Library Mary

Early Literacy Advocate, Champion of Diversity in Children's Literature

The amazing kindie rocker Laura Doherty ( visited my library as part of our summer reading program. When she performed her song “Hula Hoop”  she invited some kids to come up and hoop while she played. Then the hula hoops became “preschool dance circles,” and I was inspired.

A week later I did my “hula hoop story time,” but the hula hoops really were a cover for introducing shapes. First we talked about squares, and I pointed to some square magnets on my white board. Then I read Perfect Square by Michael Hall. Naturally, we talked about how the book is shaped like a square.

Then I introduced circles by showing the kids a hula a hoop. I demonstrated how to use a hula hoop to the tune of “My Hula Hoop.” This song is by Miss Nina Stone (, another of my favorite children’s musicians. Then I set the kids loose to dance and hula hoop to Laura Doherty’s song: (,

Here’s a song I used to help children learn how to identify shapes. Sing it to the tune of “Frère Jacques.”

This is a square, this is a square.

How can you tell? How can you tell?

It has four sides,

All the same size,

It’s a square, it’s a square.

This is a circle, this is a circle.

How can you tell? How can you tell?

It goes round and round,

No end can be found.

It’s a circle. It’s a circle.

Singing is one of the early literacy practices that we children’s librarians promote. In this case, the song helps the children learn the names of shapes. Singing any song helps children learn how to identify sounds, and how chunks of sound work together to make words. This knowledge will help them sound out words when they start reading independently. 

Early Literacy Practices in this Story Time


  • helps children learn to love reading
  • helps children understand how books work


  • helps children learn the names of the shapes (vocabulary)
  • helps children learn how words are made of chunks of sound


  • providing background knowledge about the book that will improve comprehension
  • Introducing vocabulary (author, illustrator, circle, square, hula hoop)

Other Developmental Assets in this Story Time:


  • geometry (learning shapes)

Gross Motor Development:

  • hula hooping
  • dancing
  1. librarymary1209 posted this