What is a Bookbug Session?



What is a Bookbug Session?
Bookbug Session
Leader Handbook
This handbook has been designed
as a practical companion to your
Bookbug Sessions.
to the Bookbug Session Leader Handbook. Thank you for participating in Bookbug Session Leader
Since 2008, Scottish Book Trust has delivered Bookbug Session Leader training to local authority
and organisation staff across Scotland. The provision of high quality training has enabled local
authorities to ensure that their Bookbug Sessions are led by knowledgeable, confident and highly
skilled Bookbug Session Leaders.
Bookbug Sessions provide an invaluable way of delivering high quality music, stories and rhymes to
children and their parents, providing many developmental benefits. By participating in the training,
you are demonstrating your forward-thinking approach towards the impact music, rhymes and
books can have on children’s development and on parenting skills.
This handbook has been designed as a practical companion to your Bookbug Sessions and is packed
full of useful information. Within it you will find support and advice on the content of your Bookbug
Sessions including recommended books, songs and rhymes.
We hope you enjoy the training and wish you every success with your own Bookbug Sessions!
Happy Reading!
Rosalyn McGlynn, Early Years Outreach Programme Co-ordinator
by Julia Donaldson
When I was a little girl, I used to “Listen With
Mother” every day to a radio programme with
that name. As well as a story, there were
always two nursery rhymes, my favourite being
Ding Dong Bell. The rhymes were sung over
and over again, and yet never often enough for
me. Apparently one of my first sentences was
“More Ding Dong!”
Another early memory is of being joggled
about on an Auntie’s knee and joining in her
chant about how the farmers/children/
ladies/gentlemen rode, building up from a
sedate walk to a wild gallop.
Then, when I was five, my father gave me The
Book of a Thousand Poems, which inspired me
to write my own verses and with the ambition
to be a “poet” when I was grown up.
With my love, common I’m sure to all young
children, of song, rhyme, movement and
attention from adults, I would have adored
Bookbug Sessions had they existed then,
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 2
and I am delighted that they are now taking
place in so many libraries and other
community centres.
Apart from the pleasure for the children,
it seems to me an excellent idea that parents
and carers can get together, increase their
repertoire of traditional and new rhymes
and songs, and grow in confidence as
companionable entertainers for their children.
I’m especially glad about the use of libraries
for many Bookbug Sessions. I often do “author
visits” to libraries, and I firmly believe that we
should keep libraries open and actively
encourage their use by organisations such as
Scottish Book Trust. These toddlers are the
readers (and maybe writers) of the future.
I am hopeful and confident that Bookbug
Sessions will grow and spread. In other words,
“More Ding Dong!”
We’re very honoured
that Julia Donaldson
is Bookbug’s patron.
Julia is the creator
of the best-selling
rhyming picture book
The Gruffalo, which
was made into an
animated film in 2011.
Julia lives in Glasgow
and to date has written
160 books.
About Bookbug
page 4
What is a Bookbug Session?
page 5
Choosing a Book for your Bookbug Session
page 6
The Book Box Song by Julia Donaldson
page 8
Favourite Bookbug Session Books
page 9
Choosing Songs and Rhymes for your Bookbug Session
page 10
Using Lycra in your Bookbug Session
page 12
Using Puppets in your Bookbug Session
page 14
Inclusive Bookbug Sessions
page 15
Information and Resources
page 16
Top Tips for a Successful Bookbug Session
page 17
Planning your Bookbug Session
page 18
Bookbug Session Templates
page 19
Bookbug Partners
page 22
The training has been fantastic to be involved with and has made
me feel I’m doing something really worthwhile and fun at work.
Lynn, Bookbug Session Leader
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 3
About Bookbug
Bookbug encourages parents and
children to share books together from
birth. Here are the different parts
of our programme:
Bookbug Packs
Bookbug gifts books to every baby,
toddler, 3 and 5 year old in Scotland
in 5 packs:
Baby Pack: gifted by health visitors in
the baby’s first year
Toddler Pack: gifted by health visitors
when the child is between 1-2
Pirate Pack: gifted at nursery when
the child is 3 years old
Bookbug Primary 1 Family Pack: gifted
at school when the child is in P1
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: a
book sent monthly to every Looked After
child in Scotland from birth to 5 years.
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 4
Bookbug Sessions
Free, fun-filled sessions of stories, songs
and rhymes for parents and children from
birth to 4 years, available at local libraries
and other community venues. For a list of
all the Bookbug Sessions across Scotland,
visit www.scottishbooktrust.com/
Bookbug’s Library Challenge
Children collect a stamp every time they
visit the library and are presented with a
beautifully illustrated certificate when the
collectors’ card is full. There are a range
of certificates to collect.
