Family Storytime: Transportation & Background Knowledge

familyFamilies with young children enjoy a variety of stories, songs, rhymes and movement activities while building early literacy skills. (Ages five and under)

The thing that is different about Family Storytime is that you never know who you are going to get– so instead of a firm outline, it is best to bring many options and change on the fly!

Housekeeping: Welcome to an AACPL Early literacy storytime. My name is Ms. Elaine. Don’t worry about wandering children, and please feel free to step outside if they are upset and need a break, and rejoin once they are ready. For now, it doesn’t matter whether your children follow along. If your kids see you play along they’ll want to copy you so please silence any cell phones!

Early Literacy Tips: Explain

Today we’re going to talk about Background Knowledge, which our children are constantly picking up in their day to day life. The more experiences children have young, the more reference points they’ll have when they learn to read.

Opening Song: Wave My Hands

I wave my hands like this,
I wave my hands like that,
I clap my hands together,
I wave my hands like this.

Flannel Board


Mother, Father and Uncle Mike
Father, Mother and Uncle Mike
Went to Town on a motorbike (motorcycle noises)
Mother fell off, Father Fell off (Lean each way)
But uncle mike drive on and on and on

Baby Shark
Baby Shark (pointer and thumb make opening and shut motion) do do do, do do do do x2
Mama Shark do do do, do do do do x2 ( Hand opens and shuts “talking”)
Daddy Shark do do do, do do do do do x2 (two hands claping)
Grandpa Shark do do do, do do do do x2 (Knuckles bent)

Books (options, depending on age of group)


  • Wheels on the Bus (Choral Reading)
  • Chugga Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis


  • Dinosaur Zoom by Penny Dale
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems


  • Big Rig by Jamie S. Swensen
  • The Wheels on the Racecar by Alexander Zane


Songs/Activities (options)*

Toe, Leg, Knee by Jim Gill (Babies and Toddlers)
Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill – shakers or scarves? (Toddlers and Preschoolers)
Clap Your Hands from Tickles and Tunes

Calming Fingerplay

Open, Shut Them
Open, Shut Them (open and shut hands)
Open, Shut Them (open and shut hands)
Give a little clap clap clap

Open, Shut them, Open Shut them,
Lay them in your lap lap lap
Creep them, crawl them, creep them, crawl them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin,
Open wide your little mouth,(AHHHH)
But do not let them in!

(if needed)

I put my hands on my head,
I put my hands on my shoulders,
I put my hands on my knees,
I put my hands in my lap
And I’m ready for another story.

Early Literacy Tip: Example

When you are looking at and reading books, even with babies, ask questions like, “What’s that?” or “What’s happening?” Give them time to respond, even if you don’t understand what they have said. Then give them an answer by saying, “That’s right, it’s a frog. Frog’s live in ponds.” or whatever the picture is. These little tidbits of conversation are helping children learn how language work—that we take turns when we have a conversation. All of these activities build on one another to help children get ready to read.

*Movement Song or Calming Song

Tommy Thumbs
Tommy Thumbs are up and Tommy Thumbs are down
Tommy Thumbs are dancing, all around the town
Dancing on my shoulders, dancing on my head
Dancing on my knees, then tuck them into bed.

Final Songs (options)

  • Skidamirinky Dinky Dink – singalong song with motions
  • Singalong: Shake My Sillies Out – Shakers/Sensory Sticks

Early Literacy Tip: Expand

When they get older, board books repeat. Children need lots of repetition to learn. Although this can be frustrating for parents, one thing you can do is to share books in different ways- children can point to and tell stories about the pictures, use books as conversation starters.


  • Traffic Light Color Matching Activity:

traffic Light

  • Car Themed Coloring Sheets
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