How to Use the Emergent Literacy Story-Time Planning Sheets

Template for Talkers (2-3)


Step One: Select the planning sheet for the approximate age-group you’ll be reading to. (I’ll select Talkers 2-3)


Step Two: Look at the checklist and think for a moment about the interests and developmental skills that pertain to the age group you have chosen.

(For talkers, you’ll see, as you look at the checklist, that vocabulary, print awareness, letter knowledge, narrative skills and comprehension are addressed.)

Select an appropriate book or books.

(For the purpose of this sample, I’ll select Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day.)


Step Three: You may wish to begin by focusing on the last checklist item, the “Parent Connection.”  Look at the literature about emergent literacy and dialogic reading provided at the workshop. Choose a concept or statement about this age group that you will highlight for parents. Let this statement serve as your learning theme for this storytime session. You will read or say this statement to parents participating in the storytime session.  

(For my learning theme statement I’ll choose:  Many times when books are shared by family members, we may picture the adult reading while the child listens quietly and passively. However, research has shown that children learn best, and enjoy reading more, when they are actively involved.” I will state this at the beginning of my storytime, and I will add,Parents, if you take note, as I read this story today, I will be asking questions and doing various things to help children become more active participants in the story-telling process. You can do these kinds of things when you read at home.”


Step Four: Read over the checklist questions under each of the skill areas. At this point, rather than asking yourself, “DID I…?” ask yourself “HOW WILL I…?”  Highlight two or three things you will do during the session. Make sure the things you choose to do support the learning theme you have chosen. (Note: You need not do everything every time. Not only would that be difficult for you, it would probably confuse the parents and the children!)

            (For the purpose of this session, I will highlight the following checklist questions)

·        Did I encourage the children to respond through music or movement?

·        Did I give the children the opportunity to respond orally by asking simple questions about the story and/or pictures?

·        Did I talk/ask questions about the events of the story?

·        Did I help the children to link the events and characters to what they already know about?


Step Five: Focus on these areas during your storytime by: 


·        Asking open ended questions before you begin: e.g. What is snow? How do you feel about snow? What kinds of things do you like to do on a snowy day?  (Encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas!)

·        Ask questions about the cover picture: “What do you think this story is about?”

·        As you read the story, ask what might happen next? Ask “WH” questions, and ask about the events in the story:  e.g.  “What do you think Peter will want to do when he gets out of bed and sees all the snow?”  Before reading the text, show the picture of Peter making footprints or snow-angels and ask: “What is Peter making in the snow ?”  After reading the story  ask, “What did Peter find sticking out of the snow? What did he do with it? What happened then?  Etc.

·        Sing a song, recite a poem, or read another story about snow.

·        Ask the children to pretend they are snowflakes

·        Do a Snow-related Craft such as:

o       Winter Wonderlands
Corrugated cardboard, cut into 5"-6" squares (1 per child), Ivory Snow detergent, Small plastic deer figurines 
(3 per child), Pinecones (3 or 4 per child). 
Mix the Ivory Snow with water and beat it with mixer. Let each child spread it over the entire cardboard and then allow them to put the pinecones on, upside down. Then children will add the deer figurines. When completed, add signs to indicate "(Child's Name) Winter Wonderland".