K-5 Literacy, Storytimes

Peak Outreach Storytime: Libraries, Story Elements, Comprehension, and More

Library outreach to school age kids can sometimes be a challenge. With each outreach, I have two goals: for the kids to learn about the public library and our services and for them to have fun doing it! However, joining those two things isn’t necessarily easy. Lecturing 1st graders about online resources and books isn’t engaging, and fun programs aren’t always easy to tie back to the library.

When I do outreach, I prefer leading storytimes, introducing myself and the library at the beginning and closing by asking the obvious question: “Where can you come if you want more stories!?” That has worked for the most part in making sure my outreach is both engaging and effective

However, this week, I hit peak outreach story time. I don’t think I can go back. This storytime was so effective for library outreach to school age kids that it has set my new personal standard for outreach program planning.

What Makes this Storytime So Great?

What makes this storytime so effective is that is allows me to talk about the library (a lot) while telling great stories and playing fun games while also working on learning story elements, comprehension, and more! It’s an all-in-one storytime!

The Lesson Plan



  • Travel flannel board
  • Books
  • Goldie and the Three Hares Comprehension Activity (see below)
  • Story Elements Game (see below)
  • Take-home letters and library card applications


Goldie and the Three Hares Comprehension Activity

Make this ahead of time. It consists of two parts. The first is a flannel board with 4 sections marked: beginning, middle, end, and “didn’t happen in the story” (I used a picture of a confused chicken to mark this section). The second part is a series of cards with key details from the story, and a few lies, written on them. During the activity, you will read a card and the students will tell you if that key detail belongs in the beginning, middle, or end section or if it didn’t happen at all (confused chicken).

Story Elements Game

For this activity, you will need three paper bags- labeled character, setting, and plot. Then you need a bunch of clipart of characters and settings, and several one-sentence plots. Divide them into their respective bags. During the activity, ask students to raise their hand if they want to be a volunteer. Go around the room and let one student draw a character, another draw a setting, and the last draw a plot. Then smash that made-up story together for lots of laughs (and joyful confusion).


After Introducing yourself and the library…

At the library, we have a lot of stories and some of my favorite stories are fairy tales. Today, I brought you one of my all-time favorite fairy tales and I’m sure you’ve heard of it because it’s a classic!!

…(Introduce the first book, Goldie and the Three Hares)…

You’ve all heard of this one right?

…(Give them a chance to be confused and correct you)…

Okay, okay. So maybe this one isn’t quite a classic, but still… I promise it’s good. Are you ready for the story? Listen carefully because afterwards, we are going to play a game and all the answers are in this story.

Goldie and the Three Hares by Margie Palatini

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 10.05.25 PM

Reading Aloud – Discussion Questions

  • On page 5, ask, “Who do you think this is?” when Goldilocks first falls down the rabbit hole.
  • On page 6, ask, “Why do you think she was being chased by bears?”
  • On page 14, ask, “Is Goldie being nice?” and talk briefly about how her behavior is rude.
  • On page 20, ask, “Did their plan work?”
  • On page 28, ask, “Does anyone know who has fallen down their steps now? What story is she from?”

Transitional Script

Did y’all listen carefully? Because now I want us to play a game. I have four sections on my board: beginning, middle, end, and this one, which means it didn’t happen at all. I’m going to pull a card and its going to tell us something about the story and I want y’all to tell me if it goes in the beginning, middle, end, or if it didn’t happen at all! Are you ready?

Goldilocks and the Three Hares Comprehension Activity

See above for instruction on making and facilitating this activity. This activity asks children to reconstruct the story of Goldie and the Three Hares from key details.

Transitional Script

Great job! Do any of you like to make up stories? Do any of you like to write stories? If you write stories, what would you have to put them if you wanted them to be in the library? 

…(Look for the answer “a book”)…

Our next story is a very funny one about making your story into a book.

 This is My Book by Mark Pett

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 10.05.53 PM

After the story is over, ask children to identify the

  1. Characters: Mark (the man), Panda (Spike), Spike’s friends,
  2. Plot: Mark is trying to write a book, but Spike the Panda keeps taking over!
  3. Setting: (trick question) The setting is the book!

Now that we’ve learned about all about stories, I want us to make some of our own stories! Do you want to? I have three bags here. One for characters, one for setting, and one for plot. I am going to need some very quiet, polite volunteers to help me make some stories.

“Create a Story” Story Elements Game

See above for instructions on making and facilitating this activity.

Transitional Script

Okay, that’s all the activities I have for you today, but where can you come if you want more stories?? 

…(Look for the answer “the library!”)…

Planning for Peak Outreach Storytime

I’ve learned since this storytime that I can build this type of storytime with a variety of books, using the same basic activities. Almost any parody of a fairy tale (which there are lots!) and any book that encourages thinking about the author, illustrator, or has easily identifiable story elements will do!

I hope you enjoyed this post! I’d love to hear about your best outreach storytimes!

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