Monday, January 9, 2012

Story stretchers

Here are 50 neat ways of expanding story time beyond just reading a book together. Some of these are generalized from Story Stretchers (which has great specific ideas for dozens of popular kids' books like Where The Wild Things Are, Corduroy, Runaway Bunny and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). Use one for (almost) every week of the year!

Let me know your own ideas...I'd love to get this list up to 100.
  1. Echo short or repeated lines.
  2. Recall and discuss feelings or emotions the characters or reader experienced during the story.
  3. Read or echo dialogue in different kinds of voices.
  4. Talk about changes from the beginning of the book to the end.
  5. Make a rebus to retell the story (substituting simple pictures for key words).
  6. Draw a picture of your favorite part of the story and write about it.
  7. Come up with an alternate or expanded ending to the story and draw or write it.
  8. Act out scenes from the book. Try pantomime, puppets or costumes.
  9. Read books in a setting similar to the one in the story.
  10. Role play a made-up scene as characters from the book.
  11. Use blocks to build an important set piece from the story (a castle, tree house, school bus, etc.).
  12. Act out each strong action word as it's read.
  13. Predict what's going to happen on each page before you read the story (can do this before you turn the page or once kids can see pictures).
  14. Make a snack or meal inspired by the book.
  15. Make a book cover for the book. Include a summary and recommendation quote for the book. Older kids can research the author and include a short bio.
  16. Pick an important object from the story (like flowers, a particular food or hats) and go on a hunt for them. 
  17. Talk about a lesson from the book and brainstorm an activity to practice it (e.g., for sharing, make a snack to share with a sibling; for friendship, invite a friend for a playdate).
  18. Use a flannel or felt board to retell the story.
  19. Make a mask or hat to represent a character from the book.
  20. Use your computer or phone to make a recording of the book.
  21. Make up or sing a song from or related to the story. 
  22. Make a collage about the story.
  23. Find all the things in the book that are similar to the child's life, school, family, etc. Talk about the things that are different. 
  24. Draw a comic strip to retell the story.
  25. Make copies of each page and have child sequence them.
  26. Make a card for a character in the book (birthday, congratulations, get well soon).
  27. Write a poem inspired by the story.
  28. Retell the story to dolls or stuffed animals.
  29. Get 5-10 items representing things from the book and play "what's missing?" or hide them and play "hot and cold."
  30. Build a fort and read by flashlight.
  31. Read outside on a blanket or in a hammock.
  32. Take photos and make a photo story retelling the book or representing a theme from the book.
  33. Write a letter to someone telling them about the book.
  34. Host a party for a character. Make an invitation, decorations and snacks. 
  35. Brainstorm some questions to ask the main character.
  36. Write or draw a sequel to the story.
  37. Research something interesting (a country, animal, time period, etc.) from the book.
  38. Make a timeline of the story. Write or draw it on butcher paper, or put events on index cards and sequence them by hanging them on clothespins. 
  39. Make a matching game with pictures from the book. 
  40. Make a puzzle from a copy of the cover.
  41. Copy pages and lay out on ground with masking tape in between. Tip toe on the tape and retell story as you go.
  42. Try to mimic the style of illustration in the book (watercolors, torn paper, line drawings, etc.).
  43. Have the child close their eyes and imagine the book as you read it the first time. Then look at the pictures and talk about what was similar to your imagined scenes and what was different.
  44. Provide background noises as the book is read (like birds chirping for a forest scene).
  45. Pick something (noses, balls, a particular word) and count how many appear in the book. Or, make a simple graph based on counting the frequency of different kinds of things.
  46. Bury objects representing things in the story in sand or rice, and go digging. Or, magnetize the items and use a magnet to pull them out. 
  47. Play "I spy" while reading.
  48. Make a clay or Play-Dough sculpture inspired by the book.
  49. Clap, stomp or jump to the rhythm of a rhyming or poetic book.
  50. Take a field trip related to the book.
  51. Make a clay model (idea from I Can Teach My Child)
  52. Have family or friends record story to listen to ((idea from I Can Teach My Child)
  53. Recreate the story with stickers (idea from Play at Home Mom)

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