Construction – eStorytime

In August we had the last of our Summer eStorytime series.  I realized that I already had a few different apps on construction, so I decided to use some of those and build an eStorytime around that theme.

Opening Slide on Keynote:
Slide1 edited

Welcome Song

Cranes reach up. (reach up)
Cranes reach down. (reach down)
Cranes reach out, (reach straight out)
And all around. (turn around)

taken from Pre-K Fun

APP - Build and Play Crane1APP - Build and Play Crane2APP - Build and Play Crane3APP - Build and Play Crane4APP - Build and Play 3d logo
Build and Play 3D from Croco Studios ( iOS, Samsung, Android)

We started storytime by building a construction vehicle – a crane!  I was a little worried at first, because we had more kids than there were pieces to put in the puzzle, but then at they end when the crane was finished you could play with the controls on it, so the kids who didn’t get to put a piece on the crane did that.

App - Sleepy Moles Moving Day1App - Sleepy Moles Moving Day2App - Sleepy Moles Moving Day3App - Sleepy Moles Moving Day4App - Sleepy Moles Moving Day5 App - Sleepy Moles Moving Day Icon

Sleepy Mole’s Moving Day from Ginger Whale illustrated by Melanie Matthews

Mole is sleeping when he is rudely awakened by construction workers who have flooded light into his home — and now it’s too bright for him.  So, he sets off to find a new place to sleep.  At this point in the app, users are able to choose-their-own-adventure type app, which kids being able to pick from different directions on the screen to choose where Mole should dig.  After digging for a while, Mole eventually finds a place to sleep and the story ends.

(to the tune of: “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”)
This is the way we pound our nails,
pound our nails, pound our nails.
This is the way we pound our nails,
So early in the morning.

Other verses:
saw our wood
use a screwdriver
drill a hole
stack the bricks
paint the walls

(rhyme taken from Pre-K Fun)

App - Sago Mini Toolbox 8App - Sago Mini Toolbox 1App - Sago Mini Toolbox Icon
App - Sago Mini Toolbox 2App - Sago Mini Toolbox 3App - Sago Mini Toolbox 4
App - Sago Mini Toolbox 5App - Sago Mini Toolbox 6App - Sago Mini Toolbox 7
Sago Mini Toolbox ($2.99; iOS, Kindle, Android)

There are two different ways to play using this app.  When the app first comes up, you can choose to build different things with Dog, or just play with the different tools with Bird.  We chose to build with Dog, and the kids had fun doing different actions to make Dog a house, and Gnome a Basketball hoop.

Johnny Works with One Hammer
Johnny works with one hammer
(move one hand up and down as if using a hammer)
one hammer, one hammer.
Johnny works with one hammer,
Then he works with two.

Johnny works with two hammers
(move two hands up and down as if using a hammer)
two hammers, two hammers.
Johnny works with two hammers,
Then he works with three.

Johnny works with three hammers
(move two hands up and down as if using a hammer and stamp one foot)
three hammers, three hammers.
Johnny works with three hammers,
Then he works with four.

Johnny works with four hammers
(move two hands up and down as if using a hammer and stamp two feet)
four hammers, four hammers.
Johnny works with four hammers,
Then he works with five.

Johnny works with five hammers
(move two hands up and down. stamp two feet, and nod head)
five hammers, five hammers.
Johnny works with five hammers,
Then he goes to sleep!

what-can-a-crane-pick-up-by-dotlich Slide5
What Can a Crane Pick Up? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Mike Lowery

Little Builders from Fox & Sheep
(iOS, Android, Amazon; $2.99)

Little Builders opens on a scene where a lot of construction is taking place –  there are streets to sweep, buildings to paint, roofs to lay and more!  For this storytime, we choose to build a brick wall.  You have to lay down the mortar cement, and that put a brick down on top of that.  Of course, you can put down bricks without the cement, but your wall may not hold when a strong wind comes!  Each child got to put down a brick.

app-goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-1app-goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-2 app-goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-3app-goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-icon
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld from Oceanhouse Media ($3.99,iOS)


This book is based on the book of the same name.  Oceanhouse Media always does a faithful job of turning books into apps in a respectful, fun way.

