Show pictures. You can involve the kids by showing them all the pictures in the book. Seeing the pictures help kids understand the book better in addition to keeping everyone’s attention. As you show each picture, you’ll need to ensure that you are catching each member of your audience. To do this, sit comfortably so you can easily turn to show the book to the left and right sides of the room.
- Practice holding the book in a way where you can read it and show the children the pictures at the same time. If this doesn’t work, make sure to always show the picture after you have read the text on that page.
Ask questions. Another way to engage the group is to ask what the children would do at specific parts in the story. For example, while reading The Three Little Pigs, you might ask the kids “Who would open the door for the wolf?” or “What would you build the house out of?” The responses may surprise you in witty and clever ways.
- You should try to ask just a few questions near the middle of the story, and again at the end. Don’t ask too many questions too often or it may break up the story and you’ll lose continuity.
Use props. Try adding a prop to the story for the kids to use as you read. For example, hand out egg shakers for the kids to shake when something specific happens, like thunder rumbling or when a character skips. This will bring the children into the story and make it more fun for all.
- Also include some stuffed animals that look like the characters. So you would bring a stuffed wolf or turtle for the kids to act out some scenes. This also serves as a great way to extend the children’s imaginations.
Follow up after the story. Immediately after the story, ask the kids what their favorite parts were. Take it to the next step and have them make up what will happen next. This is perfect to spark creativity and keep them reading.
- Asking the children follow questions can be very useful. Try asking a question that requires limited or guided output like “Who remembers what the hungry caterpillar ate?” or “What happened to Humpty Dumpty?”You’ll also get a good idea of who was paying attention, in addition to checking their comprehension skills.