Tips for a Successful Story Time

Kids love story time, but let’s face it – sometimes it’s tough for kids to sit quietly and pay attention. Still, story time is a great way to inspire a love of reading, so it’s important to make story time as enriching as possible. Use these story time ideas to make it a fun learning event. 

Set the Mood

Before story time begins, you may need to help the children settle down – especially if they’re transitioning from an energetic activity. Lead the children in taking a few deep breaths and then give short, simple instructions about where to gather for story time. Praise those children who are following your instructions and being good examples.

Set the Scene
Create a story area that’s comfortable and welcoming. You may choose to use mats, large pillows, decorative canopies – anything that makes the area special and inviting. Try decorating with reading-themed posters and cutouts with fun characters such as The Cat in the Hat™ or other Dr. Seuss™ characters.

When creating your reading area, remember to be alert for items that can be distracting to the students and do what you can to remove them.

Know your Audience
If you’re reading to Kindergarten students, you probably don’t want to read a chapter book full of big words and no illustrations. On the other hand, if you’re reading to 10 year olds, picture books wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s important to choose books based on the group’s attention span, interests and comprehension. Sometimes you may want to read books that complement classroom lessons or tackle social issues such as being a good friend, using manners, saying no to drugs or bullying. 

Introduce the Story

Once the children are gathered and ready to listen, give a little introduction to the book. Invite the kids to look at the cover and guess what it may be about, tell them something about one of the characters or ask them a question they can answer only after listening to the story. These strategies (or other ideas you come up with) get the children involved with the story right away. 

Bring the Story to Life
Rather than just reading the words on the page, use different voices or actions as appropriate during story time. You can invite the kids to do the actions with you or, if the book has a phrase that repeats often, to say it with you. 

After the story, ask the children some open-ended questions about what you’ve just read. Could this story really happen? What was your favorite part? This will help with comprehension and children will learn more from the story.

Story time is an important part of every child’s day. Use these story time tips to make it a fun experience that fosters a love of reading and learning.

Does your classroom need some organization? Read these tips to get started!