Fall 2013 Meeting Recap: Sensory Storytime

Sensory Storytime Presentations

The fall meeting of SNAILS featured Sensory Storytime presentations by Renee Grassi of Glencoe Public Library and Sue Parsons of Plainfield Public Library. Renee and Sue covered:
  • the what and why of Sensory Storytime
  • three different models of Sensory Storytime
  • what we can learn from offering Sensory Storytime
Because Sensory Storytime is a relatively easy way to accommodate children with special needs at your library, we recorded the presentation for you!

In addition to the main presentation, Sue demonstrated a mini Sensory Storytime including her welcome comments, the use of her little bird, Pájaro, songs, crafts, and games. A video of her demo will be included in Sue's upcoming post, so be sure to subscribe to the blog in order to receive an alert when it is posted!

Sensory Storytime Ideas from the Group

After the formal presentation and demonstration, we used the group sharing time to talk about our favorite Sensory Storytime components. So many great ideas were shared - from sign language to smelly markers and lap pads to pumpkins. You can read about all the amazing ideas that were shared in this Google document.

iPad Apps for Sensory Storytime

Near the end of the morning, I shared four apps that I've just begun using in Sensory Storytime:

Choice Works by Bee Visual, LLC ($6.99) is Tamara Kaldor of Chicago PLAY Project's #1 recommended app. It has three boards - schedules, waiting, and feelings. If you already have an iPad, the schedule mode is an affordable substitute to Boardmaker. Although the image library is somewhat small, you can use photos from your camera roll. The waiting board has a digital timer, and the feelings board helps kids self-regulate by                          making positive choices.

Sounding Board by AbleNet (free) is a great app for augmentative communication. I've used it to make choice boards for those who are non-verbal. For example, I've taken pictures of the trees in Fall is Not Easy by Marty Kelley and recorded myself naming each tree. After reading the book, I ask the kids which tree they like best and they respond by tapping the image of the tree they prefer. 

Maybe it's because my sister moved from the suburbs out to a farm, but I love Happy Little Farmer by GiggleUp Kids ($2.99). It was the perfect app for kids to use while waiting their turn to plant a seed during our gardening storytime, and it's also a good alternative for those who don't want to get dirty.

Bugs and Buttons by Little Bit Studio, LLC ($2.99) is an app that was recommended by North Shore Pediatric Therapy during a family technology workshop we hosted at Skokie Library. It has 18 different games and activities which provide opportunity for free play and learning. I used it with our insect-themed storytime. There are three other just-as-good versions (Bugs and Buttons 2, Bugs and Bubbles, Bugs and 

Autism Webinar

Those who were able to stay for the afternoon viewed the ALA Serving Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Part I) webinar which was presented by Lesley Farmer who wrote a book by the same title. It was a good overview of Autism. We'll be viewing Part II, which includes ideas for programming for the Autism population, after the February 12, 2014 SNAILS meeting at Glenside Public Library.

Holly Jin is the Preschool Outreach & Early Literacy Librarian at Skokie Public Library.