Our friend Kristen (known on Instagram as @tojaneandrose) took summer reading to a whole new level by launching @storytimebookclub, a neighborhood book club for little readers. We encourage you to follow their weekly adventures as the kids gather on Wednesdays for a neighborhood story time play group like no other! Each week, neighborhood’s little readers join together for a new themed storytime and activity, and we’re way jealous.
We asked the @storytimebookclub creator and mom-in-chief if she had any advice to share and here are her tips and wisdom for getting something started where YOU live!
How did you get the idea to start a kids’ story time book club?
Last year we hosted a neighborhood art class in our backyard, which was a huge hit! The kids loved getting together every week to make something creative. I wanted to change things up this summer, and we are big readers in this house, so I thought a storytime would be easy and fun. We read every picture book we can get our hands on, so I’ve been excited to share old and new titles with the kids.
What’s the typical story time routine look like?
We usually have about fifteen minutes of outdoor play while everyone arrives and socializes, and then we gather the children around the reading chair to get started. So far we’ve been reading four books (the kids range in age from babies to six years), so that’s about as much as their little attention spans can take! Then we pass out stickers for good listening and move on to a fun activity or a snack (or both!) and at the end the kids are invited to take a book from our wonderful Half Price Books cart! Our local store was really generous and donated a cart along with three boxes of books to us for the summer, so the kids have been able to take home titles each week. They’ve all been really awesome and have started bringing some of their own books from home to share with their friends every week – it’s like we have our own backyard free little library cart! It’s been really heartwarming to see and we’re so grateful to Half Price Books for helping us out.
How much time did it take to prepare?
Most of my prep work went into deciding each week’s theme – I was actually two weeks into summer before I finalized everything. We have a large, established neighborhood playgroup that’s been meeting together for about three years now, so communication has been easy – I just send a text every week reminding everyone to show up on Wednesday! Before we meet, I spend time pulling potential titles to go along with that week’s theme (many from our existing library, plus new and old ones I research ahead of time) and then it takes me about an hour to set everything up. So far I’ve been choosing very simple activities inspired by the theme because I do want the kids’ focus to be on the books themselves. As for snacks, the Animal Books week was the first week we had a snack — my daughters and I made animal cookies to go along with A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which the kids loved. Some of the other moms have volunteered to bring snacks in the upcoming weeks so I can’t wait to see what they come up with!
What themes have you had so far and what is coming up?
Here’s our lineup:
Week One: You’re Pawsome (Dog and Cat Books)
Week Two: Because It’s You I Like (Friendship Books)
Week Three: All Creatures Great and Small (Animal Books)
Week Four: Sea to Shining Sea (Underwater Creatures)
Week Five: Cars and Trucks and Things That Go (Transportation Books)
Week Six: From the Earth to the Moon (Space Books)
Week Seven: Storysaurus Rex (Dinosaur Books)
Week Eight: Courage Dear Heart (Adventure Books)
Week Nine: Color Me Delighted (Color Books)
Week Ten: Storytime Book Club Par-Tea (Kids’ choice/End of summer party)
Is this just for summer?
Probably! There’s a possibility we’ll continue it into the fall but things always get a little crazier with kids’ school schedules. We’ll definitely continue to offer book recommendations and activity ideas on the @storytimebookclub account, though. We also have a few really great giveaways scheduled in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to follow us for a chance to win some fun prizes.
Do you charge to be a part of the club? Is that a good idea?
I don’t charge! So far my only cost has been the books themselves, but we are happy to own the additional titles I’ve chosen. And we’re lucky to have several fantastic Half Price Books locations around, so I can always find awesome books for really great prices. Last year, for art class, the costs were more substantial, so I just tallied up all my receipts and the other moms paid me back at the end of the summer, which worked really well for everyone.
All we know is that we’re sad we can’t join in the fun, too, but we are really enjoying watching these little bookworms’ adventures. Don’t forget to share your summer reading adventures with us by tagging @halfpricebooks #FeedYourBrain!
AND, don’t forget to jump in a rocket ship and head to the stars! FEED YOUR BRAIN® and fuel the power of your imagination this summer with the Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program.
Download and use this reading log in June and July. Add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial each week. Once you’ve reached 300 minutes or more, bring your reading log into your local HPB store to claim your Bookworm Bucks on or before August 29, 2019.