Blog Archives

Digital Storytime Training Resources, by April Mazza

In my role as an Advisor for Youth & School Library Services at the Massachusetts Library System, I like to highlight innovative programming and services to the libraries in our state. One way to do this is by having our own local talent present for their peers. When I saw Clara Hendricks’ post on Little eLit back in December, I immediately asked her if she would be willing to do a training for us at her home library. She enthusiastically said “yes” and even let us record the presentation! You can view the videos and grab Clara’s handouts at our MLS Guide: http://guides.masslibsystem.org/digitalstorytime

We’ve also added all sorts of resources for using tablets in your library, from accessibility issues to app review sources, and of course we feature Little eLit!

Clara’s program was so popular we offered it again this fall to rave reviews. People really like to see the use of storytime apps and eBooks in action. Clara also does an amazing job of explaining the librarians’ role as model and mentor for children and families as they navigate using this technology. We are so thrilled to share this with our libraries, so I hope it helps to share it with an even wider audience!

 

April Mazza is Advisory for Youth & School Library Services at the Massachusetts Library System.
 
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Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Storytime 2.0 at the Wellesley Free Library: An Update, by Clara Hendricks

Since October 2013, when we launched our app-advisory and iPad storytime programs, I have led seven sessions of Storytime 2.0, an iPad-integrated storytime for children ages 3-6 with a parent; three programs to teach parents about using apps with children (Raising “App-y” Readers, for parents of pre-readers, and Raising “App-y” Learners, for parents of elementary school students); and collaborated on nine themed app-advisory lists (available on our apps page)!

Storytime 2.0 has continued to be a popular program. We have developed a core group of regulars, as well as new faces who join us each time.  The majority of the participants tend to be 3 years old, but we do get some older and younger children as well.
From this first year of offering the program, I can offer the following advice and suggestions:

  • Use the device for more than book apps!  While we have enjoyed many book apps projected on the big screen (favorites have included: Barnyard Dance, Do you know which ones will grow?, Go Away, Big Green Monster, The Monster at the End of This Book, and Piccadilly’s Circus), iPads and other tablets are such versatile devices that it is great to use them for things that simply don’t translate to paper.  My favorite thing to do is showcase non-book apps that create a participatory storytime environment.  Each storytime session I use at least one app where the kids get to decide how to manipulate the game or activity.  Based on my theme for that day, I have used: Mini-U: The Kitchen (the product sorter activity), Feed the Animals, Toca Kitchen and Toca Kitchen Monsters, and, perhaps the most versatile, Animal Sounds.  I have used this app within rhymes, in games, or simply having the children go around and name what animal they want to hear.  These games and activities are a high point of my programs.  Yes, I use the iPad to enhance the program in other ways, projecting song lyrics, doing felt board rhymes, and reading one or two book apps per session, but I think that these activities are the most unique aspect of the storytime.
  • Speaking of felt boards, I learned early on that the felt board apps (Felt Board and Mother Goose on the Loose) are much more fun and effective when you move the pieces within the app while doing the song or rhyme.  You can capture still images and use them as a slideshow, but manipulating the pieces as you go is a much more interactive experience.
  • After the storytime I handed out a list of the apps (and books) I used during that particular storytime.  I also added to this list related apps that can be used at home.  That way when I had a great app that related to the theme, but couldn’t figure out any way to use it in storytime, I still got to recommend it for home use to the parents and caregivers.
  • Kids still love the hands-on stuff!  During one of storytimes I handed out felt food pieces and read the book Lunch by Denise Fleming with a mouse puppet, letting each child come up and “feed” their food to the puppet. They thought it was hilarious!  Several children mentioned to their parents that it was their favorite part of the program.  So when planning, don’t forget that the storytime should be a nice blend of on-screen and non-screen.

We will continue on with our three-pronged approach (app advisory lists, parent-education, and storytimes) in the fall, as well as hopefully rolling out wall-mounted iPads in the children’s room.

Clara Hendricks is a Children’s Librarian at the Wellesley Free Library in Wellesley, MA.
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Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Storytime 2.0 at the Wellesley Free Library, by Clara Hendricks

We have just started a monthly “Storytime 2.0” using an iPad projected on the big screen.  It is an afternoon program, geared towards kids ages 3-6 with an adult.  Here are the outlines for my first two programs:

November 7

Opening Song: “If you want to hear a story…” (Words and images on Keynote slides)

Book: Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Song: Hat, sweater, pants and boots (Feltboard app with lyrics)

Tips for parents: (Slide outlining basic tips for parents on using technology with young children)

Book: Little Red Riding Hood (App by Nosy Crow)

Song/Movement: If you’re wearing red today (Words on colored slides)

Song: Mary wore her red dress (Feltboard app with lyrics)

Book: Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems

Song/Movement: Boots (Lyrics on slide)

Song: Do your pants like to dance? (Lyrics on slide)

Book: Let’s play in the forest while the wolf is not around by Claudia Rueda

App: Animal sounds– listened to a howling wolf, and then many other animal sounds on request.

Closing song: The More we get together (Pre-recorded by me in funny voices using the Sock Puppets app)

Handed out stickers and wolf coloring sheets.

Takeaways: I placed the tips for parents at the beginning, but found that they took much longer than my normal early literacy tips, and that I had to rush through them.  For the next program, I left them for the end, while the kids did their coloring activity.  The Animal Sounds app was great, but the kids didn’t want to stop, so I used it in a more structured way the next time.  Lastly, for songs I mostly used static slides with an image/lyric, and wanted to expand more into interactive methods.

December 5

Opening Song: “If you want to hear a story…” (Words and images on Keynote slides)

Book: King Louie Katz (Dr. Seuss Short Story Collection app)

Song: Grand old Duke (Mother Goose on the Loose Feltboard app.  Played the song twice. First time with felt pieces moving, the second time we moved ourselves)

Book: Animal Tails by Ken Kawata

App: Feed the Animals by Curious Fingers

Song/movement: This is the way the elephant walks (Photos of animals and lyrics on slides)

Book: The Tiny King by Taro Miura

Song/movement: Head, shoulders, knees and toes (Bunny Fun app)

Song/movement: I gotta shake my sillies out (Youtube video)

Book: Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus by Mo Willems

Game/activity: All the children are sleeping and when they wake up they are… (Animal sounds app to indicate when to wake up and what animal to be)

Book: Gertrude McFuzz (Dr. Seuss Short Story Collection app)

Closing song: The More we get together (Pre-recorded by me in funny voices using the Sock Puppets app)

Handed out stickers, Gertrude McFuzz coloring sheets, and “How to draw the pigeon” sheets.

Talked to parents about using technology with young children, handed out app lists.

Takeaway: No matter how long you pre-load them, Youtube videos will freeze!  The kids looked a little unsure of what to do, but I kept shaking my sillies out and they followed suit.

Tech issues: My current set-up is an iPad and VGA adapter, plugged into the wall.  Because I have limited length in my cord, I have to sit/stand quite close to the (giant) screen, and my mobility is limited.  I am also finding that my shadow blocks the screen when I forget to move aside for the movement songs!  This isn’t really a tech issue, but it’s an adjustment I’ve had to make based on the new type of program.

Clara Hendricks is a Children’s Librarian at the Wellesley (MA) Free Library.