iPad Apps and Storytime

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.

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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!

11 thoughts on “iPad Apps and Storytime

  1. Pingback: Tiny Techies and Storytime | Reads In The Dark

  2. Anne I’m giving a training soon to Utah Librarian’s about using technology in storytime. I plan to quote you, thanks for the very thoughtful description of using apps in storytime.

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  4. Dear Anne, can you please advise me on what legal processes you observed in use of apps in public environments? We would like to incorporate apps into our storytimes too but the usage agreement on many I have researched prohibits use to an audience. regards Sharon

    • Hi Sharon,
      That’s a great question. I asked members of the Little eLit think tank (which is an amazing resource for information on using new media in Children’s Services. http://littleelit.com/) and they reaffirmed my initial response to your question. Here’s what a couple of members had to say:

      “This is a wiki about copyright made by a teacher-librarian in the Chicago area. It lists the copyright law and also gives a lot of resources. I think apps in storytimes absolutely falls under fair use. And if the user is uncertain… the best thing to do is ask the publisher of the app for permission – chances are they will grant it.
      – Michelle Kilty”
      And Cen Campbell, the founder of little elit, stated “Anecdotally, when I started using apps in storytime, I contacted a number of developers, and every single one of them was ecstatic that I wanted to use their content. I agree that if you or your organization is unsure, contact the developer.”

      I also believe it would fall under fair use (just as the physical picture books we read in storytime do) and my thought is that most developers would love the “free advertisement”. After all, many caregivers will likely download the apps they are introduced to by their librarian. But like Cen and Michelle stated, when in doubt ask the developer!
      I hope this helps,

  5. Anne, thanks for your thoughtful suggestions on ways to use apps in storytimes. I’m presenting to our children’s department this week on ways to use iPads in storytimes, and I will be sharing some of your suggestions!

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