5 ways to keep storytime fun and interesting

Making storytime fun and exciting will not only help get children hooked on reading, it is one of the best ways for families to bond, spend quality time together and share memories that will last forever. 

The BookTrust
A photo of a dad sitting under an indoor canopy with his two young girls as he reads a story to them
Image: Getty

Whether your child has a favourite book they want to read over and over (and over) again, or you just want some ideas to keep them interested in a new book, we’ve got some tips on how to make the most of your time reading together.

1. Get curious

There’s always more to discover the second, third or even fourth time you read a book. 

When you re-read a story with your child, take your time looking at the pictures and talk about the details you might not spot the first-time round. Often you can find little characters and storylines hidden in the images. Talk about your favourite pictures and what you can tell about the story from what you see. This will not only help deepen your child’s understanding of the story, but it also supports their visual literacy skills.

Books can also be used as a starting point to get your child to discuss new topics. Explore their feelings by asking open-ended questions about the themes and ideas addressed in the book, as well as the impact it had on them. You could try asking questions like “what do you think it means when…” and “how did you feel when…” and make sure you give them lots of time to respond.

Asking them to tell you what happened in their own words is a great way to see what your child picked up on, and which parts resonated most with them. It’s often the case that interpretations differ hugely from child to child, but that’s the beauty of a great story!

2. Get playful

Making stories fun and exciting is one of the best ways to get your child loving books and on the path to becoming a lifelong reader. It really helps them see reading as playtime rather than work time.

Children love being imaginative, so why not get into character and act out your favourite bits of the story together. You can have fun letting go and being dramatic, which little ones find hilarious and will encourage them to give it a go too. If you’d rather, you could use some of your child’s toys to be the characters and use them to tell the story. You could even set up a camera and make your own little movie together!

Making reading fun can be as simple as trying out a few silly voices, sound effects or actions as you read. These small changes can make it seem like you’re reading a brand new story.

3. Get crafty and creative

Bring the story to life by getting involved in some crafty activities related to the book.

If your child is arty, why not try drawing the characters. You could even cut them out and use them as puppets as you read the story. Or you could create a big mural telling the story with your own pictures. The time you spend creating these together is the perfect chance to chat about what you’ve been reading.

If drawing isn’t their thing, you could try out some recipes linked to the theme of the story, build the setting using Lego or cardboard boxes, or even make up your own songs about what happens in the book. These kinds of activities give the story you’ve been reading a whole world for your child to explore.

4. Get outdoors

You’ve probably read the book for the first time sat down together at home, so why not go free range for your next reading!

Immerse your child in the story by taking them to a location from the story. So if you’re reading a book about pirates you could take the book to the beach, or if it’s a tale of jungle animals they’re hooked on, go out into a park or garden and pretend you’re roaming about in the Amazon, just like the tigers and monkeys they love to read about.

This change of scenery is super exciting and will make them feel like they’re right in the middle of the action.

5. Get imaginative

The words on the page are just the starting point for a much larger story waiting to be told. When you read a story with your child, their mind will start whirring into action and thinking up new characters, ideas and plots.

Encourage your child to become a storyteller themselves by making up new stories inspired by the book you’ve read. Ask them to imagine what happens after the final page of the book or think up a backstory for one of the characters. You could get them to write down their story or draw pictures and make their own mini-book.

A book can be a doorway to a whole new world, so jump in together and see what you come up with. 

5 ways to keep storytime fun and interesting BookTrust

BookTrust is dedicated to getting children reading because they know that children who read are happier, healthier, more empathetic and more creative. Find out more about why a love of reading matters at booktrust.org.uk

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