10 tips on how to share stories with children

Sharing stories aloud is a fantastically fun way to celebrate the joys of books and spark young imaginations and reading together for just ten minutes a day can help create readers for life. Here are the World Book Day team's tips on how to make those moments magical. 

World Book Day team
World Book Day 2019

1. Be prepared

Sharing a story should be fun for everyone, even grown-ups! Read it yourself first and have a think about the characters and plot. If you love it, chances are they will too! This also means that there will be no surprises that might trip you up as you read.

2. Get comfy

Are there enough cushions and blankets to sit on? Can you be heard? Is there enough light? If your children are easily distracted, they can draw or play games quietly while you read; they’ll still reap the benefits of your storytelling.

3. Holding the book

Now it’s time to tame those pages so you can read the text and your kids can see you. You can hold the book wide open and to the side or put it between laps. Plus, you can use your free hand to point out pictures and for grand gestures.

4. Get into character

Using voices and songs is a great way to bring the story to life. You can go high or low or change the speed from fast to slow to show the difference between characters. Songs are also great and you can write your own catchy tune or borrow a well-known melody.

5. Mix it up

Changing tempo is a great way to grab children’s attention and build suspense or add humour. Try slowing down or speeding up for different scenes. With emotional books, it’s especially important to keep it real, so make the differences subtle.

6. Vary the tone

If you’re ready to more add strings to your bow, try contrasting your tone which is good for sharing both voices and narration. How about switching from monotone to musical? Whispering can also be great fun as it feels like a secret and kids love secrets!

7. Add movement and props

You can take it to another level by adding movements and props. Make your movements as big or small as you like and invite the kids to join in. Maybe their arms become flapping wings or a wooden spoon becomes a paintbrush.

8. Make it interactive

Involve your listeners! You can ask them to repeat sentences, encourage them to add sound effects, get them to count and name what they see and even let them guess what’s coming next.

9. Discuss as you read

Speak your thoughts aloud as you read. Is there something similar you remember happening in the world? Or a related memory from your childhood? Set an example and your listeners will become active, engaged readers who make their own connections.

10. Take it to a new level

Challenge kids with stories above their reading level. When you get to something difficult or new in the book, stop and repeat it slowly. Tell them what it means, what it makes you think of, other words that mean the same thing and use it again in another context.


Don’t forget to check out all of the World Book Day team’s resources – from activity packs to extracts, there’s something for every reader!

Stories to share together

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