Monday was the start of our new bilingual storytime! Any of you that know me, understand how much I wanted this storytime to happen. It was so exciting to finally see it in action. : ) A big thank you to all of you who came, I hope you had as much fun as I did. And a an even bigger thank you to the storytime mom who helped me put this together and get the ball rolling.
As I said, this storytime is one I have wanted to do for a really long time. I do not speak Spanish fluently so I didn’t feel comfortable teaching something I’m not sure I am doing correctly. My friend Renee approached me and asked if I would be interested in her helping me with a bilingual storytime. She didn’t know this, but I was taking a class concerning outreach to Hispanic communities. One of the big suggestions from the class was to use volunteers. Renee came to me at the perfect moment. My energy was high again and I had lots of ideas from the on-line course I had just taken.
Not knowing what to expect made the planning process a little difficult. We put together three pages worth of songs in both English and Spanish (printable link below), and chose only one book to read (Where is Baby’s Bellybutton/Donde Esta el Ombliguito? By Karen Katz). Our library is lucky in that we have a budget for storytime books and are able to get multiple copies of some of our board books. It helps when storytime becomes overwhelming to be able to hand out a book to each child. It really helps them focus, and you wouldn’t believe how the noise level decreases immediately. We were even luckier for this program because we had multiple copies of the book in English and Spanish!!
When it was time for the first storytime we were both really nervous. Eventhough I do five storytimes a week, I get nervous before each one….especially when it is not my native language. Like I said we didn’t know what to expect, so we didn’t want to go overboard with really long stories. I’m glad we thought of this before hand, our first group ranged in age from 6 months to 8 years, plus all the eager to learn parents. Spanish knowledge was all over the place too, from fluent to beginner.
The storytime went great. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun and we ALL learned something new. Since the book was about body parts the kids helped us put together a magnetic board of a girl. As we added each body part we named them in English and Spanish. The kids were able to take home a two page mini version of this magnetic board to color and cut out themselves. One sheet was labeled in Spanish and the other sheet was blank to give them a chance to use their knowledge.
This storytime is a total experiment to see if this is something our community wants. We are eager for suggestions and criticisms, it is the only way we can make it better. One parent did let us know that it was a little overwhelming to learn so many new words and songs all at once, though she did mention that she thought the kids probably didn’t notice. Knowing how hard it was for me to try to learn these songs in less than a week, I completely agree with her on both points.
So have no fear if you are debating coming back or coming for the first time. We will be doing the same songs for the next four storytimes. This will give us a chance to really learn them and be comfortable singing them. Every adult and child that attends gets a copy of the songs to use during and afterwards. I am not an expert at this, I am really just here to have fun learning a new language with friends. I’m hoping others who are looking for the same thing will join us Mondays at 4:30
Spanish Songs For Week One