Bookbug Alerts
Parents can sign up on the Scottish Book
Trust website to receive an email with
suggested books and tips on their child’s
birthday and a reminder for when their
next Bookbug Pack is ready to collect:
What is a Bookbug Session?
Bookbug Sessions combine stories, songs and rhymes in a fun and interactive way for children
and families. They are delivered at libraries and other community venues across Scotland. The
sessions aim to encourage parents to share stories, songs and rhymes with their babies from
birth onwards.
A Bookbug Session is typically about 30 minutes long. You should always start with a hello song
and end with a goodbye song. The Bookbug Session should include songs and rhymes and a
story. A template to help you plan your session can be found later in this handbook.
It is good practice to welcome families by reminding them that the sessions are interactive and
that everyone is encouraged to join in. It’s also an opportunity to mention the Bookbug Packs to
parents and signpost them to where they can get them if they haven’t received them.
Elements of a Bookbug Session
Welcome and Introduction
Hello, I’m
and I will be leading the Bookbug
Session today. This session is part of the Bookbug
Programme and we hope that you have received your
Bookbug Packs. If you haven’t, come and speak to
me or any of the library staff after the session. If you
haven’t been to a Bookbug Session before, we will
sing some songs, say some rhymes and enjoy a
story together.
I’ll be demonstrating with my Bookbug doll. Don’t
worry if you don’t know the songs or rhymes; we will
do everything a few times so you can join in when
you’re ready. We’ll begin with a Hello Song.
More Songs and Rhymes
Try repeating some of the songs and rhymes that you
used earlier in the session. This is a great way to help
parents and children remember new songs and rhymes.
Calming Song
This is a great time for parents and children to have a
cuddle, which increases bonding. It’s also a great way to
calm children down after an energetic Bookbug Session.
Goodbye Song
A goodbye song is a nice way to say cheerio and let
families know the session has ended. Many leaders prefer
to alter their hello song at this stage so the session starts
and ends with the same song.
Hello Song
Using Your Bookbug Doll
A hello song welcomes families and signals that the
session is about to start. Tap or clap a beat and ask
families to join in with you.
Your Bookbug empathy doll is an important part of your
Bookbug Session. Bookbug should always be there to
welcome families and encourage participation. It’s also
very important to use Bookbug to demonstrate the
actions to songs and rhymes. Bookbug is an excellent
resource to model the actions and the behaviours for
Songs and Rhymes
Choose your favourite songs and rhymes. Repeat each
song or rhyme several times to familiarise families with it
and give them a chance to join in. Look for interactive
songs and rhymes that include elements of bouncing,
tickling, anticipation and bonding. When repeating songs
or rhymes, incorporate elements such as faster/slower,
A book should always be the focus of a Bookbug Session.
Try linking the book to the songs and rhymes.
Your Bookbug doll can:
> Demonstrate the actions for parents and children
> Decide whether the group sings the song faster
or slower, louder or quieter (note, it’s always best
for the leader to be the one who tells the group
what Bookbug said. Have Bookbug whisper in
your ear)
> Introduce books, songs and rhymes
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 5
Choosing a book to read aloud
at your Bookbug Session
A book should always be included as part of your Bookbug Session. When reading aloud at your Bookbug Session,
you are showing parents just how easy, and how fun it is to share a story with children. It’s also a great chance
for children to experience different reading aloud styles.
You can choose from many great books. The most important thing is to find a book you love!
Why read a book at your Bookbug Session?
You’re modelling for parents how fun it is to share a book
Children benefit from hearing different styles of reading aloud
You’re helping to develop a love of books and reading
It’s fun!
Books expose children to new words which are not always used in everyday speech
Reading aloud helps us learn how to express ourselves
Here are some important points to consider when choosing a book to read
at your Bookbug Session.
Does this book appeal to a wide age range?
This is sometimes challenging because you never know who is going to be at your Bookbug Session. Choose a book that
appeals to a variety of ages and that can be adapted slightly. It might be best to have several books prepared in advance.
Are the illustrations bold enough to be seen clearly by the group?
Look for books with bright, bold and easy to see illustrations. When using the book with a large group, it can be
challenging to make sure that everyone can see easily.
Is there an element of participation for children and parents?
Look for a book that involves actions and lets children join in. Playing a fun game involving movement will help to make
the book more exciting and relevant to children. This deepens their understanding and engagement.
Is the length of the book appropriate?
Try choosing a book that is relatively short. Sometimes it’s difficult to sustain the attention of the group while you’re reading
the book. A short book with an element of participation will appeal to the babies, toddlers and three year olds in your group.
Reading aloud creatively
Your voice is the most important tool you have when reading aloud. Here are some
tips for reading aloud creatively:
> Vary your tone. This will add colour to the story and make it more engaging.
A change in tone also helps children grasp the meaning and the feeling of a story.
> Don’t be afraid to add in silly voices. Ask the children to help you out.
