Story times for children age 0-5 are one of the most valued and popular programs libraries provide the communities we serve. It is both a vehicle and an icon for the library’s commitment to literacy development and literacy promotion.
In the years 0-5, children are developing the brain that must serve them for all future learning and the approximately 30-60 minutes spent during story time is extremely limited in our effort to support literacy development. To best serve children, librarians are obligated to use this time in promoting the most effective activities and materials available to us toward early literacy skill development. Achieving that goal does not include screen time.
The traditional activities of early literacy development such as songs, fingerplays, puppetry, scarves, shakers, action rhymes and reading from print are all better for children compared to screen use. Displacing them with screen uses reduces the time spent with solidly healthy activities. As the American Academy of Pediatrics tells us, “young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”
Traditional activities and materials in story times are superior to screen use because they:
- have a long and excellent record of experience and ample research showing they support early literacy development that screen use does not have
- are more widely and cheaply available to all families so that they may be repeated at home
- fully support parents who want to limit screen time for their children according to AAP Guidelines
- avoid the risk of adding screen time for children who already have screen time in excess of AAP health standards for children
- more effectively support and encourage adult-child relationships by relying more on human interaction compared to screen time
- promote healthy physical activity that screen time does not
The new screens and screen uses are in many ways exciting and even amazing. They are part of a very new and enormous cultural change in how technology is used today. Still, screen use is not appropriate and beneficial everywhere, for everyone, at every occasion. Like at the family dinner table or while driving, story times at the library are best without it.
Our guest blogger today is Kathy Kleckner. Kathy is a children’s librarian for Dakota County Libraries at their Rosemount branch. She has worked as a librarian on a bookmobile, in elementary schools and in urban systems. She is a member of the Minnesota Library Association and ALSC.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.