LittleeLit.com started out as a blog that reviewed book based apps for kids, until I realized that there are a lot of other review sources already doing that. Not only did traditional journals review apps for kids (SLJ, Horn Book and Kirkus all review apps) but there were now all sorts of other review sources for book based and educational apps like Appitic, Common Sense Media and Digital Storytime. There were many places for children’s librarians to find out about good quality apps, but what was missing was a one-stop shop for resources that can help them incorporate apps and eBooks into their early literacy programming.
I began documenting the entire process of the development of Tablet Tales, a musical digital storytelling pilot project based in the Santa Clara County Library District. Elements of this project have now been expanded to early literacy programs in the Mountain View Public Library and the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. Tablet Tales makes use of iPad apps and eBooks, an AppleTV, and either a portable screen (like a TV or brightboard) or a projector to mirror the content on the iPad. I use Keynote to display lyrics, app and book lists and images imported from other apps (like Felt Board), as well as using apps and eBooks the same way I’d use a paper book.
Once I started posting my experiences with Tablet Tales I started having librarians from all over the world contact me with ideas and questions, and I’ve begun inviting them to share their experiences with developing digital programs for kids in their libraries too. My goal is to create a community of knowledge for children’s librarians who understand that incorporating digital media into their collections and programming is now part of their job. If you are using technology with kids in your library, let me know! Other librarians will benefit from hearing about your experience!
Here are some reasons why using digital tools in your storytime is a good idea:
- The technology is already here and most parents already give their child access to it. We might as well show them where the good content is, what to look for, and how to use it in a way that supports early literacy development.
- You can make the images big so everyone in the room can see it.
- You can post the words to a new song, rhyme or fingerplay and have everyone sing along with you, and once you’re done, the file just lives on your iPad, along with your hundreds of books, and you don’t have to keep a massive file of flip-charts.
- Outreach is a snap when you can use one little device to show all of the library’s online offerings, use a felt board, do a draw and tell story, share an eBook, display the app version of a paper book you’ve just shared, look an article up in a database, display book lists, play music and access the library’s event calendar.
Our guest blogger today is Cen Campbell. Cen is a children’s librarian at the Santa Clara County Library District and the Mountain View Public Library, and a children’s digital services consultant at LittleeLit.com. She has driven a bookmobile, managed branch libraries, developed innovative programs for babies, young children and teens, and now helps other libraries incorporate digital media into their early literacy programming. She attended the California State Library’s Eureka Leadership Institute in 2008 and now serves on the ALSC Children & Technology committee.
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