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Do You Want Your Children to Participate in Storytime?

Updated on November 14, 2019
JoannaBlackburn profile image

Joanna is a hands-on teacher, who has spent many years using the following activities. Her methods have kept children from falling behind.

Do you want your children to participate in storytime?

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To get the students in your classroom to participate in storytime, you have to be willing to put all of you into it. Children can tell if you are having fun or not. So have fun with it.

The story further down in this article is one that I wrote and used in my classroom throughout the years. I wanted to give others a chance to use it now that I'm retired.


Children don't care if the story is perfect only that you let them be involved in it. So let them be part of the storytelling process. I will explain the different things I used during my time telling this story. I'm sure you will come up with some of your own, but maybe this will help give you ideas to try.

The first thing I always did was dress up selling and let the children dress up silly.


If I wrote a noise, like the bear banging on the truck, then bang on something instead of saying it. Let the children copy you.

Really get into acting out the whole story. Every sound and movement.

I always use different sign language signs when telling any story. Every time I said bear, I would cross my arms and curl my fingers. But never told them to do it or what it meant. Before you know it they knew and was using it.

Give the Children a Chance

Don't rush through, take it slow and help the children learn how to participate, but do not make them. They will soon enough join in willingly.

This is the most important part of this working out in your favor. Be patient, it will take a few times before they catch on. But they do catch on and start using it.

They actually become a lot more creative by learning to tell stories this way.

Get creative here, use a silly childlike voice for Corabell, and a strange voice for the mom. Really get into the story your telling. This gets their attention and they won't wander around so much.

Make sure you give the children a chance to copy you or respond to what you are doing. Let them stand and move about.

Using Props

Read through the story and you will find many things you can use for this story. Think outside the box. Go to your dramatic play area and use the stove and a toy pan.

Put yarn in a big pan and when it goes flying through the air it will land on the children.

When I say act out a story, I don't just mean big actions. Be surprised about the bear, calming when telling Corabell its okay. This teaches the different emotions. Let your inner child out to play and have fun with the children.

Show Your Human

If you've never done this before, don't worry about it. The children need to see your not perfect, that you goof up and how to carry on anyway. This teaches life skills they will need later in life and it works. I have personally seen it work for many of my children throughout the years.

This will open their minds to thinking outside of the box and how to solve problems.

About the Sign Language

I have added two other signs that are good to start off with. The children will use them off and on throughout the day. Just remember not to point out that you're doing them. Just use it like everyday language. I have had more success with this method than any other way I have tried to teach it.

I use it not only with all my stories, but at lunch, and anytime I'm speaking to the parents or children. I have even used it while talking to other teachers. You will be amazed at how fast everyone catches on to doing this.

The Bear That Ate Spaghetti

Corabell balanced on the chair so she could put the noodles into the bubbling water. Suddenly she heard, "Thump! Bang! Crash!"

"Mom, what made that noise?"

"I'm not sure, stay here and I'll have a look."

Her mom grabbed a flashlight and slowly opened the front door. There on the edge of the porch was a big brown bear. Mom quickly slammed the door and locked it.

"What was it?"

"It's a bear, but don't worry he won't come in."

Just then they heard, "Hisssssss, ssssss, sssss" coming from the kitchen.

"Oh, no! We forgot about the noodles!" Corabell ran to the kitchen.

"Don't worry, we have more, we will just start over. Just toss these out the back door."

Finally, the noodles got done, and Corabell climbed up on the chair to watch her mom drain the water. As her mom was picking up the strained noodles, Corabell opened the curtain and jumped backward, hitting her moms arm, sending the noodles flying everywhere.

There in the window was the bear, watching her.

Laughing they both cleaned up the mess and threw it out the back door.

"Mom, can we start again?"

"I have enough for one more time. This time I will do it and you go watch tv."

Finally, dinner was done, and Corabell ate and went to bed.

The next morning after Corabell ate her breakfast she headed out the back door, and came right back in. "Mom, the spaghetti is gone. I think the bear was just hungry."

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on what you can do during this story?

Think about it, write them done, test them out.

I keep a notebook of different things I try, and if it worked well I would put a star by it and if it didn't I left it alone. Different stories work better with different signs and props, so experiment until you see that spark come alive in your children.

I give permission to print and use this in the classroom only.


© 2018 Joanna Blackburn


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