Cover to Cover: A Storytime for Read Across America Day

I was originally planning to do this storytime last week, in observance of Read Across America Day on March 2, but it was too rainy for our outdoor venue, so I did it yesterday instead.

Here’s what we did:


Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier and Suzy Lee

This is a really simple book, but it always gets a great response. The book instructs you to “Open this little red book and read about ladybug, who opens her little green book and reads about frog…” etc. Each time the “book” you are opening gets smaller and smaller, until finally you get to Giant’s little rainbow book, which is too small for her to read, so her friends read it to her, and then close up each book. The kids enjoyed calling out the colors of the book covers, and I had them say, “Shoop!” every time we closed a book.

We Are in a Book by Mo Willems

This is one of my favorite Elephant and Piggie Books. My coworker Charlotte read the part of Piggie and I read Gerald, and it got a lot of laughs. In this one, the two friends realize that they are in a book, and have fun getting the reader to say the word “Banana.” It reminds me a lot of The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak, which is one of my all-time favorite books to read aloud.

Hooray for Books by Brian Won

This one worked really well for the theme, because it has a lot of different animals and colorful illustrations, and ends with a storytime (Yay!). The story is about a turtle who can’t find his favorite book, because it keeps getting borrowed by one of his friends. In the end, the animals all decide to share their books with each other. The kids enjoyed calling out, “Hooray for Books!” on every other page.


Rainbow Round Me by Ruth Pelham

This one was especially appropriate because there was a big, beautiful rainbow in town earlier that morning. We sang it after reading Open This Little Book, and I asked the kids to suggest things they might see outside their window. We had a purple butterfly, an orange butterfly, a yellow cat and a pink cat:

When I [C] look outside my [G7] window,
There’s a world of color I [C] see.
Fiddle-dee-dee, [F] outside my [C] window 
There’s a [G7] world of color I [C] see.

[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 
[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 

And the [C] butterfly outside my [G7] window,
Is as purple as purple can [C] be.
Fiddle-dee-dee, [F] outside my [C] window 
It’s as [G7] purple as purple can [C] be.

[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 
[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 

And the [C] cat outside my [G7] window,
Is as yellow as yellow can [C] be.
Fiddle-dee-dee, [F] outside my [C] window 
It’s as [G7] yellow as yellow can [C] be.
And the butterfly is [G7] purple as purple can [C] be.

These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner

This song is so much fun to sing, and it fit perfectly with the theme. Laurie Berkner has a great YouTube video where you can see the motions.

The lyrics are:

These are my glasses,

This is my book.

I put on my glasses,

And open up my book.

Then I read, read, read,

And I look, look, look.

I put down my glasses and whoop! close up the book.

If You’d Like to Read a Book

I got this one from Miss Katie’s Story Time Wiki. It’s to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It:

[C] If you’d like to read a book, clap your [G7] hands (clap, clap)

If you’d like to read a book, clap your [C] hands (clap, clap)

If you’d [F] like to read a book, listen up [C] and take a look,

If you’d [G7] like to read a book, clap your [C] hands! (clap, clap)

Reading Rainbow Theme Song by Steve Horelick, Dennis Neil Kleinman, and Janet Weir

I couldn’t resist doing this song as our instrument play-along, if only for the nostalgia factor. Plus, it’s so catchy!

[G] Butterfly in the sky,
[G] I can go twice as high.
[C] Take a [D] look, it’s
[C] In a [D] book, a
[C] Reading [D] Rain-[G]bow!

[C] I [D] can go [G] anywhere!
[C] Friends to [D] know, and
[C] Ways to [D] grow, a
[C] Reading [D] Rain-[G]bow

[C] I [D] can be [G] anything!
[C] Take a [D] look, it’s
[C] In a [D] book, a
[C] Reading [D] Rain-[G]bow!
[C] Reading [D] Rain-[G]bow!

Stay & Play: Handmade Books

I was looking for an easy way to make a paper book for the kids to decorate that didn’t involve staples, and I found this really fun one from Teach Beside Me.

Before the storytime, I folded together three pieces of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper in half width-wise, and punched two holes along the folded edge about three inches apart. Then I folded different colors of paper in half for the covers, and punched two holes in the same place.

For the Stay & Play, I put out the folded paper, the folded covers, some rubber bands, some popsicle sticks (I used the wide kind, but the thinner ones work really well too), some stamps and stamp pads, and some stickers. I meant to bring markers, but forgot to get them from the library when I was packing up to go to the park.

I showed the kids (and really the parents) how to choose a cover that they liked, fold it over a pack of blank paper, and then feed each end of the rubber band through each of the holes and wrap it around either end of the popsicle stick to hold the book together. The kids had a great time decorating their books with stickers and stamps.

What are your favorite books and songs about reading? Please share them in the comments below.