Monday, October 15, 2007

Feeling the need to defend myself

Before I get into this, let me tell you a little about my weekly story time. Here is the breakdown:

~ Read 1st story
~ Finger play or song
~ Read 2nd story
~ Finger play or song
~ Read 3rd story
~ Watch short 3-7 minute video (a video of a Children's book, for example Make Way for Ducklings or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom)
~ Activity (either a craft or a coloring page)

Today, when I got to work, I was told about a discussion thread that was posted on a local website for moms in the area. The original post questioned the use of videos in story time, wondering if they were appropriate. I understand this - kids are exposed to a lot of TV these days, and I can see why this mom would question bringing a video to story time.

This post also called out my branch as the offending branch - and told people not to come to our story times.

However, the poster said nothing of the fact that I had read three stories and engaged her children in a couple songs or finger plays. In my story time, I always use different voices, engage the kids to 'help' me tell the story and lead them in a craft or other activity. She even called me lazy. I'm sorry, I am NOT a lazy story teller.

Some of the moms who responded to the thread commented on how libraries should be about books and literacy, and how we should be promoting the love of reading, not sitting the kids in front of the tube. I TOTALLY agree with that. But let me just defend the videos for a minute.

1) These videos are ALL based on popular Children's BOOKS. They are not Hannah Montana, Bob the Builder or Barney. Many of them are Award winners, and unavailable commercially. You can't pick up these videos at Blockbuster or Movie Gallery.

2) These videos are always between 3-7 minutes. I am not using them as my entire story time, nor am I exposing your children to 30 minutes worth of crap.

3) Many of these videos are narrated by award winning vocal talent, as well as combining a book with some amazing and often award winning music.

4) Personally, I feel that this is an additional way to expose children to books. Allow them to visualize and experience the story in a different way. The voices and the music all add something to the story that I, as one person, cannot.

Obviously, since I do use these videos in my story time, I don't see a problem with them. And like I said, I do understand where this mom is coming from, and I think she is entitled to her opinion.

My problem is with the accusation that I am a lazy story teller. My problem is with the fact that she does not mention AT ALL that there are stories being read to the children. My problem is with the fact that she says nothing about the songs or finger plays. Nor do I appreciate the fact that she is telling others not to come to my story time.

It may sound conceited, but I believe I am a good story teller. I provide a great service to these kids. I believe in literacy, the written word, and encouraging reading.

And I am not going to apologize for using videos from books in my story time.

End rant.


Rhonda said...

I bet you are a WONDERFUL storyteller. That lady obviously has no clue what she's talking about.

Amanda said...

BOO on those mean mommies! they are just haters. I think it's a great idea to add visuals and a voice to a story the kids read.

Elizabeth said...

You forgot to mention that you often lead the children in fun and silly dances and songs. Your story time ROCKS!

tmac96 said...

I'm sorry you've had to go through this! I hate when people make judgements about things they don't know about. :-( Don't let it get to you though! You sound like a great story teller! Just remember who it's really for -- the kids! :-)

bridejenn said...

I had no idea there were so many crazy people going to the library! Does this woman actually stick around long enough to see what you do or is she one of those people who just drops her kid off for some free babysitting and then trys to make herself feel better by criticizing you??? Anyway I'm all fired up tonight, but still, don't let this woman get to you!

Leslie said...

People suck, and that is all.

Arielle said...

Good for you sticking up for yourself on your blog! And may I say that you defended yourself very professionally and maturely. I would be offended if someone targeted me in the way they did with false accusations.

I don't think I've commented before now, but I've been reading your blog almost daily. Just wanted to say hello and let you know that I enjoy your blog. I am a writer so I enjoy reading blogs that are entertaining and about real things. Nice to "meet" you and I have no doubt that you are a fantastic story teller!

Arielle :)

Manda said...

Leslie said what I was going to...people suck. I'm sorry the mom didn't pay closer attention to what you do. You sound like you have great storytimes with lots of activity, not just videos. Don't let the meanies get you down.