Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Can Babies Benefit from Virtual Storytime?

The virtual storytimes I have been holding for toddlers and preschoolers have been more successful than I had hoped…or feared.  Children have been much more engaged and responsive via Zoom than I believed they would.  They dance along to the songs.  They join in on fingerplays.  And they have a lot to say at the end of storytime when we say “hello” to each participant. 

However, the question remained…what to do with babies?  I’ve been experimenting and would like to share some thoughts.

Most Baby Storytimes’ true aim is to get the caregivers to understand that they are baby’s first and best teacher.  To that end, I have…

  • Emailed the words to the rhymes when I email the Zoom link.
  • Told caregivers that their participation in storytime is a must.  For the most part, baby should be engaging with them in person, not me on the screen.  Caregivers should be saying the rhymes and doing the motions.
  • Shared a PowerPoint with the words to the rhymes on screen to ease caregiver participation.
  • Picked books with action or song to fully engage young children.  While I do show pictures onscreen, the idea is for the baby to participate physically in some way.  For instance, Nicola Smee’s Clip Clop easily encourages bouncing baby during the story.
Caregivers are baby’s first teachers!

I’ve also looked for ideas from online resources such as Jbrary and King County Library System’s Tell Me a Story.

So far, caregivers are giving me positive feedback; some have gone so far as to buy some of the books I have used so they can read along in person.  They say their baby reacts to me when they see me onscreen…and I have noticed some of that myself.  And these are children under the age of one.

Obviously, through a screen is not ideal.  But it’s what we have right now, and with caregiver assistance it can work.  What tips do you have to give?

This post addresses the core competency of III. Programming Skills.

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