Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

“Soon, the ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide will go live. In it, you will discover tips and resources for creating meaningful moments of screen time for young audiences.”
“Here are a few storytime adjustments to consider before your next big moment online:

Content Selection

  • How will the book look on film? Glossy pages can give a nasty glare on screen and some illustrations appear blurry. Look for books with vibrant and clear illustrations.
  • Keep in mind current events. Take a second look at actions that involve touching the face, text that includes hugging strangers, or activities that involve food. Every caregivers outlook and situation is different right now and we need to be mindful of that.

Presentation

  • Practice everything while recording! This practice session is where you find out that your text is backwards or that turning into a tall tree chops your arms off in the frame.
  • Look at your audience! Yes, for most of us, that audience is a tiny camera on a small device. Eye contact is important in a virtual storytime world. Tape a brightly colored arrow next to your camera as a reminder until you get used to it.

Management & Messaging

  • Yes, you will need to fake audience participation in your mind. Those points of silent interaction make these experiences meaningful for kiddos at home. Pepper in questions and pause longer than you think you need to.
  • While you may not be able to see possible crowd control issues, they are still happening during your storytime. Don’t forget those management strategies you normally use and adapt them to this virtual world. Continue to help children build those crucial executive function skills by using transitions, stop/go activities, and reminders about directions.
  • We truly hope that grownups are interacting during a virtual storytime right next to their kiddo. Encourage that positive behavior! Make an aside to the adults, let them know why you are doing what you are doing, and remind them that their participation is important in their child’s development.

Many of us moved our storytimes online quickly. It was an emergency response. We jumped to provide an important service. Many of us will be continuing this virtual programming for months, if not longer. Now is the time to make sure we are set up for success. Watch other virtual storytimes for clues on what works. Reach out and ask those impressive presenters for their secrets. Consider your goals and how you will measure success. Most importantly, be sure to check out the ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide. It will be a living document that will help us all navigate this complicated and always evolving service.”