> Take your time. Say the words slowly and give children lots of time to process
the book as you go.
> Try choosing a book that is also a song. Books that you can sing (If You’re Happy
and you Know it; Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes; Old MacDonald) offer an
additional element of participation. Singing a book or parts of a book is a great
way for children and families to participate in the story.
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 6
How to introduce
a book effectively
There are many ways you can bring out your book during
your Bookbug Session. Introducing the book creatively can
help build the excitement and engage parents and children.
Here are some things to try:
Make it a surprise
Hide your book in a box or a bag. You can tap it, shake it,
or show children the shape underneath some Lycra.
Bringing the book out as a surprise will boost the
Pre-story rhymes and songs
There are lots of great rhymes and songs that can be
used to introduce a story time.
I wiggle my fingers,
I wiggle my toes,
I wiggle my shoulders,
I wiggle my nose.
When no more wiggles are left in me,
I sit as still as still can be.
You could also use Julia Donaldson’s special song,
which you’ll find on page 8 of this handbook.
Read the book a few
times yourself so you’re
familiar with it before
the Bookbug Session.
Be enthusiastic
Tell parents and children what you like about the
book and why you chose that book to read aloud.
Encourage families to borrow the book from the
library so they can read it again at home.
Don’t forget to:
Tell children the
author and illustrator
of the book
This reinforces the message
of print and that the text and
illustrations are meaningful and
created by someone.
Read a book you love
– and tell people why
you love it!
Don’t worry about matching the
book exactly to the age group. It’s
best to go with a fun, shorter story
that will sustain attention and that
you can read with
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 7
The Book Box Song
This song is a great way to
encourage parents and children
to borrow books from the library
after the Bookbug Session.
Listen to the Book Box Song on
the Scottish Book Trust website:
The Book Box Song
by Julia Donaldson
Have a box of books at the ready!
Verse 1
Let’s have a look inside the book box,
The book box,
The book box.
Let’s find a book inside the book box.
What will the first book be?
Sammy* are you ready?
One two three.
Sammy take a book out.
What can you see?
Sammy’s found a book about a baby**,
A baby,
A baby.
If you like the book about the baby
You can borrow the book for free!
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 8
Verse 2 and subsequent verses
Have another look inside the book box
The book box,
The book box.
Find another book inside the book box.
What will the next book be?
Poppy*, are you ready?
One two three.
Poppy take a book out.
What can you see?
Poppy’s found a book about a monkey**,
A monkey,
A monkey.
If you like the book about the monkey
You can borrow the book for free!
Substitute name of child actually present
Substitute whatever is depicted on the book
jacket, e.g. an elephant, a teddy bear.
Text © Julia Donaldson 2012
Favourite Bookbug
Session Books
1 Dear Zoo (Rod Campbell)
2 Doing the Animal Bop (Jan Ormerod/Lindsey Gardiner)
3 Tickle Tickle (Helen Oxenbury)
4 Monkey and Me (Emily Gravett)
5 Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (Mem Fox/Helen Oxenbury)
6 Tickly Under There (Debi Gliori)
7 Moo Baa La La La (Sandra Boynton)
8 Shark in the Park (Nick Sharratt)
9 Where’s Spot? (Eric Hill)
10 Who’s in the Loo? (Jeanne Willis/Adrian Reynolds)
Looking for more book suggestions? There are lots of suggestions
in each of the Bookbug Packs. You can also visit
www.scottishbooktrust.com for more book lists.
Reading tips for different ages
Don’t worry too much about trying to match
the book to the ages of the children at your
Bookbug Session. The most important thing is
to find a book you love, and a book that you feel
can hold the attention of the large group.
Some books are great to share in a small
setting or with one or two children at a time,
while other books lend themselves nicely to
being shared with a group. It’s important to
find a book you enjoy that will work for your
Bookbug Session.
Toddlers like:
> Active and engaging books
> Lots of repetition
> Simple stories
> Themes – farm, zoo, house, cars
Three to five-year-olds like:
> Stories, poems, non-fiction
> Adventurous stories
Babies like:
> Longer stories
> Bright, bold illustrations
> Books with detailed illustrations
> Simple rhyming or repetitive text
> Baby faces
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 9
Songs and
for your
Types of songs and rhymes:
Rhymes are an important part of a Bookbug Session. Rhymes
help us develop a sense of beat and rhythm and children who
can keep a steady beat are naturally better readers. Rhymes
help children to develop an awareness of sounds and how
sounds pattern together. Clear articulation and a naturally
slower speaking rate when saying rhymes also gives children
a chance to catch the words. Starting your Bookbug Session
with a few rhymes gives everyone a chance to build their
confidence and warm up their voice.
The ability to detect rhyme and say if two words rhyme is
a strong predictor of reading skills. This ability is called
phonemic awareness. Children develop this by learning
nursery rhymes.
