Aim for a 20-minute story time each day with your child.

Story Time Ideas for Preschoolers

by Rebecca Bagwell

Reading "The Hungry Caterpillar" 100 times may not make you Mother of the Year, but by the time you reach 100, you'll still be able to recite it from memory. Reading to your preschooler is important for your little one's emergent reading skills and vocabulary. The Reading Children's Foundation recommends reading 20 minutes a day with your child. Incorporate some fun story time ideas to help your child learn more from books

1. Animal Stories

Story time is more effective when children can touch props. While you read an animal story like "Good Luck, Bear," bring out a stuffed animal to read along. Your preschooler can make the animal go through the motions. Watch her face light up as she lets her stuffed animal give answers to your questions about the story. Spend time making animal noises and look up facts about the animal to expand on the story. Kids this age can learn about habitats, tracks, predators and diet about animals, all of which really fosters a love of learning.

2. ABC Story Time

Read a favorite book like "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" to reinforce the alphabet with your preschooler. Use story time as a way to observe the letters around you. Play ''I Spy'' and sing the ABC song and "Bingo" to highlight letters, too. A children's dictionary can be fun to browse through during story time. See if your child can match the letter you are reading about to a magnetic letter on the refrigerator. If your child feels confident recognizing letters, start focusing on the sound the letter makes.

3. Become an Author

Engage your little boy's imagination by helping him write his own book. Read stories about children's authors. Stimulate his imagination by asking him questions. What does it take to be an author? How does an author get ideas? Give him several blank pages stapled together and ask him to make a story in pictures. Write captions above his pictures and present him with the storybook he's just made. Also, you can print out pictures of a well-loved story like Cinderella, and write down your child's version as she dictates it. Read several versions of the same story to see how other authors made the story their own.

4. Around the World

Open up the world to your preschooler during story time. Find books on different cultures to read. African folk stories based on the spider Anansi appeal to preschoolers and usually have a moral attached to them. Children also enjoy fairy tales from around the world and can learn a good deal about culture from them. Play international music and perhaps even find an easy recipe to try foreign food. While preschoolers enjoy reading about kids like them, they also like to see how other people live.

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