Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mail Call!

Our guest blogger today is Amanda Struckmeyer, a YSS member from the Middleton Public Library.


After our opening song, I often introduce storytime themes with a piece of mail.  I would guess that most storytimers don’t receive a lot of “real” mail, so this is exciting for them and it really grabs their attention.  It’s also a sneaky way for me to incorporate some teaching.  The whole process takes about two minutes. 
I read the entire address, pointing to the words as I go.  I use each part of the address as a clue that this piece of mail might be intended for us. 

“’Storytime’.  That’s us!  ‘Middleton Public Library.’ That’s our library!  ‘Middleton.’  That’s our city!  ‘Wisconsin.’  That’s our state!  ‘53562.’  That’s our ZIP code; this mail must be for us!”
Did you catch the sneaky teaching?  Some kids might not have heard of a ZIP code before, and it never hurts to reinforce the ideas of city and state. 

I read the return address aloud, too, so that we can find out who the mail is from before we open it.   Usually, this is a clue as to what our storytime theme will be that day.  I would love to improve this tool by adding thematic paper stamps, but for now, they are simply drawn on the envelopes. 

The mail always includes a letter and some kind of clue pertaining to our theme.  This particular clue is a flannel puzzle in the shape of a pig, which I put together on the flannel board as I read the letter aloud. 

“Dear Storytime, here is a clue for you!  First, put the big oval on the flannel board.  Next, place the four rectangles underneath the oval.  Now put the bigger circle on one end of the oval, and put the two triangles above the circle.  Place the smaller circle on top of the bigger circle.  Add the two eyes above the smaller circle.  Now put the curly tail on the end of the oval.  Have fun reading today!  Love, Farmer Janice.” 
I stop throughout and we decide together which of the circles is smaller and bigger, where exactly to put the eyes, and such.  Because I am placing the flannel pieces, the puzzle always comes out looking like the intended object. 


11 comments:

IFLS Youth Services said...

What a great idea!! I'm a real sucker for mail, this is such a fun way to grab attention and sneak in useful things to know. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Wow, waht a great idea, thanks for sharing!

Jill- Eau Claire

Jen the Youth Services Librarian said...

Amanda, I love this idea!! Very creative - thank you so much for sharing!

Sue A. said...

I love this idea so much I shared it with every youth services librarian in my system. I am so going to do this during summer story time! Thanks for the great idea! Keep 'em coming!

susan-Fremont said...

Got this email from Sue A. It's an excellent idea which we will definitely use. We have an interactive storytime and this is perfect!

Library Danielle said...

I saw this on Pinterest and love it! Great idea, I'm totally incorporating it into our story time.

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

Pretty exciting! Literacy Launchpad linked to this post! http://literacylaunchpad.blogspot.com/2012/05/favorite-links.html

HCPLBlog said...

This is a wonderful idea! Love the "sneaky" teaching as well. I may also consider putting a mailbox in the children's area. We have a sheepdog puppet that always introduces our storytimes. Now he can simply check the mail. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This is a Phenomenal idea! Thank you for sharing...I'm going to use it tomorrow!!!!

Larissa

Tracey said...

What a great variation on doing "mail time" for each individual child, which is what I did (pre-budget cut) years ago! Much more crowd and budget friendly! I will be using this idea for sure.

Bonnie Arriola said...

I love, love, love this idea!! My own hobbies are centered all around snail mail (postcards and pen pals) and this would be such a fun way to bring that little bit of my personality into my story times. Thanks for sharing!!!