Using a range of songs and rhymes will boost participation,
engagement and positive behaviour.
Why use rhymes?
Rhymes develop our listening skills
Rhymes are fun
Children naturally prefer rhyming sounds
Rhymes are easier to remember
Rhymes develop clear speech and articulation
Children love singing along and participating in Bookbug
Sessions. Joining in with songs and rhymes encourages
us to move along with the music. Music helps us develop an
awareness of sounds – a vital skill to help children’s literacy
development. Children love to sing along. Choose songs that
are comfortable and easy for you to sing. Sing with a smile and
children and parents will follow in the joy of singing.
Why use songs?
They’re fun
Children love to sing
They develop an awareness of sounds
Music and singing can be used to calm and soothe
Music is emotional and can help children and parents bond
Children and babies hear at a slightly higher pitch
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 10
Active: these can be very energetic actions or mild
movement on the spot
Try: Horsey Horsey
Ask children to stand up and pretend to be a horse.
Horsey Horsey
Don’t you stop
Just let your feet go clippety clop
Your tail goes swish and your wheels go round
Giddy up we’re homeward bound
Calming: great to quieten down the group
Try: Twinkle Twinkle
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Bonding: encourage parents and children to have
a cuddle or spend time face to face
Try: Ally Bally
Ally bally, ally bally bee
Sitting on yer mammy’s knee
Greeting for a wee bawbee
Tae buy mair Coulter’s candy
Including Songs and
Rhymes in your
Bookbug Session
Take your time
Children need extra time to form the words of a song or rhyme.
Sing or say the words slowly to give them a chance to participate.
Sing or speak clearly
Young babies will watch the way the words are spoken. They’ll even try to imitate
the facial movements. Children need time to hear the words and catch up.
Use your Bookbug Doll to demonstrate the actions. If the song or rhyme is new
to parents, they might not know all the actions.
Be sure to demonstrate different ways to participate in the activity to allow
parents and children of all ages to be involved.
Children love repetition and repeating the same song or rhyme several times gives children more of a chance to participate.
This helps adults learn them as well. Repetition helps to boost everyone’s confidence.
Make repetition exciting
Play with the tempo and the dynamics. Try saying the rhyme or singing the song, faster and slower or louder and quieter.
This helps children to develop these concepts.
Switch it up
If a rhyme is traced on hands (e.g. Round and Round the Garden), ask the families to try tracing it on a different hand.
You could even mix it up and ask families to try tracing it on the child’s back, feet or anywhere! Try different songs
and rhymes in a slightly different way to make them even more exciting.
Build the anticipation
When repeating the rhyme, build the anticipation before the punch line. When saying rhymes like Cross Cross, use your voice
to build the anticipation before the big tickle at the end. It makes the rhyme even more fun and boosts the engagement and
listening skills, of both adults and children.
Favourite rhymes:
Cross Cross
Great for: building anticipation
Round and round the garden
(Trace circles on hand)
Like a teddy bear
Cross Cross
One step, two step
(Creep up the child’s arm)
Line Line
Tickle you under there! (Tickle the child!)
Spiders crawling up your spine (trace a
cross and a line on your child’s back)
(Repeat the rhyme using the other hand
or tummy)
Cool breeze (blow gently on your child’s
Tight squeeze (give your child a little
And now... you get...
The tickles! (tickle them all over!)
Round and Round the Garden
Tickling rhyme
Great for: developing body awareness
Forwards and Backwards
Great for: faster and slower
Forwards and Backwards and
Forwards and backwards
Up and down
Up and down
Side to side
Side to side
Round and round
Round and round
Ready to start again.....
Mum and Dad and Uncle John
Great for: adapting to different ages
– ‘falling off’ helps to develop motion
and balance. Small babies can bounce
on a parent’s lap. Toddlers can stand up
and bounce along.
Mum and Dad and Uncle John
Went to town trotting along
Mum fell off (lean to one side)
Dad fell off (lean to the other side)
But Uncle John went on and on and on
and on and on! (bounce faster and faster)
You can find more songs and rhymes on
the Scottish Book Trust website. Visit
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 11
Using Lycra in your
Bookbug Session
Lycra is a great resource. You can use Lycra to encourage movement in your
Bookbug Session and to get the group working together. If you don’t have a
sheet of Lycra, you can always use a big piece of fabric or a scarf. Lycra is sure
to be a big success in your session because it offers something for everyone.
Why use Lycra?
> Children and parents love it
> It encourages teamwork, and is great for including the whole group
> It encourages movement which activates different parts of the brain and helps us learn
> You can use virtually any song or rhyme with Lycra
> Lycra is great for introducing concepts like faster and slower, lower and higher. Because children get a chance to move,
it helps reinforce their learning.
