Language Fun Story Time – May 4, 2015

Final Language Fun Story Time  = Much, much sadness 😥

We did the seasonably-unappropriate “Froggy Gets Dressed” – nothing like reading about getting dressed to play in the snow…in June.

froggy book

But the kids had a blast helping dress both the felt and the puppet versions of Froggy. The puppet version was particularly entertaining, as Froggy’s clothes had been cobbled together from several different toys and dolls, resulting in a pretty spectacular outfit.

felt puppet

We also sang “Head and Shoulders” as a bit of a wiggle break. It also tied in nicely with our extension activities, which included a bit of body part vocabulary practice (“put the hat on his head”, “put the mittens on his hands”, etc).

It’s always sad to say goodbye at the end of a program, and I’m going to miss all my little ones.

But, the next few weeks are going to be a bit mad with Summer Reading Club school visits, activities and other events. Let the insanity commence!

P.S. Folding carts are a librarian’s best friend…



Language Fun Story Time – May 28, 2015

“Is this the bus for us, Gus?”

We started today’s session with our usual routine of “Hello, Friends” and “Roly Poly” before jumping into a reading of The Bus for Us.

busbookThe kids went nuts for this one – I’ve never seen them so excited and enthusiastic about a book! They eagerly shouted out guesses for what each vehicle might be. We were easily able to elicit vocabulary, with each child excitedly telling us what colour each vehicle was, and the tension building up to the eventual appearance of the long-awaited bus was palpable.

The group was no less excited for the felt story retelling – the SLP had each vehicle peek out from behind the felt board, and gave hints as to what each vehicle might be (“it is red, it has a ladder, it is very loud”). These great felts are from a local home-based business called “Heartfelt Stories” – their felt stories are super cute! Hurray for supporting local small businesses.


The kids have been getting pretty wiggly recently, so we took a little song break after the felt story for a round of “the wheels on the bus.”

Then it was time for the toys! We went around the circle with each child picking out a vehicle. In order to get a toy, though, they had to describe it to us using as much vocabulary as they could. For example : “I want the garbage truck. It is green. It is smelly”.

toys1Once all the vehicles had been handed out, and the kids had had a moment to drive them around, the SLP started describing each vehicle one by one, in random order. The children had to listen to the descriptions, and when they heard the description of their vehicle they came up to put it back in the toy box. So, “This truck is green. It is smelly. It picks up garbage” would be the cue for the child with the toy garbage truck to put it away. This activity was a great opportunity for the children to learn and practice new vocabulary while reinforcing existing words in a really fun way.

The kids were having so much fun we nearly ran out of time, and had to rush a little bit through snack time.

I can’t believe there’s only one more session of LFST! The children have changed so much over the past few weeks, it’s incredible. The most obvious change for most of the children is in their confidence level. LFST is a group activity, and children are encouraged to participate in front of their peers and a few grown ups (parents). For children with speech-language delays, speaking in front of others can be a terrifying prospect. Through small group activities like LFST, children can practice speaking in front of others in a safe, positive environment, and gradually build their confidence. Like so many library programs, the benefits of LFST are many, and the program impacts children in such a variety of ways.

Language Fun Story Time – May 21, 2015

On this very sunny Tuesday we shared Eric Carle’s classic ode to gluttony, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

bookMany of our kids were already familiar with the book, which really helped, because it is quite a long story with a lot of vocabulary.

Counting, days of the week, food vocabulary, cause and effect, sequencing and life cycles in the natural world – this book has it all!

Because The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the longer stories we share at LFST, we adapted the day’s format a little to accommodate our group. Instead of exploring the story three ways, we instead just retold the story twice, giving each child extra time to participate in the activities.

We do have quite a large group at LFST, with 10-12 children coming each week, and it can take a little while to explain and model an activity and then ensure that everyone has enough time to participate in the activity without feeling rushed or pressured. We always want to make sure that LFST is a fun, positive experience for the children, so rushing through an activity so that we can squeeze in another one isn’t all that beneficial for the children. Better to do two things well than three things poorly!

stuffieWe also had a very popular little caterpillar friend help us read the picture book as a group. The kids were particularly enthusiastic about this week’s story – it really does help when they’ve already experienced the book at home or at school, as it often gives them a bit of extra confidence. We dramatically munched and nom nom nommed our way through all the food in the story, and used our fingers to count out each meal.

Then it was time for the felt story!

Each child was given a different food item, and they were encouraged to tell the group which food they had, and how many pieces they had. They then fed their felt food to the felt caterpillar, with much enthusiasm. The creator of the felts somehow put the little caterpillar’s head on upside down, so he’s doing a bit of a funny wave, but the kids didn’t seem to notice. 🙂 felt

We had some great new vocabulary this week, including cocoon, and talked a bit about where butterflies come from.

