Tablet Tales Pilot #1: Resounding Success!

Last night was the first ever Tablet Tales digital storytelling pilot at the Campbell Library. It was a collaborative effort with the supervising children’s librarian (the fabulous Jennifer Weeks) and a cameo appearance by Lisa H. We had 16 kids (from toddlers to about first graders) and 10 adults.  The program took place at 7:15 and I played my fife and sang everyone a “come to storytime” song. We then tag-teamed with fingerplays, songs, paper books, ibooks, apps, prop stories and a paper folding story. We had the kids’ attention the WHOLE time.  It was especially beneficial having 2 (3!) storytellers when I was switching between apps, iBooks, Keynote etc, but would not be necessary once I’ve had more practice transitioning.The program went a little long (about 45 minutes) but I think we could have kept going, even for the little ones.  We had their full attention the whole time. We got lots of good input from the 7 surveys we got back:

What is the age of your child/children that attend storytime?

1-2 years: 1
2-3 years: 1
3-4 years: 4
5 + years: 3

What are the best days/times to attend programs at the library?

10 am/7 pm Mon, Wed
7:30 pm Tues, Wed Thurs
Evenings or weekends, anytime
Weekday evenings

What did you like best about this program?

  • [my child] said: “Everything!”
  • 2 children can attend (3 years difference in ages)
  • Kids like being in a group
  • Exposed to new books
  • Digital is an interesting twist on the stories we already know
  • The songs and the books
  • Music
  • Everyone listening
  • Captured attention
  • The variety of material to explore
  • My daughter enjoyed the reading of “Caps for Sale”
  • Music was also good
  • The songs
  • The eBooks

What did you like least about this program?

  • The game “oopsy” [that was Blue Hat Green Hat; it did not register as a book to her!]
  • All kids want to be involved at once [again, that was probably my use of Blue Hat Green Hat where not all kids got to touch the iPad]
  • Digital format
  • Nothing
  • I don’t have access to some of these apps
  • N/A

Would you like to see this program continue at your library?

  • Yes: 6
  • No: 1 “I like what is currently in place”

Did you find it useful to learn about book-based apps and eBooks for young children?

  • Yes: 4
  • No: 0
  • “Somewhat- it’s nice to see the pictures on the big screen but some animations detract from the text”

Additional comments

  • My girls LOVE storytime
  • Liked all elements: dance, digital, paper books, songs, participation, voice of storyteller
  • Thank you!

Given this input and my own feeling about how the program went, I will change the following things:

  1. Don’t get kids to tap iPad unless it’s a REALLY small group (say 5 kids or less).  When I did Blue Hat, Green Hat I went around and got kids to be the “oops.”  It was distracting even for me and did not develop any literacy skills; the kids just wanted to tap and not all of them were able to do so. I think the negative comments related to that activity.  I had designs on a large touch screen monitor to use during storytime when I was initially planning this project, but I think that’s a no-go too.
  2. Don’t use musical notation with lyrics.  That was hopeful on my part; I’m a musician and a trained Music Together teacher.  I love the song Dance to you Daddy, partly because it’s got a funky time signature change midway through it, but the song was too complicated for a group that is not familiar with my style.  Next time I will just use lyrics and choose simpler songs unless I start working with a single community on a regular basis.
  3. When scanning rhymes or images from books, don’t assume that any size will work just because it’s going to be blown up.  Still pay attention to the size of text, white space on the page and quality of illustrations.

Here was our plan, although it got mildly altered  to better direct the energy in the room.

Tablet Time #1 (10/09/2012) Shoes and Hats

Walk in Music: Come and Follow me (Fife)

Opening Song: It’s time for storytime (welcome slide)

Storytime Introduction:

Fingerplay: Wiggle my fingers

Story 1: The Magic Hat

Story 2: Jack and Jill (scanned)


  1. Grandma’s hat
  2. My hat has 3 corners
  3. Little Red Wagon (prop)

Story 2: Caps for Sale (iBook)


  1. Boom chicka boom
  2. I eat my peas with honey
  3. Dance to your Daddy (Lyrics and musical notation/scanned)

Story 3: Pete the Cat (iBook)

Hat story: (Paper folding Story)

Story 4: Blue Hat Green Hat (App)

Action Music: Hot Potato (Nexus S/Logitech Mini Boom Box)

Book: Aunt Lucy went to buy a hat

Goodbye Fingerplay: Clap up high

(goodbye slide/list of resources)


Posted on October 10, 2012, in Apps, eBook, Libraries, Story Time and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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