Evaluating Storytime, by Angela Reynolds
This past Saturday I had my last Milk & Cookies Story Hour for the summer. Once a month on Saturday, I do a storytime for ages 3-6 that includes one app, with time at the end for play and iPad use.
For the last one of the summer, I planned a Mo Willems Day. Lots of books, starting, of course, with Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, because everyone loves that book. I used the new Mo Willems app, Mo on the Go. This app has 5 games sure to delight Mo Willems fans, but my favorite for storytime is the Dance-o-Rama game. You choose 3 dances each for Elephant and Piggie, then press DANCE, and, well, dance! Before storytime started I had each person in the room, adults included, choose either an elephant or a pig that I had laminated. When the app was projected, I had them dance like the character they had in their hand. We did this for 3 times, and then I had them switch to the other character one more time. They had a blast! I also tried to have them write a story in the “Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App” app, but for some reason halfway through the sound stopped working on the projector, so we abandoned it and the kids who wanted to write a story found the app on the iPads afterwards.
Other activities included a rousing round of “Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar,” which worked well for the intended age group but not so well for 2 year olds. (See evaluation results below). Games/play included “Toss Your Cookies” which were laminated cookie shapes tossed into Pigeon and Duckling cut-outs; learn to draw the Pigeon; and a game of “Watch Me Throw the Ball” which was throwing textured balls into a plastic tub. And of course, the iPads. The kids all know the rule now—iPad must be used with an adult and the adults know why (because co-viewing equals better learning).
I started this storytime as an experiment, and it is one that has gone really well. I’ve had a few technology snafus, but the kids don’t seem to mind, because that is not the main reason they are there. They are there to hear books read aloud, to play, to sing, to be silly, to listen to puppet stories and do fingerplays and shout NO! at just the right time. The technology is an added bonus and parents really appreciate time to explore. I asked parents to fill out evaluations – results are below. It looks like I need to continue this storytime!
Milk & Cookies Story Hour Evaluations:
7 Parents answered. Only one has a tablet of any sort at home.
Child ages: six 6YO; three 2YO; one 4YO, one 3YO. (Program is advertised for ages 3-6)
Liked Best: stories (4); getting good app ideas (this from the parent with an iPad); games, interaction (2)
Improvement: More info on how to use the tablet and apps for their ages; A few more songs (from a parent of a 2 YO)
Snacks: NOT important, but kids like them
Time: Good (Once a month on Saturday- one parent really likes that it is only once a month—they are really busy, but she can still squeeze in a library time when it is only once a month. Also, the program is drop-in, and there was a verbal comment that programs with registration add extra pressure to commit, making it less likely for them to sign up.)
Comments (written): Great to see the apps used as part of storytime to make it interactive and then letting the kids try for themselves, especially since we don’t have one at home. Love it (3) . Had fun today.
(Spoken): This is such a good chance for me to see how these things work. My son is in speech therapy and they use one with him there. I’ve never even had my hands on one and now I can see what it is all about.Angela Reynolds
Head of Youth Services
Annapolis Valley Regional Library