Storytimes/Early Literacy/Tech

Our discussion focused on seven general categories. Each of the categories is numbered in these notes with the respective comments following the general heading.  Two takeaways from the session are listed.


  1. How to use more technology in early literacy library programming


Norwalk Public library uses a 65-inch smart TV to project rhymes and fingerplays during storytimes. Every once in a while a YouTube movie is used. This is for ages 5 years and under.


There was another report of using an Apple TV with a PowerPoint presentation to display rhymes and fingerplays. These have been made particularly colorful. The net result is a greater participation in these activities.


White Plains Public Library has used a YouTube movie in a program on optical illusions for children in grades 2 and up.


E-Books have been projected from an iPad to a screen during storytime. This has allowed for more people in storytimes. Tumblebooks also has an  iPad functionality.


Betsy Diamant-Cohen, creator of “Mother Goose On The Loose,” has developed a feltboard app which can be used to create digital feltboards that can be projected onto a screen.  Cohen teaches “Mother Goose On The Loose,” a popular approach to library storytime, at Simmons College in Boston, MA.


  1. New music and books


The Carol Peterson CD, Dancing Feet, was suggested as great for movement to music in storytimes.


An instrumental version of Chicken Fat on the Simplified Rhythm Stick Activities CD was suggested. Buckwheat Zydeco was another suggested CD.


Throwing scarves to “Let It Go” from the movie, Frozen, has been popular. As a matter of fact, librarians were encouraged to do a free dance program to any music they liked. We should encourage parents to dance with their kids every day.


How can a storytime be made bigger for a bigger audience? Use a microphone. Use an iPad with speakers for music. Have another librarian with a second set of puppets to interact with the children in the room.



The following new books were suggested for storytime:


Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera

I Dream of an Elephant  by Ami Rubinger

Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort

Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

The latest “Pete the Cat” book – Pete the Cat and the New Guy by Kim Dean


The question was asked as to whether anyone repeats titles in storytime? The general response by the group was, “Yes! All the time! It is OK!”


One librarian does a storytime at a school twice a month. If she does not bring a favorite title each time she visits, they will ask for it again and again.


It also works to read a book and do a feltboard story of the same book.


The same book can also be used for different themed storytimes. Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd is a good title for different themes.


Multiple copies of classic title board books work well with storytime groups. These have also been used in stuffed animal sleepovers in which children practice reading to their stuffed animals.


How many books does everyone read in their storytimes? Some read 3 books while there was a report of reading only 1 book and maybe 2.


  1. How to recharge your storytime


Try a snowball fight! One librarian made net snowballs and has a snowball fight to the tune of The “Freeze Song” on Carol Peterson’s Dancing Feet CD. It was also suggest that plush snowballs could be purchased through Amazon.


Someone else commented that she changed her whole storytime by throwing out the things she did not like doing. Now it’s all fun!


  1. Rhymes and fingerplays


A great list of YouTube videos of songs can by found at


A few librarians shared their favorite song/rhyme/action play:


Nancy Platt, Ferguson Library (CT): “Finger Family”


Leah High, Nolen Library in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY): “This is Big”


Elise Brand, Terryville Library (CT): “Button Factory”


  1. Age ranges – How to handle a mix of ages in a storytime and how to enforce age limits for programs.


There was some discussion about dealing with age ranges in storytime.  This is dealt with in different ways at different libraries. One library has the 3 ½ to 5 year olds come in to storytime on their own. The toddler programs can have siblings. Another library has family nights during which time there is a wide age range. This is handled by using very simple picture books and offering a lot of variety in the program.


  1. What else does everyone do in programs besides reading books and doing crafts?


Playing with the parachute and cotton balls to the tune of “The Popcorn Song” on the Snacktime! CD by Barenaked Ladies is great fun.


The “Name That Tune” game with the ukulele works well also.


  1. Using percussion instruments in children’s programs (and other instruments)


There was not much discussion on this topic. However, one last online resource recommended was the “Pop Goes The Page” blog created by librarians at the Princeton University Cotsen Library.


Two takeaways  from this session


  • Technology is being used in ways that maintain the interactive nature of storytime. These include:


Projecting the words of rhymes and fingerplays on a smart TV

Using YouTube videos appropriate to program topics

Projecting ebooks to a screen during storytime

Presenting Digital feltboards


  • Librarians are encouraged to observe what colleagues are doing. There are a lot of great ideas to share! Always remember — in the area of Storytimes/Early Literacy/Tech — do what you love!

Notes submitted by:

Terry Rabideau

White Plains Public Library


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