Do you feel like you are reading stories to a barrel of monkeys? This is an area that most teachers ask for help with.
It can be very difficult to engage a group of children at story time. There are so many skills that preschool children learn from listening to stories, including vocabulary, letter recognition, sequencing, auditory and visual memory and predicting what comes next.
Putting some time in to creating visual supports before story time can bring huge pay-offs in terms of keeping the attention of most, if not all, students in your classroom. Please view the following strategies, including free printables, and let me know what works for you!
Making Learning Fun is one of the best websites for story time ideas. They have an excellent page on activities related to popular children’s books. Check it out!! http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/BookPrintables.htm
These are for “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, but you can make them for any story. You can be in charge of the pictures, or give each child a picture to add at the correct time. This helps to keep their attention throughout the story. You can also use the pictures to allow each child to create a book and bring home to read to their family.
Another fun idea to hold the attention of your students during story time is to use props. I like to pull the props out of a box as I read the story. Once the story is finished. I let the students have a prop to put in the box when they hear their part in the story. The props and book can be placed in a literacy center, where you can get some great video footage of the children retelling their versions of the story for an end of the year program!
For older students, you can have them place letters or words (with visual cues as needed) in the box, or hold up the letter or word as they hear it. They like holding up pretty much anything attached to a craft stick!
If you are working on rhyming skills, give each child some sort of token and container. I love using pom poms and empty gum containers that fit in cup holders. The containers have a small opening to push the pom poms in and a large opening to take them out. Have the students put a pom pom in each time they hear rhyming words. Give them a cue by pausing, emphasizing the rhyming words or stopping and smiling. Have them count the pom poms when the story is finished for an added learning activity 🙂
Another fun website with themes and ideas for books and activities is http://storytimekatie.com/tag/paper-crafts I love the fact that the author lets us know if the books/activities were hits or flops.
A real hit with kids and a great way to hold their attention is with a Draw and Tell Story. See the video on HeidiSongs and read about books you can buy with more Draw and Tell Stories. http://www.heidisongs.com/blog/2012/01/draw-and-tell-story.html
Have fun with the ideas and please, please, please share your successful strategies for keeping preschoolers engaged during story time!!