MOVEMENT: “Storytime’s Over”*

app-sago-mini-trucks-and-diggers-icon app-bizzy-bear-builds-a-house-logo app-dr-panda-handyman-icon

APP: Sago Mini – Trucks and Diggers (iOS, Kindle, Android; $2.99)
APP: Nosy Crow – Bizzy Bear Builds a House (iOS, $3.99)
APP: Dr. Panda Handyman (iOS, Kindle, Android; $2.99)


I did this storytime a while ago, so I don’t remember too many pointers that I wanted tell myself.  I do remember, though, that I need to watch my time more carefully when doing an eStorytime.  It takes a lot of time to go around the room and have the kids participate, so I often run over and what is supposed to be a half hour storytime turns more into 45-50 minutes.

I had a good size group for this one.

ATTENDANCE: 15 people (children and adults)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

Please note: App prices were correct at the time of writing this blog, but may have changed since. All prices taken from the iOS app price.  There may also be changes to available platforms for apps as well.

Special thanks to Digital Storytime for their app reviews by subject, that make putting together a themed eStorytime much easier.

Outer Space – eStorytime

I’ve been a little slow in blogging about my estorytimes this summer.  So here’s the one I presented on July 8th.  I’m considering it a posting success since I’m getting it done before the end of the month!

Opening Slide on Keynote:

Welcome Song

Squiggles App 1APP - Squiggles Logo
Lazoo: Squiggles! (iOS, free)
(This may now be available as part of the Lazoo Art Box, iOS, $1.99)

Each child got a chance to draw a squiggle behind a rocket to help blast off into space!  (Ok, well, to blast us off into a storytime about space, anyway.)

Monster Socks app 1App - Monster Socks logo Monster Socks app 2Monster Socks app 3

Monster’s Socks (iOS, Android; $1.99)
created by Jordan Stone and Martin Hughes, music by Bob Schneider

Monster’s Socks have run away and he sets out on an epic quest to find them, that leads him through fields, over water, and into space.

This is an interesting app, because instead of page turns, you walk Monster through his adventure.  Whenever Monster comes across a yellow circle, the text of the story appears.  It’s a fun and engaging tale, and since my group was a little older this time it seemed to work pretty well (it’s a bit long).


I’m a rocket on the ground  (crouch down on ground).
Waiting quietly without a sound (say softly and put finger to lips)
Light this fuse on my little toe  (wiggle little toe, or point finger at toe).
Ready for blastoff, here I go!  (Put hands over head to form rocket point).
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1  (Jump into air)

(rhyme taken from SLC Book Boy)

Zoom Rocket Zoom by MayoSlide4
Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! by Margaret Mayo, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe

 Felt Board App - If You're Going to the Moon 1Felt Board app Logo
Felt Board from Software Smoothie ($2.99; iOS)
I used Felt Board to recreate this rhyme taken from Mel’s Desk via Falling Flannelboards

If You’re Going to the Moon
(to tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Felt Board App - If You're Going to the Moon 2
If you’re going to the moon, wear your spacesuit (ziiiiip)
If you’re going to the moon, wear your spacesuit (ziiiiip)
If you’re going to the moon and you want to get there soon
If you’re going to the moon, wear your spacesuit (ziiiiip)

Other Verses:
Felt Board App - If You're Going to the Moon 3

…wear your boots (stomp, stomp)
Felt Board App - If You're Going to the Moon 4
…wear your helmet (pat head, pat head)
Felt Board App - If You're Going to the Moon 5
wear your gloves (clap, clap)
…are you ready and dressed? (say, “Oh yes!”)

