Smartphones. Tablets. E-Readers. Apps. Every day new technology integrates itself into our daily lives in ways we never could have imagined. If you are a child in America today, you are constantly exposed to more screens, apps, and devices than anyone from previous generations. Some parents embrace the change, and some are hesitant to expose their children to what can be an overwhelming digital environment. Regardless of your stance on children using technology, as librarians we have a responsibility to our communities to show people how to access their devices in a safe and beneficial manner.
Just as we model behaviors during storytime that encourage the development of early literacy skills, we can also model how parents and caregivers can effectively use technology to help their children become better readers and learners. Using devices in storytime to display lyrics to songs can help parents engage more fully during singing activities, using e-books can help librarians model dialogic storytelling techniques, and introducing apps that encourage exploration can excite a child’s imagination.
A great resource for librarians who may want to try incorporating digital technologies into storytime is an online community called Little eLit. Not only does this website offer tips that have been used in actual library storytimes, there is also a great section for app reviews and advice on integrating devices into Every Child Ready to Ready programming.