Snack time fit in quite nicely with today’s theme! Then it was time for a stamp, and a copy of the book with some extension activities. I like to talk about the extension activities with the parents while the children are eating their snacks, and share other related activities parents can do with their children to build upon the vocabulary introduced in the story.

Being able to take home a copy of the book is such an important part of LFST, as it extends the learning experience for an entire week. Repetition at home really helps reinforce the vocabulary we practice at each session. For some kids, too, participating in a group setting can be intimidating or overwhelming, and they benefit from being able to explore the book in a more comfortable setting at their own pace. Everybody wins!

extensionThe group was feeling very jumpy towards the end of the program, so we sang our goodbye song with some full-body waving action, and then it was goodbye for another week. Only two more sessions to go!

Language Fun Story Time – May 14, 2015

It was a lovely morning for a walk to the community health center for today’s LFST. For a children’s librarian a little fold-up trolley is a well used and well loved piece of equipment!


Today we shared a picture book that ticks all sorts of early literacy boxes – colors, numbers, sequencing, even parts of the body: Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.


This lovely story builds nicely on the framework we set in a previous week’s program with Pete the Cat, and introduces additional colors and numbers. We have a few vocal dog lovers in the group as well, who were thrilled when we pulled out today’s story!

The highlight of today’s program was our furry little friend, Dog.


Because Dog’s Colorful Day is quite a long picture book for our group, and requires that the children sit and listen for an extended period of time, we decided to forgo the felt story component this week. Typically we use a picture book, a felt story, and a collection of toys and items to retell each story three times, but we wanted to make sure that every child had enough time to participate in the retelling, and didn’t want to have to rush anything, or anyone! Our children need a slower pace in order to get the most out of the program, which sometimes means adapting and altering our program.

While all the LFST kits are wonderful, this kit is particularly special, as it includes so many toys and items for the children to interact with and use to retell the story. There’s a chocolate bar, a purple marker, a little pot of dried-up blue paint, and more – check out that awesome bucket for giving Dog a bath at the end of the story, and that great chunk of astro-turf representing the green grass!


The little stuffed dog is pretty special too – he actually has little pieces of velcro attached to his fur.


The children use these velcro pieces to attached different pieces of coloured felt representing the different spots.


After reading the picture book we faithfully retold the story using the toys and felt spots, then played a game in which the children placed colours of their choice all over the dog. This gave the kids opportunities to practice colour and body part vocabulary and prepositions, as well as practice asking for things and expressing opinions.

For example, each child was asked, “which colour of spot do you want?” The child used his or her vocabulary to ask for a specific colour or indicate a preference, and was then asked where on the dog’s body they wanted to put the coloured spot. Children were encouraged to say “on his ear” or “on his tail”, with as much vocabulary and accuracy as was individually appropriate. The children delighted in putting coloured spots on dog’s nose or his tail, and we played this game several times to ensure that each child got a chance to participate. Even our more reticent children were more easily enticed this week. After all, who could resist this cuddly face?


It’s amazing to see the development in each child as they progress throughout the program – we have a number of children who were so shy at the beginning that they could barely whisper their names, but who are now enthusiastically shouting out the names of the different colours. You can see that their confidence is growing in leaps and bounds, which is in turn helping them get the most benefit out of each session.

Even I couldn’t resist this fluffy little guy!


Language Fun Story Time – May 7, 2015


Sometimes life throws you curve balls. This morning I arrived at the library to discover that my LFST kit hadn’t arrived! No books, no toys, no felt stories, no program. Yikes!

I plunged into the children’s librarian’s closet and rummaged around until I found something I could turn into a make shit program – a copy of I Went Walking with a corresponding felt story. We still didn’t have toys, or copies of the book to take home, but at least we had a program!

My SLP partner tracked down some toy animals, another copy of the book, and some printable activities to send home with the children.


We sang a rousing few verses of Old MacDonald Had a Farm featuring the different animals in the book before sharing the picture book together as a group. For our main activity each child was able to choose a toy animal, then describe it to the rest of the group, using descriptive vocabulary to talk about the animal’s colour and size, as well as giving an example of its noise.

Although we weren’t able to send the kids home with a board book version of I Went Walking, we were able to give them a template for making their own version of the story. Children could colour in the different animals and put them together in whatever order they liked to retell the story. In the end, the children got a bit of a special program, and were still able to take something home with them.

The moral of the story – expect the unexpected!