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What a great find for teachers and parents!  Check out, an awesome collection of games that you can use to help kids practice vocabulary and sight words.  The best part is that the games are fun to play and easy to customize for your needs.  All the materials are free!

The site’s features include:

  • 12 fun games
  • customizable flash cards in three different sizes
  • classroom-tested lessons based on the latest research, complete with “how-to” videos
  • Templates of all materials using the Fry and Dolch sight word lists

A great resource for program and lesson planning!

Save the Date! “Basic American Sign Language for Library Staff” to be offered again Fall 2015

The next session of this popular eCourse, taught by Kathy MacMillan, will begin September 14, 2015. Watch this space or sign up to follow this blog by email to be notified when registration is open.

Description: American Sign Language (ASL) is an invaluable skill for library professionals. A basic grasp of ASL enhances your ability to serve deaf library users and opens up a new world of possibilities for storytime programs. It’s also a marketable professional skill that can translate to public service jobs beyond the library world.

Ideal for those without previous experience, this eCourse taught by librarian and ASL interpreter Kathy MacMillan will use readings, multimedia resources, and online discussion boards to introduce basic ASL vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting. MacMillan will place ASL within a linguistic and cultural context, aiding participants in improving library services.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 30 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

Length of Course: 6 weeks (participants will have a total of 12 weeks to complete all assignments)

Free Accessibility Training and Resources for Librarians from Project ENABLE

The name says it all:


Project ENABLE is the result of an extraordinary partnership between the Center for Digital Literacy, the School of Information Studies (iSchool@Syracuse) and the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University.  This project provides free online training modules designed for public, academic and school librarians to help them make their libraries truly inclusive for all users. Thanks to funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, anyone interested in creating accessibility in libraries can access these trainings, and modules can also be customized for individual or group use.

Once you sign up for a free account, you’ll take an initial assessment and then have access to five self-paced training modules, focusing on disability awareness, disability law and policy, creating an accessible library, planning inclusive programs and instruction, and assistive technology in libraries. Each module features interactive learning activities and a brief self-assessment, for a total of ten hours of instruction.  Additional resources on the site include a template and checklists for a library accessibility action plan, universal design, Americans with Disability Act compliance, and sample lesson plans for school librarians. A certificate of completion is available for those who complete the training.

With training and resources of this caliber available for free, no librarian has any excuse to plead ignorance about how to provide accessibility. Sign up for a free training account today at

Wonderful Wordless Picture Books

Over at, Kathy’s sharing a wonderful article by early childhood educator Louise Rollins of Maryland/DC Hands & Voices. Though the article specifically addresses techniques for using wordless picture books with deaf and hard of hearing children, these ideas will benefit hearing children as well.  here’s a snippet:

Wordless picture books are excellent for helping your child understand the sequence of events in the story. During book sharing with a traditional book, a child sees part of the story in the picture and perhaps understands part of the story through the text that is read to her, then has to piece together a narrative from those two fractured elements, filling in the blanks on her own as she is able. Using a wordless picture book, your child can understand the events through the picture first, then learn from you the language that describes what she sees. This process helps develop your child’s story comprehension and build her vocabulary.

IMG_2946Because the pictures may be open to some interpretation, wordless picture books create an interactive reading experience where you and your child can discuss what you think is happening in the story. You can encourage your child to take on the role of narrator; even if your child cannot read print yet he can “read” these books independently or to you. Storytelling opportunities help your child practice organizing his thoughts, including sufficient information for his audience, and selecting relevant details. In other words, while practicing reading, your child is also practicing important writing skills, without even picking up a pencil.

When you read wordless picture books, you can modify your storytelling to use single words or shorter phrases. You might want to do this if your child does not yet understand longer strings of connected language, or is still developing his attention span. If you are learning to sign, you do not have to feel bound by the print and feel pressure if you don’t know every sign in the text. If you are learning to cue, you do not have to worry about cueing long passages at one time. Instead, you can focus on telling the story and enjoying book sharing with your child.

Read the entire article here.

More Wordless Picture Book Resources:

Louise Rollins’ Recommended Picture Books: Look for “wordless” in the book descriptions to narrow down your search.

Early Literacy Storytime: Wordless Books at Mel’s Desk

Sharing Wordless Picture Books from Reading Rockets (printable handout for parents)

Top 10 Wordless Picture Books from Children’s Books Guide

Why Wordless Books?: Article about sharing wordless books in the classroom by Leslie Ross-Degnan , M.Ed., and Christina Silvi, M.A at Earlychildhood News

Wonderful Wordless Picture Books at Storytime Standouts





A Signing Beanbag Rhyme for National Hamburger Month

It’s National Hamburger Month!  Here’s a fun storytime rhyme using beanbags to help you celebrate!  As a bonus, when you are moving the hamburger from hand to hand in the first part of the rhyme, you are also signing HAMBURGER in American Sign Language.  Click here to see a video of the sign.

(Hold bean bag in right hand.  Hold left hand facing up.  Turn right hand over to deposit bean bag into left palm.  Then turn both hands and repeat it the other way, as if you are shaping a hamburger patty.  Repeat this rhythmically through the first verse.)

I’m making a hamburger for the grill.

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

(Place bean bag on flat left palm.  Use your right hand as a spatula to lift the beanbag and flip it over.  Then switch hands.  Repeat this motion throughout verse 2.)

I’m flipping my hamburger on the grill.

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

(Hold bean bag in left palm.  Pretend to squirt on ketchup, mustard, etc. with other hand.)

