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Top tips for brilliant online Bookbug Sessions

Early Years Trainer, Paul Kane, shares his tips for running successful online Bookbug Sessions.

Last updated: 23 November 2020

Many Bookbug sessions have been unable to take place during the Coronavirus pandemic. Luckily, it's still possible to share songs and rhymes with your families through online sessions. You can join Scottish Book Trust staff for a live online sessions on Facebook(this will open in a new window) every Friday at 10am.

Here are just a few things to bear in mind when planning your online session.

Platform 

Decide which platform (Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube or Instagram Live) works best for you and your group. Facebook Live is the most popular - it's a free service and uses the camera on a computer or mobile device to broadcast live or recorded videos direct to Facebook. Your recorded session will stay on your organisation's Facebook page for families to watch again or catch up on later. 

You can opt for a live broadcast or a pre-recorded session. Many online Bookbug Sessions are recorded in advance which is great if you feel you may be nervous. It also gives you time to re-record the session if you’re not happy with the original take. You can record at a time that suits you and then upload your video to broadcast later. A live broadcast has the advantage of allowing you and your families to take part together - you can also respond to comments from families as they watch.

Plan 

Make a session plan and have it to hand. If you need inspiration, we have themed Bookbug Session plans on our website. Start with the Hello Song and end with the Goodbye Song. Include songs and rhymes that families will know from your sessions. This will help mums, dads, carers and children feel comfortable and confident joining in. Have a look at the Bookbug Song & Rhyme Library or Bookbug app for inspiration. Speak, rhyme and sing slowly and clearly, use actions and repeat each activity several times. 

Practice 

Practise songs and rhymes first on your own, in front of a mirror or with family and friends. This will boost your confidence!  Practise reading your picture book aloud too. Your voice, gestures and facial expressions will help bring the story to life. You can have a look at the book lists on our website for inspiration on great books to share - remember to check permissions though.

Imagine the families are with you and leave pauses for them to respond. If you or your families are not confident singing, focus more on rhymes or book sharing. Don’t worry about mistakes either - this makes for a more honest, authentic, realistic session!

Camera set-up

Practice as much as you can in front of the camera to make sure your positioning is correct and you are happy with the composition. Make sure your room is bright enough so that you can be seen and ensure you are close enough to your built-in microphone so that you can be clearly heard.

Props 

If you can, wear your Bookbug t-shirt and use the Bookbug doll as you would normally. If you don’t have access to your usual resources, feel free to get creative with things you have around your home. Soft toys, pots and pans, musical instruments and other creative props are actively encouraged if this is your normal style. Encourage families to join in with their own props too. But remember, you (and your voice) are your best prop.

Promotion 

Promote your Bookbug Session in advance on social media. You can use our Bookbug logo on your videos to let families know they are genuine sessions. At the end of your session you can promote the Bookbug app and the Home Activities Hub to encourage families to join in the fun whenever they can.

If you decide that remote Bookbug Session delivery works for you, why not set up a regular day and time for your session so families know to look out for it? Remember to let us know so we can support your promotion.

Feedback

Ask your families for feedback. Get them to share their favourite songs and rhymes so you can include them in future sessions. Watch and learn from other online session leaders too - this will keep your skills fresh and give you new ideas.

Fun 

Most of all, have fun and remember to smile! It may seem strange to lead a session on your own to begin with, but the more you do it, the more relaxed and confident you will become.

Thank you for continuing to spread the joy of stories, songs and rhymes during these difficult times. We appreciate your energy and support!

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