I was so excited that Felt Board had all the pieces I needed to turn this rhyme into a digital flannelboard story!  I started with just the woman on the space background, then added the different pieces of clothing as we got to those.  Ok, sure the spacesuit had gloves and boots connected to it, but we jazzed things up a bit using a different color.  Fun!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Sweet Dreams Mo App 1Sweet Dreams Mo App logo
Sweet Dreams Mo App 4 Sweet Dreams Mo App 3 Sweet Dreams Mo App 2  

Sweet Dreams Mo from StoryToys (iOS; $2.99)

Mo can’t sleep without his friends!  So he voyages into space to bring them home.

A charming bedtime story app, this one was fun because each of the kids in the audience got to take a turn tapping at the different plants where Mo’s friend’s are hiding.  I thought this one might take too long when I tried it on my own, but it seemed to work really well with the group.

MOVEMENT: “Storytime’s Over”*

Space Explorer App logo Twinkle Twinkle Little Star App logo

APP: Sago Mini Space Explorer (iOS, Android, Kindle; $2.99)
APP: Twinkle Twinkle from SuperSimple Learning (iOS, $2.99)

This was my largest eStorytime yet!  I had a summer school group come in.  At first I was worried that not everyone would get to touch and tap along with the stories, but it worked out really well.  I was also glad that the group was a bit older, since both the book apps I chose to use were on the longer side.

I did learn an important lesson — make sure your iPad (or other tablet device) has enough space on it to run the apps properly.  Since I’ve been working on eStorytimes for a while I’ve collected quite a few apps, and they are taking up precious memory on my device.  I think that’s why my iPad froze TWICE! during this storytime.  The first time we sang the “If You’re iPad’s disconnected song”.  The next time was during our last story, and it didn’t look like things were going to unfreeze early enough to make it worthwhile.  Lesson learned.  Time to delete!  Also future self: buy more memory than you think you need!

One of the best parts of this storytime was afterward, I had a parent there who asked me about the apps I used.  She said that she was a teacher and that she really liked what I had done with those, and wanted to try something similar with her students.  It made me feel like a real media mentor, and in the best way — but do no explicit teaching, but just by showing an example of what this technology can be.

ATTENDANCE: 18 people (children and adults)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

Please note: App prices were correct at the time of writing this blog, but may have changed since. All prices taken from the iOS app price.  There may also be changes to available platforms for apps as well.

Special thanks to Digital Storytime for their app reviews by subject, that make putting together a themed eStorytime much easier.

Boats – eStorytime

Summer eStorytime came a lot faster than I anticipated!  (Doesn’t everything in the summer-library-world come faster than anticipated?), so I decided to stick with a theme I had done, and just make it digital.  This was my eStorytime from 6/10/2016.

Opening Slide on Keynote:
Slide1 edited

Come Along and Sing With me Slide
Come Along and Sing with Me

APP - Build and Play 3dAPP - Build and Play 3d logoapp - build and play1app-Build and play 3d2

Build and Play 3D from Croco Studios ( iOS, Samsung, Android)

To start things off we began by building a toy boat!  I had the kids try to put the different pieces of the boat together.

APP - A Shark Knocked on My DoorApp - A Shark Knocked on My Door 1 App - A Shark Knocked on My Door Logo
A Shark Knocked on My Door from Mighty Yeti ($2.99 iOS, Android, Kindle)

On a rainy day, a boy and his grandma build a boat to sail down the streams on the street, only to have it fall down the gutter.  Imagine their surprise when a shark knocks on the door to return it!

This story felt a little long for the group I had, so I shorted it by just reading until the Shark says he has to leave for pizza dinner, and didn’t share the undersea adventures portion.  It worked just fine that way.

My Little Sailboat

Mr Gumpys Outing by BurninghamSlide4

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham

App - Boats Sago Mini 1 App - Boats Sago Mini Logo

Boats from Sago Mini ( $2.99: iOS, Android, Kindle)

Sago Mini’s Boats is, just like all Sago Mini apps, wonderful.  In this one, you help Harvey the dog choose his boat, and then float along to visit his friends at different islands.  Once we reached the island, I had kids help with whichever activity we found there

 App - Flannelboard - Five Little ShipsFelt Board app Logo
Felt Board from Software Smoothie ($2.99; iOS)
I used Felt Board to recreate the rhyme “5 Sailboats” taken from Felt Board Ideas

Five Little Boats
5 little boats went out one day
Over the waves and far away
With the wind they began to rock
And one little boat returned to the dock.