Now I’m fixing my hamburger from the grill.

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

(Place bean bag in left hand.  Raise hand toward mouth, then down to right hand.  Switch the bean bag to the right hand and repeat.)

Now I’m eating my hamburger.  This is fun!

Did I eat it?  Yes, all done!

(If desired, sign ALL DONE at the end.  Click here for a video of the sign.)

Re-rescheduled Webinar: You Have a Great Idea! Now Get it Published!

Due to inclement weather, the webinar below was rescheduled…twice. So we moved it to May, where even Maryland’s crazy weather shouldn’t grant us snow. (We hope!)

Are you a library staff person who wants to write articles or books?  Then check out this online workshop:

You Have a Great Idea! Now Get it Published!

Thursday, May 21, 2015 from 2—3 pm

Platform: Blackboard

Do you want to write a book or article but don’t know where to start? In this 1-hour webinar, three published authors of resource books and articles for children’s librarians will share the ins and outs of getting published in journals such as School Library Journal and with publishers such as ALA Editions and Libraries Unlimited. Learn about the publishing opportunities that are out there for you, what you’ll need to include in your proposal, and how to get from idea to proposal. Join us and jumpstart your publishing career!



Betsy Diamant-Cohen of Mother Goose on the Loose


Julie Dietzel-Glair, author of Books in Motion

Kathy MacMillan, author of Storytime Magic and other storytime resource books

Kathy MacMillan, author of Storytime Magic and other storytime resource books


Registration info:

MLA members $15, non members $23, students $13

1 contact hour awarded

NOTE: If you registered for the cancelled Feb. 17 or March 5 sessions, you’re still on the list.  If you registered for Feb. 17 or March 5 and can’t attend on May 21, please contact


Celebrating Earth Day in Storytime

earth-clip-art-earth_clip_art_24300Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, in San Francisco, California. Since then, over one hundred countries have joined together for this annual environmental event.  This Earth Day, help the little ones in your life appreciate nature and learn about protecting the environment with this roundup of our favorite Earth day resources from Storytime Stuff and beyond!

Here at

Bringing Nature Inside for Storytime – bring the best of the outdoors to your classroom or storytime room!

Nature Around the World Storytime – bring a multicultural touch to your Earth Day celebration!

Springtime Fun Storytime – celebrate the sounds, smells, and sights of spring!

Around the Web:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Earth Day for Kids Website – lots of storytime suggestions and printable resources.

Preschool Earth Day Storytime from Library Village – rhymes, songs, book suggestions, and a supercool recycling craft that easy to make.

Reading for the Earth: Ultimate Earth Day Resource Roundup – a comprehensive roundup of lesson plans, books suggestions, activities, video links and more at the Lee & Low Books blog.


Soaring Superheroes Storytime

Get ready for summer reading with these suggestions for this year’s Collaborative Summer Reading Program theme, “Every Hero Has a Story”:

superhero-girl-clipart-3Super Song

(to the tune of “Bingo”)

There was a kid who wore a cape,

she was a super hero.

S-U-P-E-R, S-U-P-E-R,S-U-P-E-R,

She was a super hero!

(Repeat, gradually replacing each letter with Superman-like arm movements or claps)


Superhero, It’s Just a Job (Action Rhyme)

I’m a damsel in distress and a dragon is chasing me,

his fire is very hot, as you can plainly see,

I call for help, “Someone save me!”

and a hero arrives in answer to my plea!

With a POW, WHAM, BOOM, he saves the day again!

A superhero’s job is to conquer the villain!


I’m a little boy who became too greedy,

I climbed the beanstalk, but now the giant’s chasing me,

I call for help, “Someone save me!”

and a hero arrives in answer to my plea!

With a POW, WHAM, BOOM, he saves the day again!

A superhero’s job is to conquer the villain!


I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time,

when the robber arrives in the bank, I’m collecting my dimes,

I call for help, “Someone save me!”

and a hero arrives in answer to my plea!

With a POW, WHAM, BOOM, he saves the day again!

A superhero’s job is to conquer the villain!


Recommended Books:

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon.  New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 2011.

Awesome Man is awesome, but his secret identity is one that any child can relate to.  After a day fighting crime, a big hug from mom is awesome too!

Charlie’s Superhero Underpants by Paul Bright.  Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2010.

On a wild and windy day, Charlie’s super-special, superhero underpants go flying by.  Charlie begins on a superhero’s adventure to retrieve the underpants and faces a worthy opponent to get them back.



Superhero Mask Templates from Fun Printable

Two Little Superheroes Rhyme/Craft from Sunflower Storytime

The Logistics of Signing in Storytime

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12_43_19 PMDawn Babb Prochovnic, author of the Story Time with Signs and Rhymes series, answers the question: “How do you physically hold a book and sign along with it?” with a series of links, videos, and more to help you put more signs in your stories! Check out the post at Dawn’s blog.

Bookmark this Site: Song Catchers’ Library

colorful-music-notes-in-a-line-colorful-notesNeed a storytime song about pizza? Looking for some new songs to use with shakers or scarves? Want to find some music to support your STEM programming?  Look no further than Song Catchers’ Library, a handy database of music for children’s programming compiled by Heather of and Kelsey of  With an ever-growing, searchable database of song references and handy tabs that compile some of the most commonly searched items such as seasons, action songs, and prop songs, this is a site anyone who uses music with children will love.  Don’t see a favorite song listed?  Just fill out the form on the homepage – Heather and Kelsey are adding to the database every day.


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