Tips on Running a Bookstart Rhymetimes Session

Get the grown ups joining in!
Get the grown ups joining in!

Working with groups

There are lots of familiar songs and rhymes on our Bookstart CD and super new ones to learn.Begin with the ones you know. Then add some new rhymes later as the group becomes more established.Keep the session to around 20 minutes.


A basic running order might be: familiar rhymes, action rhymes, rhymes using props and puppets. Don't worry about repeating rhymes as children enjoy repetition and it helps to build confidence. Encourage the grown ups to join in.


You could provide word sheets for parents and carers so they can practice at home too!


  • Begin each session with a special song. It marks a definite beginning and helps call everyone together at the start.
  • Half way through, ask if anyone has a birthday so you can sing to them.
  • Try to get men to come to the sessions too. If you make them feel welcome, they will come again. Rhymes and songs are not only for the mummies!
  • Ask parents to share their favourite rhymes with the group. You may get suggestions for rhymes and songs from other countries that you can learn together and add to your repertoire.
  • If your Bookstart Rhymetimes session is in a library, don't forget to invite the families to join as members and remind them that you can borrow books for free.
  • Leading a session is thirsty work so keep a bottle of water at hand, preferably one with a sports cap top so it won't spill.
  • At the end of the session, sing your special Bookstart song and get everyone to say 'Goodbye' to each other and ' See you next time'.

Most of all, have fun!


Find out more

View the support materials section to find out how to order the Rhymetimes CD, and more


Have some fun with rhymes here on the Bookstart website


Join the Bookstart Bear to find out why sharing rhymes and stories is such fun


Rhymetimes Factsheets

Not sure how to hold a successful Bookstart Rhymetimes session? Help is at hand!

Nine factsheets, each covering key aspects of putting on a successful session, are available to download. They include session plan examples, suggested songs and rhymes, guidance on copyright and licensing and more.


Download the training factsheet pack (PDF)