4 little boats….

I started with the five pirate ships (those were the only boats I could find on the app) on the mostly blue background.  (They also have a lovely shoreline one, but that was harder to fit all five ships on.)  Each time a boat returned to the dock, I just deleted it from the board.

App - Boats by Barton 1 APP - Boats by Barton logo
Boats by Byron Barton from Oceanhouse Media ($1.99; iOS)

A classic transportation book comes to life as an app.  My group for this storytime skewed younger, so this app seemed like a good fit.


These were two takes on the same melody.  It was fun!

App - Fiete 1 App - Fiete logoApp - Fiete 2

Fiete by Ahoiii ($2.99 iOS, Android)

Fiete is a sailor.  Kids choose different icons on the screen, and then help Fiete with some simple tasks.  I had each child take a turn choosing one of the icons, and then completing the associated activity.  Again, this app is a good one for younger children.

MOVEMENT: “Storytime’s Over”*

App - Finns Paper Hat Logo App - How I Became a Pirate logo

APP: Finn’s Paper Hat by Tizio BV ($2.99, iOS)
APP: How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon from Oceanhouse Media ($3.99, iOS)

Like all my eStorytimes, this one was small, but it was still bigger than some of the ones I’ve had in the past.  And, since I want the kids to interact with my iPad, it’s probably better that it doesn’t get too big.  I think the kids and parents had a good time, and one of the parents asked about the different apps we used, which i I think is always a good sign.

ATTENDANCE: 6 people (children and adults)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

Please note: App prices were correct at the time of writing this blog, but may have changed since. All prices taken from the iOS app price.  There may also be changes to available platforms for apps as well.

Special thanks to Digital Storytime for their wonderful app reviews by subject, that make putting together a themed eStorytime much easier.

Dogs – eStorytime

It’s been a while since I posted one of my eStorytimes.  So, here is my monthly storytime I did in October about dogs.

Opening Slide on Keynote:

Come Along and Sing With me Slide
Come Along and Sing with Me


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell   (no longer available as an app)

This is a wonderful adaptation of the beloved board book into an app.  It’s simple, with the boxes that were lift-the-flaps in the print edition transformed into tapp-tastic fun.  I just wish it was still available in the app store.

Rover Can

We had fun pretending to be dogs!  The kids enjoyed chiming in with suggestions for other things that dogs do.

Sago Mini Friends from Sago Sago (FREE; iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon)

Every Sago Mini app is amazing.  In Friends, you get to choose a friend to be (we of course, picked Harvey the dog) and then visit other animal’s houses to play fun activities. When we played, storytime participates got to tuck Robin the bird and Harvey into bed, make a flower grow with Jinja the cat, blow up some balloons and more!

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to keep something up on the screen while I am reading the print book, or else I end up getting our screensaver with photos (which the kids usually find more interesting than whatever I am reading), or the menu for Apple TV (which is ugly).  When I first started doing eStorytime, I would put the cover of the book that I was going to read on the slide.  But as I went on I found that didn’t afford me enough freedom to mix things up if I got a different audience than expected, or if I just wasn’t feeling the book that day.  So I switched to a more generic screen shot like the one on the right.  That works better for me.

eStorytime Five Little Puppy Dogs Feltboard Felt Board app Logo
Felt Board from Software Smoothie ($2.99; iOS)
I used felt board to do the song/rhyme “Five Little Puppy Dogs”

Five Little Puppy Dogs
5 little puppy dogs by the kennel door
One left the crowd, then there were four.
4 little puppy dogs, running round a tree
Mother called one home and then there were three.
3 little puppy dogs playing with a shoe
One ran after a cat, then there were two
2 little puppy dogs having so much fun
One went to find a bone, then there was one
1 little puppy dog sitting in the sun,
She went in the kennel and then there were none.

