Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thinking Outside the Book: Soccer Storytime

Not too long ago, we hosted a Ballet Story Time at my library, to great success--lots of families were excited to attend a program with a real, live ballerina in attendance, ready for questions and pictures. So, of course, I wanted to figure out a way to replicate that same enthusiasm for another audience of library families. The result? Soccer Story Time.

The St. Louis Lions are a local soccer team in the Premier Development League, and our library district has worked with them on a number of occasions for special events in the past. They were happy to be able to come to my branch for a specialty program. Here's what we did.

Soccer players love to read, too!

Soccer Story Time

Welcome & Introduction
     I welcomed everyone to our event and reminded everyone about the summer reading program. Plenty of kids were already signed up for summer reading, and a handful had seen the Lions at our summer reading kickoff event earlier this month. Then it was go time.

Story: For the Love of Soccer! by Pelé, illustrated by Frank Morrison
     This story, and its illustrations, share a soccer tale that many kids can relate to. We see Pelé as both a young soccer enthusiast and as a professional player, enjoying everything about the game the entire time. The message that playing for the love of the game--as opposed to a love of winning--is a good way to conclude, too.

Soccer Time!
     We started with a chance for the kids to ask our four attending soccer players questions: about when they started playing, how much they practice, etc. After the questions had been answered, the players demonstrated a few trick moves for the crowd before breaking the children into groups for some basic soccer skills practice. The youngest in the crowd worked on kicking, older kids did dribbling and other moves. Then, we concluded soccer time with a good old-fashioned shoot-out. The professionals were the goalkeepers and the kids tried to kick goals. My, were they having fun.

Craft and Picture Time
     I had a simple soccer ball craft set out on tables at the back of the room to help keep folks interested as they waited their turns for autographs and photo ops. The craft used a hexagon template I created, which allowed kids to color in the hexes, cut them out, and glue them on a coffee filter. Ta-da! 2-D soccer ball.

Everyone had a great time at this program, with many of the attendees psyched to go see a St. Louis Lions game this summer. I think World Cup fever helped the interest level, too, as well as the general ubiquity of kids in soccer around these parts. All things considered, this was a straightforward and enjoyable way to tap another aspect of the community for a library program.


  1. What a great and timely program! Your partnerships in your community are inspiring, Amy!

    1. Thanks, Abby! It's been fun to think about what community figures we can bring in for programs--lots of opportunities for real-life celebrations of kids' interests!

  2. Kathleen Connelly-BrownJune 28, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Very cool program and as usual I am inspired to replicate (read: steal/borrow)! While we don't have a team on the level of your Lions in this area, we do have a HUGE amount of interest in soccer here - it is culturally a big deal in these parts. Keeping this idea tucked away until we do our fall Expert Hour programs....maybe I can get the high school team or members of one of the adult leagues to partner with. Great programming idea Amy!!

  3. Hi! I am doing something very similar this summer, since our theme is On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! Thanks for amazing idea!

    I was wondering if you could tell me how long your program lasted.

  4. Could you tell me if you took the kids outside for the soccer skills practice? What age range would this program be best for, after having done it? Preschool seems like it might be too young.

    1. We stayed inside for the entire program. It was geared toward elementary-aged kids.


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