Planning Storytimes Around the 6 Early Literacy Skills

For the most part, I have always done broad storytime themes: enough to give me direction, but not so narrow that it becomes repetitive. For this term, I decided to try something a little different: I wanted to plan a full storytime for each of the six early literacy skills.

There are two reasons I wanted to do this. The first is to broaden my themes enough that I could choose books just because I liked them and they were good storytime books. Sometimes, using themes is restrictive, even when they are broad and it causes me to struggle to find books that I really want to read.

The second, and main, reason I wanted to try this was because I really wanted to target the parents and caregivers. I wanted to teach them and give them real tools and research to take home that is directly related to the early literacy skills. Just imagine if all parents knew the ins and outs of the six early literacy skills! I wanted them to know we do this for a reason, not just because it’s fun.

Here are the six lessons in my series and a summary of how it went:

I started each of these storytimes with a short introduction about the past early literacy skills we have done and what the current week’s skill was.

Letter Knowledge

This one went extremely well. Twinkle Twinkle ABC was a huge hit as well as my call and response “ABC Animals” rhyme. I really enjoyed this theme.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness is my favorite early literacy skill because it means we get to make a lot of silly sounds! These are some of my favorite books I’ve read during storytime. P.S. If you haven’t read Smon Smon, you are missing out!

Print Awareness

This is the lesson that made me think “hmm, maybe this is a little heavy-handed.” Inividually, I loved these activities and they worked, but all together in one lesson was just… a lot.


And this is the storytime where this type of planning proved too broad! I ended up picking a ton of books, none of which I really loved all that much. The activities were fun, but the books weren’t my favorite.

Narrative Skill and Print Motivation

I ended up combining these last two skills because print motivation is so broad and, frankly, I was ready to finish up this little experiment. This last one went fine. I liked the books we read, and the activities were fun, but I’m more than ready to move on from this storytime series!

After doing this experiment, I realized that I really don’t like planning storytimes this way. It is both too broad and a little heavy-handed. Too broad because just about everything we do can qualify for multiple early literacy skills and too heavy-handed because it felt like I was drilling the week’s early literacy skill into parents and caregivers every week. It took some of the fun out of it. Overall, this was a good experiment and I learned from it, but I won’t be doing it again.

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