|Gwyneth chooses a chapter book in our newly-renovated library|
1. For quite a few months after Gwyneth's arrival, I lost the ability to carefully plan storytimes in my second language, carry them out, take photos of all the books, find links to all the song lyrics, and then write about them at length. I was proud of myself simply for reading some stories and singing some songs in French in front of other people!
2. Two mamans who took turns leading the storytime with me moved away last summer, and another one's work schedule changed. Lately it's been just moi. (More work = less blogging!)
3. The library was closed for nearly two months in fall 2012 for major renovations, and then storytimes didn't start up again right away, so we lost momentum (and I lost the habit of blogging about them).
Here's the biggest change:
Our storytime is now an official part of the library's offerings (rather than a word-of-mouth gathering), which, don't get me wrong, is exciting and empowering--but this also means we're seeing new faces, most of whom don't actually speak French! After a couple of sessions where Griffin was the only one answering my questions and singing the songs, where I had to revise my "lesson plan" on the fly since none of the other children would understand much of the stories, I have realized that I need to simplify, simplify, simplify, and also make sure to alternate every book with a physical activity to keep the kids from getting bored.
Typically, librarians interact with the children at storytimes by asking questions about the books, asking kids questions about themselves, encouraging them to join in by reciting words or phrases that are repeated in the books, or by making the appropriate animal sounds and vehicle noises, or by filling in the rhyming words at the end of sentences.
I'm discovering, though, that this sort of interaction between the reader and the listeners requires that the listeners be able to follow the story, and if most of the listeners and their parents don't understand French, then they give me blank stares instead of "cocorico"s and "vroum"s!
So now, the books are short, the puppets numerous, and we get up and dance to French songs instead of singing them ourselves!
|a typical French storytime (2011)|
So yes, things change, which is what's supposed to happen, yes. But I do miss my friends who moved away; I miss being able to attend French storytime--watching and listening and learning and holding my children on my lap--instead of leading it all the time.
|my favorite kind of storytime|