I started with five dogs on a blue background.  Re-reading this rhyme again, I may see if I can add a dog house as well next time.  Each time a puppy went away, I deleted it from the screen.  I also had the kids doing this as a fingerplay with me, so they were using their fingers to do the rhyme.


Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd, from Penguin New Zealand ($4.99; iOS)

A fun, straightforward ebook with a great rhyming scheme.  Fans of Dr. Who take note: David Tennant narrates! (Of course, not for my storytime, but you know if I ever want to hear him I can just turn the narration on…)


Just Me and My Puppy by Mercer Mayer, from Oceanhouse Media ($1.99; iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook)

Puppy Dog, Puppy Dog

MOVEMENT: “Storytime’s Over”*


APP: Animal SnApp: Farm illustrated by Axel Scheffler, from Nosy Crow (I’m not sure if this app is still available)  I liked this app a lot, and was hoping to use it, but I’ve found that some of the apps from Nosy Crow mirror strangely when I try to use them with our AppleTV.  Anyone else have this problem?
APP: Meet Biscuit by Alyssa Capucilli, from iStorytime ($2.99; iOS, Amazon) Capucilli’s loveable dog in app form.

This was a fun, but small, eStorytime.  In some ways, the smaller groups work better, because it means more kids can interact with the iPad.  But, I’m wondering if this is a good program to keep doing.  Maybe Friday mornings aren’t the best time?  Maybe our community isn’t interested?  Maybe I need to do more publicity?  So, since most of the Fridays that I work in November and December are holidays, I have decided to go back to the drawing board with our eStorytime program and evaluate if and how this can be done better.

However, since I’m behind in posting my eStorytimes, there will probably still be a few to go up on the blog.

ATTENDANCE: 4 people (children and adults)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

Please note: App prices were correct at the time of writing this blog, but may have changed since. All prices taken from the iOS app price.  There may also be changes to available platforms for apps as well.

Thoughts on eStorytimes/Digital Storytimes

Since digital / e- / iPad storytimes are becoming a regular service that many libraries are providing, including my own, I wanted to take a little time to explore the issue on my blog.

When first thinking about using iPads, ebooks, and apps in storytime part me wondered: what was the need for it (from an early literacy perspective rather than a digital divide one)?  While this is an area where much research is currently being done, I just felt like we didn’t know yet what the implications for early literacy were.   Children are already exposed to so much media, do we really need it in storytime as well?  Shouldn’t it be alright for library storytime to focus on print books and stories?  If children 2 and under should have no screen time, and children over 2 should have limited screen time, isn’t storytime the perfect place for a digital break?  Are we trying to embrace iPads just because they are sexy, rather than because they offer real benefits?

But just because something makes me uncomfortable, doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn more about it.  Like any good researcher, I want to collect my facts before making a decision.  So I talked to other professionals.  I attended many different trainings on how to use the iPad in storytime.  I read blog posts.  I tried to see the issue from both sides.

And I started seeing a different way of looking at iPads and storytime use.  Parents are already using iPads with their youngest children.  I am sure we have all seen a time when an iPad was used as a babysitter — entertaining a young child while a parent was getting something done.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  It is not my place to judge parents.  Parents have busy lives and use the tools at their disposal.  But if parents are using this technology why not show them that it can be MORE than a babysitter?

We already model how to interact with books in storytime.  I often feel, especially with my infant storytime, I feel like that’s the main reason I’m doing it.  Yes, the infants are receiving a benefit from storytime, but parents are seeing examples of great books for their children.  They are seeing how to do dialogic reading — even if they have no idea what it is called.  They are learning how books are starters for conversation or related activities like songs and fingerplays.

