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A mom is sitting on the couch and reading a book to her child. Story time, children books, books for kids, reading activities, educational activities for kids.

10 Simple Tips for Parents to Master Storytime Success

Did you know that the earlier you begin reading with your child, the more beneficial it is to their early language and literacy development? While you may think reading books like The Hungry Caterpillar and Goodnight Moon are just cozy and nostalgic, they can also have a profound and positive impact on your toddler’s developing mind. Kids begin learning language well before they turn one year old and continue to build these skills with the support of their parents, grandparents, or caretakers. 

Storytime with a favorite book is an engaging and magical way for your child to build a strong language foundation and prepare them for school. There are endless benefits to creating an engaging storytime routine that kids can look forward to. Here we cover tips and strategies that will excite your child about reading, and make sure storytime is a valuable experience for everyone. 

Why is Storytime Important?

A mom is sitting on the couch and reading a book to her child. Story time, children books, books for kids, reading activities, educational activities for kids.

Spending one-on-one time reading with your child isn’t just warm and fuzzy—it’s great for their overall development and well-being. Getting lost in an adventure together is a fun learning experience for kids and they don’t even realize it! Here are some incredible benefits of stories for kids:

  • Creates Bonding Time: Reading a story with your child can provide an amazing bonding experience. Better than toys and material things, storytime creates memories that last a lifetime.
  • Sparks Imagination: Story time can fuel your child’s imagination. When listening to a story, they are transported to a different world, where they visualize imagery and embrace their creativity. This activity can encourage critical thinking to come up with unique solutions to problems. 
  • Promotes Brain Development: Story time plays a huge role in your child’s brain development. When children listen to stories, their brains work hard to create images and make connections from the text. These mental processes help children develop their cognitive and language skills and improve their memory, focus, and attention span. 
  • Builds Language and Literacy Skills: Talking and reading to your child helps build their vocabulary and language skills. Exposing children to a wide range of words during story time and using different tones and expressions can expand their language abilities and improve their communication skills. 
  • Enhances Listening Skills: When children listen to a story, they can learn to understand, remember, and retell it in their own words. Good listening skills can help children become good communicators.

Preparation for Storytime

A mom is sitting in a garden and reading a book to her child. Story time, children books, books for kids, reading activities, educational activities for kids.

A successful storytime session takes a bit of planning, but is easy to achieve! Here are several ways to prepare for storytime so your little one can get the most out of the experience. 

Start by finding a quiet space. Turn off the TV or radio and put your phone on silent so your child can focus. 

Props are a great way to engage your child with. Gather props, hats, or costumes to make funny stories come alive. Ask age-appropriate questions as you read and give your child time to think and answer or predict what will happen next. Make mistakes on purpose as you read aloud and let your child correct you.

Create a cozy reading space. Make storytime different from your regular read aloud routine by creating a designated space that includes a place for your little reader to sit, like a mat on the floor with cozy pillows and blankets. 

The Importance of Consistency

A mom is sitting on the bed and reading a book to her child. Story time, children books, books for kids, reading activities, educational activities for kids.

Reading is a lot like working out. You’ll see results in just a couple of months if you go consistently. But, if you only go once every 6 months, you’ll be sore, miserable, and still out of shape. It’s important for your toddler to consistently flex their reading muscle in order to grow their vocabulary and better prepare them for school.  

Taking time to read every day can make a huge difference in your child’s learning journey. A new study found that young children whose parents read them five books (suitable for their age) a day start kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to. Even kids who are read only one book a day will hear about 290,000 more words by age 5 than those who don’t regularly read books with a parent or caregiver. 

Consistent reading helps kids build bonds, vocabulary, and good habits. When reading is part of a bedtime routine for example, your child will take the lead in making sure this happens every night. Once your routine is established, you’ll find that reading out loud becomes as ingrained in your nightly routine as bath time or brushing teeth.

Tips for Organizing a Great Storytime

A mom is sitting on the dining table and reading a book to her child. Story time, children books, books for kids, reading activities, educational activities for kids.
  • Choose an Age-Appropriate Book: Children are developing at lightning speed between the ages of 0-5. Finding a book that suits their comprehension level will help them stay engaged longer. Cali’s Books offers plenty of options for children of all ages. For babies ages 0-2, try sound books like Humpty Dumpty, You Are My Sunshine, and The Wheels on the Bus. For toddlers ages 2-5, try sound books like Count, Colors, and Dinosaur Alphabet.

  • Eat Snacks Before Storytime: We love snacks! But they can be a messy distraction. Be sure to tackle the munchies before storytime to energize and excite little ones. Try to avoid snacks after storytime, so that they aren’t seen as a “reward” for reading. 

  • Make Sure to Participate: Wholehearted participation is an important step to prepare for a successful experience. Singing and dancing to “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” might feel silly, but watching adults is one of the best ways children learn. When a child sees their parent or caregiver clapping their hands along to, “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” they will start mimicking this behavior. Even if they don’t fully understand the concept at first, the connection will develop later. 

  • Create A Routine: Try to read a book every day and stick to a predictable schedule. This teaches children that reading is a regular part of their routine and an activity to look forward to.

  • Use Fun Voices: Don’t be afraid to get theatrical. Use funny voices for new characters, move around, and exaggerate facial features—this will help your little one envision the story better in their mind.

  • Encourage Their Participation: Ask your little reader questions as you read the book. Encourage them to predict what might happen next in the story to keep them engaged. Let them turn the pages themselves to take an active role in reading. 

  • No Distractions, Please: Be sure to put your phone on silent, turn off the TV or radio, and find a quiet space to read so your child can focus and listen to your voice. Eliminating background noise will help keep both of you in the moment. 

  • Repeat Familiar Words and Phrases: Repeating words and phrases will help your child learn new words and expand their vocabulary (the single greatest predictor of success when children begin formal learning).

  • Use Sound Effects: Movement is important for young children, so putting actions and sounds to words can keep your child engaged for longer. Making sound effects includes movement and creating sounds.

  • Connect the Story to Real Life: Reading helps your child develop empathy for the story’s characters, and connecting that story to real life helps them develop empathy for others. They will be able to understand other perspectives and circumstances, while also gaining a broader sense of the world around them.

  • Remember, it’s okay if your child cannot sit still to read sometimes. Let them wander around or take breaks while you read the book aloud. The consistent act of reading and establishing this daily activity is beneficial to your child—even when it feels like they’re not paying attention, kids are always listening and soaking up all the information around them. 

    Are you struggling to find a book your toddler will love for storytime? Cali’s Books has a growing library of stories kids love.

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    Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books

    Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books

    “I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”

    I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!

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