s farm

Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Pippa Goodhart was our next book. This story took the traditional song and expanded it beautifully to encompass two children’s journey to a tropical island. The children rowed their boat, hoisted their sail and landed on a faraway jungle island. There they met elephants, monkeys and colorful birds. When one of the monkeys accidently pulled a lion’s tail, everyone raced back to the boat and rowed away from the island. The end of the story took the traditional song of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and slightly changed the ending to ask, was the story we just experienced a dream? It was left up to the reader to decide.

“The Hokey Pokey” was our last activity. The CD Songtime Kids: Silly Songs provided the version we danced and sang to today. I had the children stand in a circle and together we all acted, and sang, the Hokey Pokey.


Put your right foot in, and shake it all about!

Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort was our last book. This was a rollicking, new take on the childhood song “The Wheels on the Bus.” Instead of the various human passengers, and traditional sounds common to a bus ride, it was animals who took center stage. First the seals boarded the bus, then the tigers got on, and the variety, and noise level, increased from there. Each animal had a distinctive sound that the children loved performing. Occasionally, throughout our story, a puppet would make an appearance and hop on the bus with us.

Finally, as always, we joined Raffi for our final song, “Shake My Sillies Out” from his CD More Singable Songs. Today, Tomcat, who we first saw earlier on Old MacDonald’s farm, joined us. He shook and danced and clapped right along with the children.


Shake your sillies out Tomcat

We sang, and danced, our way through Storytime today and had an absolutely memorable time!

Next week our theme is the Zoo.

-Miss Jessica

For the Birds-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

Posted on Updated on

Today our theme was birds of many different feathers, blackbirds, flamingos, owls and more. Our opening song, with parrot accompaniment, was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.


Mr. Parrot is dancing, and very happy

Good Morning Toucan was our first book. This lift the flap book took us on a journey through the rain forest with Toucan, as he said good morning to his animal friends. Every time Toucan came to a new place, such as a tree or river, he would say “Caw!” and ask who was waking up there. Then the children and I would lift the flap and discover what animal was hiding under there. We saw  monkeys, turtles and chameleons among other animals.

Our next activity was an opportunity for everyone to make some music with our instruments, and to get up and dance. The children selected their instruments including jingle bells, a xylophone and drums. Then we got out our CD player and put on Bobby Day’s Rockin Robin from the CD A Child’s Celebration of Rock ‘n’ Roll.This is a fun, energetic song that had everyone moving, dancing and creating their own melodies. We also had several puppets, including owl and cardinal, join us for this musical extravaganza .


Here are Mr. Owl and a nest of cardinals dancing along to Rockin Robin


Everyone had their own instruments to rock along!

Birds by Kevin Henkes was our next book.  In this beautifully illustrated story we learned that birds could be many different colors, from blue, to red, to black. We saw all sorts of birds. Little ones such as hummingbirds and bluebirds, and big ones like flamingos and owls. Henkes also took us on a fanciful tour through the sky, showing us what the sky would look like if birds could leave marks with their wings, or if clouds took on the shape of birds. In the end we met a little girl who wanted to be a bird, but could only pretend to fly. There was one bird like thing she enjoyed doing though, singing.


Birds come in many different colors

In the Nest by Anna Milbourne was our next book. All day long a little brown bird was bringing twigs and sticks to a little branch on the cherry tree. What could she have been doing? As it turned out, building a nest. So began this delightful tale of many different birds and the unique nests they construct. From nests in tree trunks, to nests hollowed out of muddy riverbanks, lots of different birds showed us how they built their homes. Once the nest was built, the eggs were laid, and once they hatched the nest  was filled with newborn baby birds. Eventually these babies grew up and all left the nest, one day perhaps they would create their own nests somewhere else.


Build your nest little bird

For our second, activity we modified an idea from Falling Flannelboards for a birdhouse matching game. I created several different birdhouses with assorted shaped openings in the center. I then created birds in those same shapes color coded to the houses.  Each house and bird was printed and laminated. During Storytime we put up the houses on the board and each child was given several of the variously shaped birds. One by one we went through the birdhouses and I asked the children to match the bird they were given with the correct house. A variety of shapes were used, some familiar others less so, to make it more interesting, and challenging, for the children.


Match the bird to its house

I Spy in the Sky by Edward Gibbs was our next book. Gibbs has a series of “I Spy” books, each one dealing with different animals. The books are constructed in a unique way, with a die cut hole in the middle that only reveals a small portion of the illustration behind it. That small glimpse, coupled with a factual clue in simple text, is all the children and I had to work with to try to identify each bird. It was so amazing watching the children as each bird was revealed.


What birds do you spy?

The birds we read about today were a wide and diverse group. Being exposed to diversity, whether people, animals, or places, enriches children’s lives. The more variety children experience, the more they learn and grow as their personalities take shape. Children learn a great deal from what they see, and the more diverse those experiences are the more beneficial, and educational, they are to the child. This article from Scholastic highlights these ideas in detail, and provides an ideal argument for why diversity is so important for a child’s growth and development. Another book that deals very well with the concept of diversity, and fits in with the theme of birds is Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan. This African folktale, and Coretta Scott King Award winner, was the story of a blackbird who was considered by all the other birds to be the most beautiful. All the other birds in the forest, envious of blackbird, begged him to add a touch of black paint to their wings, so they could be attractive as well. This book presented a unique way to highlight not only the idea that true beauty does not always refer to what can be seen on the outside, but also that diversity makes any group richer and more interesting.

The instruments came back out, and were played energetically, as we danced and clapped along to our final song, Raffi’s “Shake My Sillies Out” from his CD More Singable Songs.


This was both an educational and entertaining Storytime.

Our theme next week is Stories to Sing!

-Miss Jessica