Guest Post: Garden-themed Signing Storytime with Dawn Babb Prochovnic

Today I’m featuring a guest post from Dawn Babb Prochovnic, author of the excellent Story Time with Signs and Rhymes series (more about that here), about her just-released picture book, Lucy’s Blooms, and blooming garden-themed storytime plan for you!

Take it away, Dawn!

Hello readers and signers!

Kathy was kind enough to invite me back to her blog to write a guest post to celebrate the upcoming release of my latest book, Lucy’s Blooms, a multigenerational story about a young girl who learns from her grandmother about the enduring nature of love, the strength in rejecting labels, and the wisdom in standing with those who are different.

I thought the best way to celebrate would be to share an American Sign Language story time lesson plan that incorporates the gardening themes in the book. So let’s dig in!

Gardening-Themed Signing Story Time Lesson Plan featuring Lucy’s Blooms

NOTE:  This lesson plan is geared for a digital/remote storytime format. Feel welcome to modify appropriately once remote services are no longer necessary in your service area.

Welcome, Icebreaker, and Introductions

Screen share and/or share the link for a resource that illustrates the handshapes of the ASL alphabet. 

Introduce yourself by fingerspelling your name. Invite participants to introduce themselves by fingerspelling their names. Practice fingerspelling L-U-C-Y.

Introduce Five Words that Participants Can Listen for and Sign Along With When You Read the Book

Here are links to some reputable video-based resources for the selected ASL vocabulary words, along with some brief reminder notes to help jog your memory as you are learning the signs:

  • BLOOMS (flower): Fingers move from one side of nostril to the other
  • DANCE: Two fingers dance on palm of other hand
  • GRAM (grandmother): Five handshape moves away from chin
  • WATER: “W” handshape taps on chin
  • WHISTLE: “F” handshape makes whistling gesture near mouth

Read: Lucy’s Blooms by Dawn Babb Prochovnic. Illustrated by Alice Brereton
West Margin Press

Invite all participants to sign the American Sign Language signs for Gram, blooms, water, whistle, and dance each time they hear these words in the story.

Introduce/Review ASL Vocabulary Words in Preparation for Song

  • BLOOMS (flower): Fingers move from one side of nostril to the other
  • GROW: Like a plant growing out of the ground
  • SOIL: Like feeling granules of sand between your fingers and thumb
  • SUNSHINE: Like a ray of sunlight coming down from the sky
  • WATER: “W” handshape taps on chin
  • YES: Closed fist “nods” yes

Sing! (to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin?”)
(sign the words in capital letters)

YES they do. YES they do.
Plant your BLOOMS in SOIL. Plant your BLOOMS in SOIL.
Watch them GROW. Watch them GROW.

YES they do. YES they do.
Feed your BLOOMS with WATER. Feed your BLOOMS with WATER.
Watch them GROW. Watch them GROW.

YES they do. YES they do.
Set your BLOOMS in the SUNSHINE. Set your BLOOMS in the SUNSHINE.
Watch them GROW. Watch them GROW.

Prepare to Read Book Another Book:

You can find a collection of logical book pairings for this story time theme here.

Example: Read the poem about spring from Four Seasons! Five Senses! by Dawn Babb Prochovnic and Stephanie Bauer (Abdo).

Introduce/Review ASL Vocabulary Words in Preparation for Book/Poem #2:

  • SPRING: A double movement, similar to GROW
  • BLOOMS (flower): Fingers move from one side of nostril to the other
  • BUMBLEBEES (Bee): Like swatting a bee away from your face
  • LOVE: Cross arms over chest
  • RAIN: Like sheets of rain coming down
  • TREE: Bent arm with five handshape moves, like top of tree waving in the wind

Here is the text of the poem:
(sign the words in capital letters)

I see pink BLOOMS on bright green TREES.
I hear the buzz of BUMBLEBEES.
I feel wet puddles with my feet.
I smell the air. It’s fresh and sweet.
I LOVE the taste of homemade bread on a RAINY SPRINGTIME day.

Create a Rainstorm

Start by slowly rubbing the palms of your hands together and gradually getting faster. Next, snap your fingers together, gradually getting faster and faster. Now pat your thighs with one hand then the other, first slowly, then faster.  Now stomp your feet until they are stomping like crazy. The rainstorm is full-on now! I like to end by doing all of the hand motions in reverse to return the storm to a soft sprinkling of rain, and then quiet.  This is most fun with a large group, but it’s something you can do all by yourself…go ahead, try it!

It’s not quite the same group experience in a digital environment, but it is still fun!

Dance a Little Dance

In the book, Lucy’s Blooms, Lucy dances for her blooms. Set a timer for two minutes and dance a little dance of your own. If it helps to turn on some music to go along with your dancing, play the book trailer for Lucy’s Blooms with the original music composed and performed by Maiah Wynne.


Conclude by encouraging an at-home activity such as:

  • Planting and tending to seeds and observing them as they grow into plants.
  • Counting the dandelions currently in each participant’s own yard or a nearby park.
  • More themed activity ideas for Lucy’s Blooms will be added at this link over time. Check it out!


Connect with the author:

.Dawn Babb Prochovnic is the author of Lucy’s Blooms, Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?, Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?, and 16 books in the Story Time with Signs & Rhymes Series, including one title that was selected as an Oregon Book Awards finalist. She is a contributing author to the award-winning book, Oregon Reads Aloud. Dawn is a vocal advocate for school and public libraries and was honored as a 2015 Oregon Library Supporter of the Year by the Oregon Library Association. She is a frequent presenter at schools, libraries and educational conferences, and the founder of SmallTalk Learning, which provides American Sign Language and early literacy education. Dawn lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, two kids, two cats, and a feisty dog. Learn more at


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