So why not do the same with ebooks and apps?  Why not show off wonderfully produced, educational apps the same way we highlight great books?  Why not model how an app can be a starting point for conversation and learning with children?

In addition, apps cost money.  And there is no place really to “try before you buy”.  Yes books cost money as well, but it is easy enough to read through a picture book before deciding to purchase it.  And there are so many apps out there.  Of course, plenty of places review apps, but it is often best to decide after seeing them in action  The library can help with this as well, by bring attention to really good, useful apps.

And when I saw using apps in this way, it began to make more sense to me to use them in library programming.  Another thing helped me be more okay with iPads in storytime was  when my library was discussing offering them as a service we decided to develop an eStorytime separate from our traditional storytime, rather than including the iPads in our current storytime program.  We have our traditional storytime, that runs once a week, and then we added a monthly storytime were we focus on apps and ebooks.  Soon, this may seem like a ridiculous and artificial division, but it helped me get my head around trying something new while still remaining faithful to a tried and true ideal.  Also, some parents in our community don’t want their children exposed to screen time — having separate programs allows us to accommodate both.

To some extent, I still think I am making my mind up about iPads and storytime.  I am interested to see what we learn from research about their use and early literacy.  But I’m also ready to try out some new ideas.  And you know what?  I just presented my first eStorytime today and it went pretty well.  Both parents and kids found it fun, engaging, and were exposed to some new-to-them high quality apps.  And I can’t help but think that’s a good thing.

You’ll start to see my eStorytimes outlines being posted on here. I hope you find them useful if you are thinking of starting your own digital storytime, already have one at your library, or just want to find some new fun apps to share with kids.

As always, please feel free to continue this conversation in the comments.  I would love to hear what you have to say about iPads, apps, storytimes and libraries.

Librarian Organizing – Books

I don’t know about the rest of the Children’s Librarians out there, but I seem to accumulate a lot of stuff.  Books, flannelboards I’ve created, flannelboard ideas I want to create, DVDs for programs, fingerplays, puppets, realia, the list goes on…  All of it is important to my programming, but all of it has to GO somewhere.  And more importantly, I’ve got to be able to find it when I need it!  With this in mind, I thought I would share a little bit about how I organize my materials.

It probably goes without saying, but I love children’s books.  I enjoy purchasing some of my favorites to have them on hand at all times for storytimes or other programs.  I do this for a few reasons:

  • I like knowing I have something there at all times to use (in case of a last-minute program!)
  • I don’t have to check-out a library book and keep others from it.
  • I like that the book I have on hand will be clean, with all of its pages intact.
  • Books go out of print so quickly that if I really love a book I want to know I can have it for all time.

However, when I had purchased a book I already had –  on at least two separate occasions –  I realized I might need a better method of keeping track of what I already owned.

I already kept a spreadsheet of my titles at work, but I wanted something portable I could take with me and check when I was at the bookstore.  I tried Goodreads for a while, because I used that anyway to keep track of what I’ve been reading, but it wasn’t a perfect fit.  So, I decided to explore the world of apps.  And I found one that I’m pretty happy with:

My Library
My Library App 1
I like that this not only helps me keep track of my books, but my DVDs as well.  (It also works with music albums, but I haven’t used that part yet).  The app allows you to add books to your library either manually or by scanning the barcode.
My Library App 5
Using the barcode scanning option, you can even scan multiple titles.  (Sometimes the scanning isn’t always 100% accurate, and you’ll have to go back and correct some of the data).  The app gives you a few different options of how to display your books including by author, title, series, genre and more.  I usually default to author:
My Library App 2
I like that this app shows cover photos as well, a feature that wasn’t always available on the couple apps I tried.

It also has the option for sorting your items into different collections. This allows the user to filter your items into different collections, or look at everything at once.  I have a few different ones as you can see here.
My Library App 3

I haven’t had this app very long, but so far I’m very pleased with it.  And hopefully, I won’t ever buy duplicate books by accident again!

Have you ever had problems keeping straight the books in your collection?  How do you organize your professional book collection?