Introducing Lycra
> Get someone to help bring the Lycra out. Pull it out
slowly and build the suspense
> Have different things wrapped up in Lycra. Try this
with stars: as you’re singing, unwrap the stars and
hand them to the children. This activity can be done
in reverse to collect the Lycra.
> Change the pace of the songs and rhymes.
Remember to keep opposite pairs together
(louder/softer, faster/slower)
> Always have a wind down
> You can lay your Lycra on the ground and pretend it is sea
or sky... Children can also sit on the Lycra for the story
> Trace circles or shapes on Lycra.
How to use Lycra with a group of mixed ages
Ask parents and children to sit on the floor in a circle. Stretch the
Lycra so everyone joins in. Parents with young babies may find it
easier to sit on the floor with the baby in their lap.
Lycra for babies:
> Give babies a chance to touch and feel the Lycra. They’ll enjoy
hitting it and feeling the bouncy and stretchy texture
> Lay the babies on the floor letting them look at the Lycra. Have
the shimmery side facing the babies. Gently waft the Lycra
while singing a calming song such as Twinkle Twinkle
> Have parents sit on the floor with the baby in their laps.
Ask them to trace a shape on the Lycra so babies can track
the movement.
Try: Round and Round the Garden
Say the rhyme and have the parents trace the shape from the
underside of the Lycra. This is great for engaging babies and having
them track the shape.
Round and round the garden
Like a teddy bear
One step, two step
Tickle you under there
Lycra for toddlers:
> Sit on the floor so toddlers have a chance to hold and play with
the Lycra
> Let them bounce a small teddy on the Lycra while you sing a song
or rhyme
> Hold the Lycra and walk in a circle – it’s much easier for children
to move in a circle if they’re holding onto something.
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 12
Try: Jelly on a Plate
Toddlers will love moving with this active rhyme.
Jelly on a plate
Jelly on a plate
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble,
Jelly on a plate
Other verses:
Biscuits in a tin, shake them up (x2)
Sausage in a pan, fry it up (x2)
Pancakes in a pan, turn them over (x2)
Lycra for older children:
> Let children go under the Lycra. For a peek-a-boo song
or rhyme, you could put more than one child under at a time
> Play ‘I have got the ball’. Roll the ball along the Lycra to see
if your group can work together to get the ball to the child
> Sing a lullaby at the end and rock a teddy to sleep. This will calm
the children back down.
Try: Row Row Row your Boat
Have the whole group pull their elbows back when you start singing.
If the whole group pulls back together, it really does feel like rowing.
You can also let a few children hide under the Lycra and pretend to be
the crocodile. At the end of the song, lift up the Lycra and let the
crocodiles run around. You may have to repeat several times so all
the children get a chance at being a crocodile!
Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile
Don’t forget to scream
Other great Lycra
songs and rhymes:
Shake and Shake
This rhyme is great to start with because it is so high energy. The first urge
when the Lycra comes out is to give it a good shake, so this allows children
the chance to be very active. Build the anticipation by repeating the rhyme.
Take your time or vary the length of time between each repetition.
Shake and shake and
shake and shake and
shake and shake and
Forwards and Backwards
This is a great active song to play with the speed and go faster and slower.
Forwards and backwards and forwards and backwards
And side to side and side to side
And up and down and up and down
And round and round and round and round
Ready to start again!
Five Fat Peas
This rhyme is great for collecting the Lycra. When the pod ‘pops’ all the children let go.
(make sure you hold on though!)
Five fat peas in a pea pod pressed
One grew, two grew, so did all the rest.
They grew and grew
And did not stop,
Until one day
The pod went POP!
Lycra with lullabies
Lycra is a high energy activity. Before putting the Lycra away,
it might be a good idea to calm the children down. You can
still do this with the Lycra.
Under the Lycra
Allow children to lie underneath the Lycra. Turn the Lycra
upside down so they’re looking at the shimmery side.
Sing a quiet song and waft the Lycra gently.
Rock Bookbug to sleep
To collect Lycra:
Sing a lullaby while rocking Bookbug to sleep on the Lycra.
The parents and the children should be rolling in the Lycra,
as the leader holds on to Bookbug. Bookbug loves being
rocked to sleep and swaddled in Lycra.
> Rhymes: Five Fat Peas, Five Fat Sausages,
Pop Goes the Weasel
Hum quietly
> Hum a song and wrap up a teddy.
Sing a song or rhyme a few times. With each repetition, sing
a little bit quieter. Ask families to hum the tune as you put
Bookbug to sleep.
> Tell them the last time before you sing a song:
“This will be the last time... then we will...”
> Ask the children to give themselves a clap:
“You did such a great job singing. Give yourselves a big clap”.
> Wave goodbye to the Lycra: 1, 2, 3 wave bye!
