With so many online educational resources around, it can be hard for educators to find high-quality and diverse literature. For those upskilling or learning the profession of teaching in early childhood, Story Box Library (SBL) provides enhancements to teaching programs, with a safe and trusted digital platform. While in-person interactions and story reads are still required as necessary aspects of teaching in early childhood, SBL’s safe and trusted digital resource is helping enhance the experiences of early childhood teachers and working professionals.

We spoke with Amanda Niland, from the University of Sydney, about her experience as a university lecturer and academic using Story Box Library. Amanda is a unit coordinator and lecturer in early childhood, and the Program Director of the Masters of Teaching Early Childhood. Among her roles, she focuses on language, literacy and literature in early childhood, and uses Story Box Library to enhance teaching the work of early childhood professionals.

“[Story Box Library] was a ‘lifesaver’ for our teaching during lockdown, enabling students to engage with so many beautiful books, for their general learning, and for completing their assignments,” Amanda said. “We have a high quality online resource to direct students to.” 

Designed with time-poor teachers in mind SBL’s accessible and intuitive features enable working teachers and professionals to discover stories early and effectively. Amanda employs SBL’s Search and Playlist functions, showing her students how features can save time, assist them in working to curriculum, and engage children in a love of learning. Allowing young minds to be immersed in the power of storytelling, and especially being read aloud by engaging storytellers, is a crucial part of early childhood development.

“Even when libraries are more freely available, we still regard [Story Box Library] as a useful resource for exploring a range of literature and reading aloud styles, that we will continue to use, while still prioritising the use of ‘real’ books,” Amanda explained. “The fact that the books there have been carefully selected and are engagingly read has helped them in learning to recognise the indicators of quality children’s literature.”

With a growing collection of over 300 high-quality story reads, and accompanying educational resources, SBL improves language and literacy learning, and assists teachers to engage meaningfully with storytelling. “We encourage our students to explore a wide range of quality picture books for young children,” Amanda said. “We view the ability to engage in meaningful shared reading with young children, using quality literature, as an essential skill for an early childhood teacher.” 

Amanda’s tips on using SBL in early childhood professions

  • Suggest it as a resource to share with families whose access to visiting libraries and going out into the community is limited

  • Encourage as a model for parents who lack confidence in reading to their children 

  • Discover books on particular aspects of life that might be helpful for their students or children

  • Use in classroom sessions with children where they can’t access the physical book that they need to work towards specific objectives

For universities interested in a free 30-day trial with Story Box Library, visit us here or contact storybox@bennett.com.au.

Read more here about a teacher’s reflections on the power of storytelling in the classroom.