Every year, my library offers a preschool tour that they theme around a book character. We invite local preschools to come visit us to hear a story and get a tour of our room. In the past we've done Dogs Colorful Day and Pete the Cat. This year we decided to use Dinosaur VS. The Library by Bob Shea. If you haven't read this book, please go do so immediately. I'll wait...
Isn't is AMAZING?! My lovely coworker Sara from Bryce Don't Play suggested the book and once I had it in my hands I knew it would make a great tour. I was right.
First, our group comes into our storytime room and we say hello, talk briefly about why the library is the coolest place in the city, and then we read Dinosaur VS. The Library. Yes, of course we all must roar together as we read this book. Yes, it is hilarious to have 20+ preschoolers roaring at the top of their lungs.
Next, we split the group into two. We explain to them before the split that they'll all get to experience both parts, but some still get upset. Just smile and start dancing to distract them. One group stays in the boat and gets another story read to them. You could read another Dinosaur book, but I usually just choose whichever picture book is my favorite at that moment (Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett is my current favorite). We'll usually do an action rhyme or two as well since they're pretty fidgety by this point.
The other group gets to go on our room tour. Now, you may be thinking, "A room tour? That's so boring." No. It's the most wonderful thing ever.We start the tour by saying, "Dinosaur loves roaring, but he figured out that you have to be a little quieter in the library to experience all of the cool things!" then we tell them that Dinosaur's friends need some help staying quiet because they are so excited to be in the library today.
First, we go to pictures books where Cow is hanging out. Also, he's dancing. Of course, we all have to dance with him, but then cow starts getting really loud. So we all gently remind him to quiet down.
Next we go to non-fiction where the Chick is singing. We start singing too, the chicks get a little too excited... you get the picture.
Then, to the Reading Boat where Owl is stomping. We ask, "Do you think you are supposed to stomp on the reading boat?" Sometimes they say yes, because it genuinely does look like a place made from stomping. We explain that while the reading boat looks like a great place to stomp and run and jump, it is actually made specifically for reading. Then, we remind them that they can always ask us for help to find a book for the reading boat.
Then, we bring the group back together and read one last story. If the class still has time we let them explore the room independently until it is time for them to leave.
We are not a "shushing" room by any means, but this is a great tour because it gently reinforces some best practices for using the library. For most preschoolers this is the first time they've ever been in our library and it can definitely be overwhelming. Since we've been "blessed" with a huge boat in our room, we want to make sure we have their attention to really show the room during the tour. By incorporating Bob Shea's brilliant book into the tour we have their attention the entire time. Thanks Bob!