Tips For A Successful Storytime

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Movement is okay!

It’s unrealistic to expect young children to sit through an entire book. Sometimes the child who is playing with blocks on the other side of the room is the one paying the most attention to the story.

When possible, allow children to initiate storytime.

Wait for one to bring you a book and soon you’ll have most of the group coming over to listen 🙂

Follow the child’s lead.

You don’t have to finish every book. Sometimes they lose interest or discussion causes the group’s momentum to change and that’s alright. You can always revisit it later.

Practice dialogic reading.

This means asking children questions and/or having discussions about what’s happening on the page. Go beyond questions you already know the answer to, such as “What color is the ball?” Instead, encourage children to make predictions, describe what they are noticing in the illustrations (often very different or containing twists from the actual text), or draw connections between the story and their own lives.

Shorter, interactive books work better for large groups of children.

Save books with lots of text for one-on-one reading time. If you have a longer book that you want to share in a storytime setting, it’s okay to skip pages or paraphrase (even though you might get caught by very attentive listeners).

Most importantly, make it fun!

Make sure the books available in your classroom/home are ones that you will enjoy reading too. No need to be self-conscious about using silly voices or switching up your tone and volume. The kids aren’t judging you; they just want to share a great story with you!

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Josie is an early childhood educator turned children's librarian from Kansas City, MO. When she's not promoting play and early literacy, she loves to spend time with her family and travel. During her rare moments of free time, you can find Josie curled up with a cat and a good book. Feel free to reach out to her with early literacy questions or ask for book recommendations.