Where to get Lycra
Lycra can be sourced at fabric shops or online. You will find Lycra in the dance fabric section.
A piece of Lycra measuring approximately 2 metres by 2 metres will be sufficient for a group
of 15 – 20.
You can order a piece of Lycra from the following websites:
www.online-fabrics.co.uk www.ukfabricsonline.com www.fabricland.co.uk
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 13
Using Puppets in your Bookbug Session
Puppets will enhance your session by offering an
extra visual component. Look for finger puppets,
hand puppets, glove puppets and pop-up puppets.
Soft toys or finger puppets are a great way for
children who don’t speak to participate and choose
which rhyme or song they’d like to hear. Using hand
puppets effectively takes time and practice. It’s a
good idea to practise in front of the mirror before
using hand puppets in your session.
Why use puppets?
> They enhance the visual experience of a Bookbug
> Puppets can engage shy children.
> Children who don’t speak can make a request for
their favourite song or rhyme by choosing a
> Puppets can help to control behaviour. If parents
are chatting, take your puppet for a walk and
pause next to the chatty parents.
You are the most valuable resource. Don’t feel you
have to use a puppets for every song. Simple is just
as effective.
How to use puppets:
> Hand puppets should always arrive alive and
leave alive. This keeps the magic for children and
makes the puppet real.
> Puppets don’t need to have a voice. If you use a
voice, make sure you keep it consistent.
> Finger puppets are great for hiding in pockets
and bringing out when you need them for a song
or rhyme.
> Finger puppets
> Hand puppets
> Making your own – put cut-outs on ice lolly sticks.
Where to get Puppets
Keep an eye out for puppets at gift and toy shops as well as garden centres. It’s always nice to try
out a puppet before you buy it and see how it feels to you. You can also find puppets online.
The following websites stock a large selection including nursery rhyme themed finger puppets.
www.puppetsbypost.com www.manhattantoy.com www.folkmanis.com
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 14
Bookbug Sessions should be inclusive for all families,
including children and parents with additional support
needs. It is a good idea to ask new parents if they have any
access needs that you should be aware of at the start of the
session. There are simple things you can do to ensure that
everyone can join in at your Bookbug Session.
Bookbug Sessions are naturally inclusive by choosing a variety
of songs, rhymes and books and demonstrating different ways
to participate. Use a mix of active, calming and bonding songs
and rhymes supported by props and resources.
It’s important to demonstrate songs and rhymes with a few
different options for actions so parents can adapt the activity to
suit their needs. For instance, they may need to help their child
with movements. On the other hand, some parents may have
additional support needs and they may need to adapt the
activities to suit themselves. Remember, everyone has
different ways of learning, so try to make your sessions as
varied as possible. Remember to explain to parents what
you’re doing while you’re showing them.
Use props and resources
> Look for resources that are brightly coloured and easy
to see – especially from a distance.
> If a parent or child has a visual impairment, invite them
to sit closer to you so they can catch more of the sound
and movement.
> Incorporate objects with different textures and shapes and
size. Allow parents and children to explore the different
objects. Try objects that are both eye-catching and tactile.
Inclusive Book Resources
Deaf Books
This website features downloadable British Sign Language
Signed Stories
Signed Stories has a selection of baby and toddler books.
You can watch a BSL interpreter read the book.
Children in the picture
This website aims to promote the inclusion of disabled
children in early years picture books.
ClearVision Project
ClearVision is a UK postal lending library of mainstream
children’s books with added Braille. Their books all have
Braille (or Moon), print and pictures, making them suitable for
visually-impaired and sighted children and adults to share.
Booktrust Resources for Books and Disability
> Incorporate homemade music shakers. Have a variety on
hand to pass out to children.
> Use Lycra. Adapt the activity to match the group. Some
groups will prefer a very calm and slow movement, while
others will appreciate a high energy activity.
Booktrust is an independent reading and writing charity
that makes a nationwide impact on individuals, families
and communities, and culture in the UK.
Dual language books
> If possible, have a few spare copies of your book to pass out
to families.
> Look for touchy feely books or large print editions.
> Incorporate different learning styles by using actions, varied
voices and books with rhyme and repetition.
Mantra Lingua has a large selection of well-known children’s
books in many different languages. The books are bilingual
with English. There are over 50 languages to choose from!
> Look for books that represent social and cultural diversity.
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 15
and Resources
Bookbug, Scottish Book Trust
Visit the Scottish Book Trust website for information about Bookbug.
Follow Tracy’s Early Years Lowe-down blog for fascinating articles relating to children’s development.
Bookbug Session Leaders (Hidden webpage)
Online guide to assist with planning and leading Bookbug Sessions. Please note this is a hidden address and you will
not find this page unless you type in the address as shown. We recommend you bookmark this page.
