Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Interacting with fingerplays

Why do we do fingerplays in the library? Well, I personally do them for several reasons. One to help train students to control their hands. Come on, don’t sniff in disbelief! Haven’t you had the classes where they roll on the floor and touch their neighbors? Where they braid each other’s hair while listening? Be honest! How many of you do the rhyme Criss-Cross Applesauce just so they learn to put their hands in their lap?

Criss-Cross Applesauce Hands in Your Lap
Open Them, Shut Them, Open Them, Shut them,
Give a Little Clap
Open Them, Shut Them, Open Them, Shut them,
Fold Them In Your Lap

Two, because I want them to link listening skills with movements.

Three, because I want them to hear fun sounds and learn that language is FUN.

Four, the academic wisdom of fingerplays includes: phonological awareness, rhyming words, the concepts of building vocabulary, learning narrative skills, learning to sequence in narrative, learning to break words into sounds to recognize rhymes

Five, activity helps when students need motion and change. I have students for an hour at a time. We need activities with movement and change. They need to learn the patterns to predict and rehearse language.

Where are some fingerplay resources?

Well, I do have some ancient texts that have been handed down to me by librarians (especially those in their 80’s have the best), books, youtube and teachertube videos, and websites like:

  • Storytime Share through
  • Saroj Ghoting shows how to make Hickory Dickory Dock more interactive on youtube
  • The ALSC Blog had an interesting post on Fingerplay Burnout. I understand that and think that we should be able to develop a shorter list of fingerplays that truly are our favorites. Beware Steven Engelfried’s Turkey Fingerplay because I think he has gone over to the dark side (as Ginny56 suggests)
  • Pirate Storytime with Fingerplays by Born Librarian
  • Squidoo site with many fingerplay resources
  • Athens Clarke Public Library storytime resources provide an example of the type of list I need, but it doesn’t include the movements. Just think what a video attached to each would offer in value!
  • Gayle’s Preschool Rainbow site offers preschool fingerplays that are still very valid for my students. When I ask them how many have ever attended a library preschool storytime, the answer is usually 1 out of 20. ONE out of TWENTY! To quote one of my favorite movies, the Princess Bride, INCONCEIVABLE!
  • John M. Feierabend has many books featuring fingerplays/action rhymes for young children. The Book of Finger Plays and Action Songs was one of my favorites, but I’ve lost my copy and need to get another. (I didn’t do fingerplays with 8th graders the past 3 years)

Tell me your favorite sites for learning fingerplays and your favorite titles. I can think of wonderful examples by Eileen Christelow and Toni Buzzeo of books that prompt fingerplays. Who else is on your favorite list?