When you think of reading what comes to your mind? Do you get excited about a new book? Do you have a magazine subscription that you look forward to every month? I have three I am subscribed to, Foodnetwork, Publishers Weekly, and a science journal. To be honest, the food one makes super hungry just looking at the cover, and I’ve only made about half a dozen of the dishes I swore I would try.
Do you have a favorite chair that you like to curl up in when reading? Or maybe you enjoy sitting in your backyard while delving into a new book? I have a couple of places where I go to enjoy my reading material. It’s funny how we become creatures of habit and migrate to the same places. Or do you think of reading as a chore, just trying to get through it?
When it comes to reading and kids, I think of cilantro. You either love it or hate it, with almost no in between. What do you do to make story time one that is fun, and exciting? How can you make reading come alive? What are some of the things you do to make it enjoyable? Since engaging in regular author visits making reading enjoyable is at the forefront of my mind during any visit. Here are just a few tips that I implement when I visit the classroom to make story time even more exciting for kids.
Set the Scene. Arrange a special setting to gather together, pick a place where you don’t usually read. Maybe sit outside under a tree, or pull the cushions off the couch to sit on the floor. Do your kids have a tree house? If so why not try reading there? I like to inflate the air mattress It’s a treat for Levi when we pull it out. He likes to bounce on it before eventually settling down and then we read a little.
Getting in Character. Wear a costume, bring in puppets, or use special props to highlight your story. I bring a character from my book, and all of the students have an opportunity to hold and play with the stuffed animal. Get involved in the story! If you are reading something about medieval times, maybe make a dinner that night with a dish they might have eaten back then. Or decorate the space where you’re reading to fit the story.
Act it Out. Give each character a different voice, and get your kids involved too! If they can read why not assign them a character to read for. It can be the hero, villain, or even the narrator. I have specific places in my books where the class get’s to participate in and let me tell you they bring their loudest voices to the part. I love it! Personalize It. Insert names of your children in the story, change names of towns and characters to familiar settings, and allow your kids to become involved in the story. Discuss how the characters feel so your children can share the characters’ emotions.
Involve Everyone. Try to involve all of the children in story time, but do not force them to participate. Being “actively involved” with some kids it’s watching, listening, and sensing. Encourage shy children to join in when they are comfortable and ready. You are the best judge of your family, so do what feels natural.
And lastly, Imagine the Possibilities. Using the imagination is very stimulating for young children. Closing the eyes creates excitement and allows their imagination to expand. Introduce the story by saying, “I see a,” then set the scenery or give a description such as, “I see a red brick house with no windows. The chimney reaches almost to the sky.” Detail the story with action words. Not only will this help expand their vocabulary, but will build excitement for the story too.
Storytime is a particular time to inspire imagination, foster emerging literacy skills, and plant the seeds for a young child’s lifelong interest in reading and books. Through story time, you help children build vocabulary, develop listening skills, increase attention span, and teach new concepts and expertise. Most importantly, storytime is a time for FUN!
These are my suggestions to help make reading come alive. What are some that your family uses?