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Library Baby Story Time Suggestions

  • Feb 4, 2011
  • Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard

The past two articles have focused on Cognitive Learning Theories. Let’s put those theories into action by creating the foundations for a successful Baby Story Time.


  • Baby Story Time should be held in a comfortable, carpeted area where caregivers can sit but also move with their children. If possible, a quiet corner of the building or a “special room” could be very beneficial in finding a place that is calm and not distracting for the babies.
  • If possible, request pre-registrations so you know how many people will be participating. Limit the number of participants to offer a less overwhelming experience for the babies, if possible.
  • Build in a 15-minute transition period at the beginning to promote a sense of emotional grounding for the babies. Provide board books which the parents/caregivers could read before the class begins.


Song sheets with finger plays and chants, instruments or objects that babies can shake or pat to keep a steady rhythm, colorful opaque scarves, a colorful parachute, Book of the Day and CD player are all great essentials. Take-home lessons for parents/caregivers to extend material presented are also beneficial. Other props that add to the story are also very helpful. For example, “singing” farm animals that make their sounds are great representational teaching materials when a story about farm animals is being read.


Plan around the Book of the Day and find musical ways to weave the story into the lesson. If the story is about bears, suggest parent/caregivers bring their child’s stuffed bear from home. Finger plays about bears could be added to the lesson. Also include musical routines that are developmentally appropriate such as games and songs where babies can participate and learn. Include a greeting song, a Library “Good-bye” song, and perhaps some favorite songs babies love to listen to such as “Twinkle, Twinkle” that can be embedded into each library lesson.

Using the Book of the Day, the story could be retold by creating chants or singing the text using simple melodies. Creative movement adds to the musical activity. Babies might enjoy circle dancing with their parents/caregivers to a specific themed musical activity.
Finally, what suggestions do YOU have? What do you do to encourage literacy with the youngest of our learners and what has been successful for you and your library community? Post your comments to the blog and share with your Story Time colleagues.
Next week we will include a sample Music in a Box lesson using the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? as our lesson emphasis.

©MacPhail Center for Music, 2011


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