Using the iPad in Storytime – and No, I don’t read ebooks from it…

Before I post too frequently about storytimes in which I’ve used the iPad, I thought it might be helpful to explain how I use it and what I believe the benefits are.

Every time I’ve told fellow librarians that I sometimes use the iPad in storytime people assume that I read books from it.  This is not what I do!  I love “real” books (although I also believe ebooks are wonderful too).  Picture books in ebook form have a place in this world but I would much rather read a physical picture book in storytime.

icn med wob AppsToca-Robot-Lab

How I use the iPad:

I often download apps that relate to my storytime theme and find ways to incorporate the app into my storytime the same way I would use a flannel board or a puppet.  I use the app as an interactive extension of the storytime theme.

In the future you’ll see posts on this blog with examples of different apps that I’ve used but check out my Robot themed storytime for a quick example. (scroll to the bottom of the post)

The Benefits of Using Apps in Storytime:

When we read picture books in storytime, part of what we are doing as children’s librarians is modeling to caregivers how to engage with the child while we read.  We ask questions about the illustrations and the story.  We ask children to predict what will come next.  We use silly voices and try to make it an engaging experience.

You can do the same with iPad apps!  Instead of just handing a kid an iPad and sending them off,  imagine how much more fun they would have if the parent plays too! And how much more engaging the experience would be!  We can model, to the caregiver, how to engage with the child while playing.

Another benefit of using apps in storytime is that it creates an easy way for the caregiver to extend the learning experience beyond storytime.  I doubt most parents have time to go home and recreate a flannel board that I’ve used in storytime but they can (and do) go home and download a fun, educational app that I used in storytime!

Also, technology will be (and probably already is) an integral part of these kids’ lives.  We should use it with children in a way that is educational, engaging, and promotes literacy!

If you’ve used an app during storytime or if you have any questions about how I’ve done it please leave a comment!

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2 thoughts on “Using the iPad in Storytime – and No, I don’t read ebooks from it…

  1. I take my five children to the library each week for books (mostly picture books), but we also read storybook apps on the iPad once a week or so. I like the interactivity aspect of apps and that I can turn on narration if I’m feeling to tired to read after a rough day. It’s nice to have the option to sit and listen to a story as a mom, too. 🙂

    • Hi Sharann! I agree. There are a lot of great apps out there for kids, both books and educational games. Sitting down and playing with your child will inevitably lead to discussion and engagement. Simply getting your child to talk frequently is a proven early literacy skill!

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