Using iPads in storytime is a relatively new venture for me. I’ve used the device a few times in storytime, but only when it adds value or presents an aspect that I couldn’t do in a traditional format. That means no e-books for me, at least right now. If I can tell a story or sing a song in a traditional way, then I do so without the help of an iPad. I only use apps as an extension of my storytime theme, and I usually use them in the last 5 minutes of my storytime. If you’re unsure of where to start, make sure to check out a post from Anne’s Library Life that explains how she uses iPads in storytime. Texas State Library also has a pretty detailed and thorough Powerpoint detailing all aspects of using iPads to support early literacy.
Do what feels comfortable for you. Just like books, some apps may work for you, and others don’t feel right. Likewise, you may feel comfortable using iPad apps where children each have their own device to try it out, or you may only feel confident using apps connected to a projector. It’s all good as long as you feel confident. Here’s a great Powerpoint that gives detailed information for those just beginning the introduction of iPads in storytime.
Be patient. With others, and with yourself. Everyone has a different level of understanding when it comes to technology. The children in your audience are digital natives, so they will likely catch on quickly. This might mean that they’re several steps ahead of you. Likewise, the parent attending storytime with their child might be unfamiliar with the app or device, and may need extra assistance. Just remember: everything is a learning experience, and the more you practice the more confident you become.
Practice an app before using it in storytime. You would never read a story for the first time in front of an audience, so make sure you use the same rule of thinking when it comes to apps. Take your time when you practice; there are often hidden ‘extras’ that you can choose to use in storytime to extend the activity (clicking on a farm animal to hear it make noise), or you may choose not to click so that your group usage remains fluid.
Use the apps at the end of storytime. This allows parents to leave storytime before the apps are used, in case they’re sensitive to their child having screen time.
Now that we’ve covered a few tips and suggestions, here are some great concrete ideas for using iPads in storytimes:
- Storytiming uses animal noises to tell a rhyme called “There’s Someone in My Garden“.
- Kendra from Read Sing Play has a great way to use a “huff and puff” app during her Preschool STEAM Storytime.
- Never Shushed uses several apps in a digital storytime, including the ‘Felt Board’ app to sing ‘Five Green and Speckled Frogs’.
- Lisa from Libraryland also used the ‘Felt Board’ app for a digital farm storytime.
Our fall storytime session has just begun, so I’ll hopefully be sharing additional ideas for apps and ways to use them in the very near future!