Engaging Children During Story Time

Summer, for me, is a quiet time with fewer book signing events, but not this year. I have three opportunities to share my books with children. There is only one thing that can make or break the event – engaging children during story time. If you are like me, you want to ensure that story time is fun and engaging. As a former classroom teacher I have a few strategies to share with you.

Engaging Children During Story Time

Keep it short and sweet

In most cases you will be introduced by the event leader. If you want to engage the children it is important to keep your introduction to the book brief. You can begin with an interesting fact or you can ask the children a question about the illustration on your book cover.

Slow down

The most important thing you can do is take your time and try not to rush through the story. We as readers need to slow our pace because not all children will process the words and illustrations at the same rate. If the children seem restless, you can pause and wait or keep reading at the same pace.

Engage them

Watch the children’s reactions and engagement levels while you are reading. Encourage engagement by stopping several times while you are reading. Let the children tell you what they see in the illustrations, are there clues as to what might happen next? You can also have them retell the story so far and predict what might happen next.

Visual cues

Make sure that all of the children can see the illustrations clearly as you read the book. Use a book display or hold the book at an appropriate angle for everyone to enjoy the visuals. I invite the children to sit close to me during the reading to ensure they can all see the illustrations.

Use expression

You don’t need to have aced drama class to do this one! Mix up your facial expressions, make eye contact, and use body language. Hold up the book in one hand and use the other for gestures. Bring to life all of the characters and emotions in the story.

Do the voices

How did the Wolf sound when he vowed to blow down the little pigs house? Or what about the witch with the poison apple? It doesn’t matter how bad you think you are, children will love your efforts to make every character sound unique. I will admit, this one takes some practice.

Don’t forget the Q & A

At the end of the story I like to have one child retell the story and then I will ask if there are any questions. Children always have questions about the story, the characters or you as a writer. This is always one of my favorite parts of story time.

Have fun and enjoy

Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy sharing your story with children. Showing children how great it is to read will help them grow into a confident readers. I love to read and share my books. Children are open, honest and will tell you what they think about your story. This is valuable information for writing your next story. Children inspire me and I often get ideas for new stories from them.


If they want to explore the environment or play quietly then I say let them. They’re still benefiting from hearing the words being read aloud. Now if they’re acting out, having a tantrum or being disruptive to others then stop reading and enlist the help of their parent or event leader.

Thoughts …

I hope you find these strategies helpful and use them at your next story time. If you use any of these strategies, please let me know which ones helped you the most.

Important Note

I will be taking a break from this blog next week to celebrate July 4th! For those of you celebrating, Happy Independence Day!

With gratitude …

I am glad you’re here. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you. It is an endless journey of learning and growing. A journey that I am enjoying. 

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