Early Literacy Storytime: Sort It Out

Earlier I mentioned a literacy tip you could add to a Shapes Storytime to highlight the relationship between learning shapes and learning letters.

Here’s another storytime activity that showcases shape differentiation! Talking about attributes of objects and toys while playing is one way to start drawing a child’s attention to the details that make shapes the same and different. This is the literacy message we added to our demo storytime at our ALSC Institute presentation this past Saturday!

Make a set of clip art or flannel shapes before storytime. The shapes could actually be shapes, such as squares, circles, triangles, hearts, stars, and so forth. Or the shapes could be different clip art images of animals, or bugs. You could use flowers that are different colors or leaves that are different shapes. You could have different kinds of cars and trucks and things that go. Make sure your set has several of each shape or object, and keep one of each image for yourself. Hand out the rest of the images to the kids.

Set up your flannelboard or whiteboard or magnetboard as a chart and show it to the kids.

Tell them you need their help to sort out all the pictures! Put one of your images at the top of one of the columns. Say, “Let’s put all our ladybugs into this column. Who has a ladybug?” Have the children come up and put their ladybug in the right spot. If they don’t put their image in the right place, don’t make a big deal about it! Just say something like, “Thank you! Here is a ladybug! Let’s put it in the ladybug spot.” Or, “This is a beetle! Let’s put this in a beetle column.”

For an older group, you can put all the images at the top of the chart at once, and have them come up one by one and decide which column to put their pieces.

When everyone has had a turn, show how all the images in one column match each other. Then say, “Parents, when you talk about same and different and matching with your child, they start to learn how to compare things themselves. They will use these same comparing skills to learn their letters! Talking with your kids helps them get ready to read.”

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