7 Things You MUST DO to be a Superstar Storyteller for Your Kids - Great Storytelling Makes Books Come Alive!
(Cuddle-time or Bedtime - make sure it's a great time!)
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So, apparently some of you were not born a complete goof-ball and need a little bit of help making storytime at your house be a daily experience to remember for your family. That's where these tips come in! Take the time to read them over, print, and follow these steps during your reading time and your kids will LOVE you for it. (Psssst! You miiiight have fun too. Beware!)
Oh! And, I almost forgot but this point is SO IMPORTANT. Pretty please, don't stop reading to your kids when they are older. If you can get them to stop and sit still for even a few minutes, they will love it too! My 14 year old twins still LOVE for me to read aloud to them. And older kid / young adult books have such rich characters. So fun to step into character with. My family makes fun of me because every accent I try ends up sounding the same. But they still really enjoy it and ask me to keep going. Even the hubs likes to hear reading aloud! Which leads me to my points:
Go ahead and put on your bedtime pj's/ slippers and try this:
1) Read with an accent. This one is a no-brainer! When you are reading a suspenseful Agatha Christie novel, can you imagine it with anything other than a fine British accent? Of course not! Australian character = "G'day mate!" Southern belle = "Frankly ma deyah!" Chinese, New York, French, and all accents worldwide deserve a place in your home reading if you are to truly be a great storyteller. I'm just gonna tell ya, this one is non-negotiable. You say you are terrible at accents? I say kids don't care! Go for it, storyteller! You know you are dying to show us all your amayzing Spanish accent. (Side note: You may have to switch accents for each different character. While fun, this may be for only the advanced storyteller. Beware beginners). 🙂
2) Read in character - The people in the story, they are depending on you to bring them to life! Give them a chance to live and show their true colors. Change your posture, style and maybe even grab an easily-switched prop (hat, cane, whatever) to "be" the characters you are reading.
3) Read with your kid's name as the characters - Readers, have you ever done this with a young child? OH MY GOSH. They LOVE this. Your sweet baby girl gets to be a beautiful fairy princess one day and then tomorrow she can be Ted the Turtle (oops, I mean Tiffany the Turtle). Your son can be the Superhero who Saves the Day tonight, and then tomorrow he can be Bingo the Bear (oops, I mean Billy the Bear). (You get the idea - insert your own child's name). Oh! One little warning about this. Each and every time that you forget to insert your child's name into the right place, you will get yelled at and will promptly be required to reread the sentence.
4) Use voice inflection - Now come on, nobody wants to hear aaaanybody speak in a monotone voice, right? So, do you think your kiddos will enjoy it? Pretty much no 🙂 So - use volume to your advantage. Loud & soft, high & low. Gravelly, soft, mysterious. Piercing, shrilly or silly. Just imagine this character and use those vocal chords to show off what is happening and the personalities of the characters.
5) Ask these questions: What should the character do now? Why do you think the character did that? If you were in the characters shoes, how would you do it? Do you like this character? Why or why not? In addition to making the story more personal for your child (and to make sure they are invested in the story), you are encouraging comprehension in reading. You'll be helping to develop habits in your child to ask themselves questions and analyze text as they read on thier own. Score!
5) Cliff-hangers - Cliff hangers are a really good way to
... break up the story and create suspense and excitement. (Hee hee, did you catch that cliff-hanger? Had to do it.) What you want to hear from your children at night is "Noooooo! Pleeeease keep reading!", and during the day you want to hear "When can we read? What time is reading?" Or maybe even, dare I say, "What time is bedtime?" (Of course, this works whatever your storytime schedule is.)
6) Allow activity while reading - My son literally JUMPS ON THE TRAMPOLINE while I read chapter books to him. The chiggers were biting my ankles so I had to sit down in a chair and prop up my feet on the sides of the tramp while reading. Not so easy to read that way, but hey! He can absolutely hear what I'm saying and even jumps around making comments and asking questions. If you have a kiddo with ADHD, don't be afraid of reading while upside down or on a skateboard! Who knows, it might help. At the least, many kids need a wiggle break periodically.
7) Special reading snack - because hey, why not? Sounds fun to me. Maybe a nice glass of milk and some cookies while you read, "If You Give a Moose a Muffin". Perfect!
8) Pick an interesting PLACE to read - In the bathtub, on the trampoline (see above), under a blanket fort, could be anywhere! Makes it more interesting. When I was a kid, I used to love to go out in the woods and sit in a tree to read. Ah, memories 🙂 Check out this printable for a list of creative places to read.
9) Set the mood - Dim the lights (it was a dark, scary night) and get the flashlight out for a spooky book, or go outside and sit by the tree to read Little Bear. Whatever the setting, make it more fun by providing the perfect surrounding for the telling of the story.
10) Follow the activity of the book. - Re-enact each scene with body movements. If Johnny runs in the story, start moving your feet (although you don't really have to go anywhere). Or if an audience starts clapping, you can too. Is there a horse? Make horse sounds and go "clip-clop, clip-clop!".
11) Have silly traditions during reading - Just a little thing, but when my sister and I were kids, at the end of every book read, my Dad would say, "Donk diddly donk-donk, *clucks tongue* donk-donk!", and then he would gently tap the book on each of our heads. He would do this every night and lo and behold, I randomly do this to my kids. They always try to duck at the end of a story to miss getting a book on the head. What kind of little rhyme or silly thing can you always do with your kids at the beginning or end of a story?
What is so fun about this is that you get to express creativity with your children and all of a sudden this story becomes your own. A part of your life. Memories precious to your family and to your children that will never be forgotten! They'll probably pass these ways to your grandchildren.
Good luck to you, mate! There you have it -11 things you MUST DO to be a Superstar Storyteller for your kids! Enjoy the journey. There is nothing so precious as being silly with your kid. I hope you go for it! Can you do me a favor and comment below if you have any more ideas? Or, if you just enjoyed this article, PIN it here!
Forever a reader for life,