Early Childhood News
This website features many informative articles about the development of children and young people.
Recommended article: Music and Movement – Instrumental in Language Development
Zero to Three
This excellent resource comes from an American organisation and features information about brain development
in young children. Recommended feature: The Baby Brain Map
Play Talk Read
This Scottish Government initiative features songs and rhymes and practical tips. A great resource to recommend.
Recommended Research Books
Reading Magic: Why reading aloud to our children will change their lives forever by Mem Fox
This book is easy to read and really enjoyable. It’s written conversationally and features lots of tips about
encouraging children to read – and why we need to do this.
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf
This book explains how reading and writing systems developed over time. Part one offers a historical account
while parts two and three explain how we learn to read and what happens when the brain can’t learn to read.
How Babies Think by Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl
This book will take the reader into the mind of a young baby. It gives a very detailed and complete analysis
of what infants are learning – and how.
Why Love Matters: How affection shapes a baby’s brain by Sue Gerhardt
This book explores the connection between affection and positive brain development. It gives a good analysis
of how early interaction between babies and parents will have lasting impact and/or serious consequences.
The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk
Although not specifically related to the early years, David Shenk discusses early development, and how we’re all
born with everything we need to be successful in life.
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 16
Top Tips for a Successful
Bookbug Session
1 Lead with a smile!
Be yourself and remember you don’t have to be perfect. Don’t be scared of
making a mistake. Laugh at it – humour is important too!
2 Don’t be afraid to try new songs, rhymes and books
Let families know you want to try something new and that you’ll do it a few
times to give everyone a chance to join in. It’s also a good idea to introduce new
material in the middle of the session, before and after activities the group
knows well.
3 Relax!
Kids will be kids! Some will walk away, fidget or squirm. It may not seem like
they’re listening, but they are.
4 Get moving!
Getting parents and children up and moving together can help break down
barriers. It will loosen people up and make the session much more enjoyable
for everyone.
5 Be prepared – but be prepared to be flexible!
Always plan extra activities for the session! Depending on the mood of your
group some activities may be more successful than others. If one thing isn’t
working well, you can move on and try something else.
6 Do it again!
Don’t rush through songs and rhymes. Repetition works wonders for boosting
the confidence of children and adults. Keep demonstrating and they’ll pick up
the songs, rhymes and actions. Use opposites like faster/slower and
7 Be patient
Parents can be shy at first but will soon join in when they’re comfortable.
Babies might be a bit restless, but usually after a few sessions they settle down.
8 Keep it simple
Use songs, rhymes and books you enjoy. Don’t overcomplicate your session
with too many props and resources – simple is just as effective!
9 Show and tell
Demonstrate the actions with your Bookbug empathy doll. Explain to parents
what you are doing.
10 Listen and watch
Watch the reactions of parents, babies and children. You’ll soon know what
their favourites are.
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 17
Planning your
Bookbug Session
Planning tips:
Start with a song or rhyme that is well-known.
If families are able to join in from the very
beginning, it helps to put everyone at ease.
Repeat unfamiliar songs and rhymes until
the group are comfortable with them.
After each session, take a few minutes to
reflect on how it went.
Don’t pack your session full of lots of songs
and rhymes. Leave space for lots of repetition
and opportunity to extend the activity. Also leave
time and space for requests.
Use a mix of familiar and new songs and rhymes.
Use a mix of bouncing, bonding, tickling and
action songs and rhymes.
Be flexible – have some alternative options just
in case. Always prepare two books to cater for
different moods.
Be prepared! – make sure you have all the
resources and books you need in advance.
Prepare them so you know where they are and
you can get to them easily during your session.
Make sure you are comfortable and familiar with
all the materials, activities and books.
10 Have books on hand to encourage families to
borrow books after the session.
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 18
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 19
Goodbye Song
Calming Song
Songs and Rhymes
Song with movement
Songs and Rhymes
Hello Song
Welcome families and explain about Bookbug Packs and how they are delivered in your local authority.
Hold up a Bookbug Bag to show them. Explain what happens in a Bookbug Session. Remind parents that
this is time for them to join in as best they can with their child.
Resource required
Use the following template to help you plan your Bookbug Session
Planning a Bookbug Session
Sample Session Template
Week 1 of 4
Hello Song
Hello Everyone
Welcome everyone
– give an explanation
of the session
Songs and Rhymes
Mum and Dad
and Uncle John;
Incy Wincy;
Cross Cross
Mum and dad;
Slower and faster
Lots of tickling
Song with movement
Shake and Shake;
Forwards and
Slower and Faster
Tickly Under There
(Mr Bear)
Read twice;
Encourage interaction.
