You may have noticed that in my Babies in Bloom program, I tend to use choral reading rather than choosing one or two books for the group for me to read. This post just covers why I do that– and what the benefits are for doing it in your own system/branch/library/storytime. I find that when I’m doing storytime with babies I can’t quite bring in the level of clowning required to keep their attention when they aren’t ready to look at a book far away (from birth, babies eyesight is set to look to a parents face, and expands from there).
Choral reading is “reading aloud in unison with a whole class or group of students.” In the case of a Baby Storytime, choral reading is accomplished by passing out many copies of the same book and having parents read along with the storyteller. It can be used to accomplish many things:
- Keep parents engaged and interested in the activities
- Build positive associations with babies and reading (reading is fun, it comes with all of these other fun things!)
- Create an opportunity to give better examples of early literacy techniques or tips: “When reading with your children, don’t get too caught up with just reading the words on the page. Take a moment to look at whats happening and point things out!” (while I prepare for the next time of storytime)
- Giving parents an opportunity to participate when they aren’t comfortable with acting silly and singing
- When you leave the books out, they get added into play time as play-items, a great way to increase kid’s print motivation.
- Sing popular songs with parents while you pass books out to keep attention (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc)
- Use call and repeat techniques to keep parents involved — for instance, if the book is well-known, pause and let the parents say a few words.