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Family Storytimes

  • Nov 10, 2010
  • Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard

Thanks to the great contributions made at the November MELSA “Musical Storytelling” presentation!

Last week our Blog focused on the unique needs occurring during Family Story Time (multiage groupings). This week we will highlight your suggestions and examples for creating a successful Family Story Time. We will now incorporate a “Music in A Box” group activity that you created at our last MELSA Musical Storytelling presentation, with additional teaching strategies and increased examples using music to enhance your story time.

Creating opportunities for sharing ideas is also a purpose of this Blog. A blank “Music in A Box” format designed to assist in the creation of linking musical storytelling with literacy is also found in an earlier Blog. Our goal is that the format designed to create musical storytelling will become second nature to you. Please share your ideas with our readership!

Book Title-Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

Appropriate Audience-Family Story time

Author/Illustrate-Al Perkins

Literacy Goals-phonological (rhythm and rhyme), print motivation (colorful pictures, dynamic cards (the words “soft” and “loud” printed on separate cards), vocabulary (teaching and demonstrating “soft” and “loud” sounds through singing, vocal play and drumming), letter/printed word knowledge (words “loud“ and “soft” on printed cards).

Activities/Extension with Music-

  • Practice speaking in a “soft” voice, and then with a “loud” voice using the printed cards.
  • Sing a favorite song using the printed cards, and alternate the cards making this a fun game for the children.
  • Have caregivers bring in empty containers that could be used as a drum such as empty oatmeal, yogurt, infant formula, ice cream plastic pails, or coffee cans.
  • Sing Nursery Rhymes using hands, fingers and thumbs such as “Where Is Thumb kin?”, “My Fingers Are Starting to Wiggle”, and “Put Your Fingers In The Air”.
  • Use the Sing, Play, Learn CD-“Clap, Clap, Clap” and “Johnny Pounds With One Hammer” - songs that reinforce the vocabulary and concept of this story.
  • Simple art projects including tracing feet and hands are also fun for this lesson.


  • Sing, Play, Learn CD
  • Empty containers with Lids to create “Drums”
  • Rhythm Sticks
  • Crayons and Paper to make Feet and Hand Art
  • Song Sheets (take home to facilitate literacy through singing and chanting at home)
  • Printed Cards (words “loud” and “soft”

Parent Education Tips-

  • Using pots and pans at home is another great way to facilitate patterned sound and rhythm.
  • Keeping a steady beat (clapping hands, playing a “drum”) while reading or reciting a story is a great way to involve young children in the story.

Teaching Strategies-

  • Begin and end your family story time with the same song (Clap, Clap, Clap suggested for this lesson).
  • Involve periods of movement –stories can often be told through dancing, marching, or creative movement.
  • Creating a steady beat while singing and speaking is a great way to involve active learning.
  • Using a parachute to create a social space-and then using the parachute to create rhythm is a great way to incorporate rhythm and rhyme.
  • Sing your group directions

Music is one of the great tools for “gluing together” different abilities typically found in Family Story time groups. Your Family Story time will be more successful using musical extensions and activities!



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