Songs and Rhymes
Round and Round
the Garden;
Row Row Row
Your Boat
Calming Song
Twinkle Twinkle
Goodbye Song
Glad that you Could
Week 2 of 4
Hello Song
Hello Everyone
Songs and Rhymes
Horsey Horsey;
Incy Wincy;
Use puppets;
Introduce Humpty Dumpty
telling families it
is a rhyme.
Song with movement
Ring a Ring
of Roses
Get everyone up and moving;
Try a few times then
introduce with Lycra.
Dear Zoo
Songs and Rhymes
Little Green Frog
Calming Song
Ally Bally
Goodbye Song
Glad that you Could
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 20
Encourage actions on
left hand, right hand
and belly
Star puppets
Encourage parents
and children to cuddle
Thank families for coming;
Encourage book borrowing.
Welcome everyone
– give an explanation
of the session
Thank families for coming;
Encourage book borrowing.
Sample Session Template
Week 3 of 4
Hello Song
Hello Everyone
Songs and Rhymes
Five Little Fishes;
Five Fat Peas;
Wind the Bobbin up
Fish puppet
Toddlers do actions, parents
wiggle fingers of babies
Song with movement
I Have got the Ball;
Forwards and
Five Fat Peas
Move ball on Lycra;
Five Fat Peas again
– to collect Lycra
Moo Baa La La La
Songs and Rhymes
Humpty Dumpty;
Cross Cross
Encourage anticipation
building during Cross Cross
Calming Song
Sea Shells
Goodbye Song
Glad that you Could
Week 4 of 4
Hello Song
Hello Everyone
Songs and Rhymes
Horsey Horsey;
Mum and Dad
and Uncle John
Song with movement
I Like to Ride
my Bicycle;
Jelly on a Plate;
Grand ol’ Duke
of York
Songs and Rhymes
Old MacDonald;
This Little Piggy
Puppets/soft toys
Calming Song
Twinkle Twinkle
Goodbye Song
Glad that you Could
Welcome everyone
– give an explanation
of the session
Encourage cuddling, sing
quieter and quieter then
Welcome everyone
– give an explanation
of the session
Faster and slower
Lots of actions!
Ask for suggestions
for other verses of
Jelly on a Plate
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 21
[email protected]
The Breastfeeding Network
The [email protected] programme promotes physical activity
for children from birth to 5 years. If you have yet to
receive your [email protected] baby book, please ask your
health visitor for more details, or email
[email protected]
The Breastfeeding Network (BfN) aims to be an
independent source of support and information for
breastfeeding women and others. For more
information about baby and infant nutrition or for
support with breastfeeding call 0300 100 0210 or visit
their website at www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk
[email protected] is part of a selection of NHS Health
Scotland’s resources for parents of very young
children including Ready Steady Baby! and Ready Steady
Bòrd na Gàidhlig
Bòrd na Gàidhlig works to promote Gaelic and
strives in partnership with the Scottish Government,
the people of Scotland and the Gaelic organisations, to
improve the status of the language. Bookbug gratefully
acknowledges funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig towards
the Gaelic Bookbug packs.
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children
and Young People
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young
People promotes and safeguards children and young
people’s rights in Scotland. Scotland’s Commissioner
is Tam Baillie. Last year Tam had a ‘creative
conversation’ called a RIGHT wee blether, which
allowed 2 to 5-year-olds across Scotland to talk about
their lives and what’s important to them. Find out
about the results of the consultation, and more about
the Commissioner’s work, at
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 22
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Scottish Book Trust is working with the Scottish
Government to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination
Library to every Looked After child from birth to 5
years in Scotland. Each of Scotland’s Looked After
children will build up their own personal library of up
to 60 books, improving their literacy and encouraging
their parents and carers to read with them.
Play Talk Read
Have fun from day one with Play Talk Read! The team
at Play Talk Read have loads of ideas, tips and games
to help you make the most of the time you spend with
your wee one, whether you’re out and about or in the
comfort of your own home.
Creative Scotland
Creative Scotland is the national development agency
for the arts, screen and creative industries. Bookbug
gratefully acknowledges National Lottery funding from
Creative Scotland towards the My Bookbug Session
CD, contained in the Bookbug Baby pack and for
Bookbug Session Training.
When we pass the library, we have
to go inside. My wee one insists we
have to go and look at the books.
Bookbug Sessions
have given me
more reason to
laugh and smile
than anything else
in my working
Session Leader
Bookbug Sessions
create opportunities
for young children to
enjoy a vast range
of book sharing
and music making
activities in an exciting
and innovative way.
Session Leader
I’ve found that, initially
anyway, simple works
best... once I got comfy with
the story I could develop it
at my own pace, adding
exciting props each week
Session Leader
Bookbug Session Leader Handbook page 23
Published by
Scottish Book Trust
Sandeman House
Trunk’s Close
55 High Street
T: 0131 524 0160
[email protected]
Scottish Charity No.SC027669
Company No.184248