Notes from Story Time Category: Narrative

Let’s Play Make-Believe

princess-super-kittyWho likes to play pretend? One benefit of playing make-believe at home (besides being so fun) is that it encourages vocabulary and narrative skills, which are important pre-reading skills. The cool characters and settings that we see in picture books like Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Porter by can inspire new ideas for playtime.


Getting a Little Messy

mudMost children enjoy playing with dirt, sand, mud, water, and other materials with different textures, sounds, and smells. Such play develops the senses.  Ask your child questions about what he or she is doing?  How does it feel?  What does she smell?  What sounds can he make?  This will improve your child’s narrative and vocabulary skills.

–Tip by Keary Bramwell, Youth Collection Librarian

Talk About the Pictures

OrangutankaThis book has fantastic illustrations that contribute to the words in the book. As you read, talk about what is going on in the pictures and give your child time to respond back to you. By having this discussion and interaction with the book, you are helping your child increase vocabulary and narrative skills.
–Tip by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

The Seals on the Bus

The Seals on the BusThe hilarious picture book The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort repeats a lot of the same words. Stories and songs with repeating parts allow your child to more easily retell the things that happened in them, which increases narrative skills. In this book, we see different animals go onto the bus. After reading this book, can you tell why the LAST animal on the bus causes everyone to get off?

–Tip by Amy S., Youth Programming Assistant

Monster Talk

Monster, be Good!As you read Monster, Be Good! by Natalie Marshall, have your child tell the monster the phrase after you read it. Then when you are done, ask some questions like, “What would you say if someone gave you a present?” or “What do you say if you accidentally bump into someone?” When you ask your child questions, give them extra time to think and to answer you. Talking back and forth uses different parts of the brain, so it takes time for children to form their responses. This is a fun way to learn manners and narrative skills!

–Tip by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino

Too Tall HousesIn this story, Rabbit and Owl have a problem. Let’s find out what the problem is and if they are able to solve it.

Children enjoy talking about what they have read. It is a good way to engage them in conversation and for them to remember the story they have read. Ask your child questions before, during, and after reading. The ability to retell a story is an important skill to learn before going to school.

–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

Tweet! Tweet!

BirdsPractice telling and retelling stories. Try looking at some of the birds outside and talk with your child about what they are doing and what they look like. Then try making up stories about the birds in your neighborhood. This will help your child later to talk about what is happening in books.

–Tip by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist


Fractured Fairy Tales

Falling for RapunzelAs you read a story to your child, stop to discuss what is happening in the pictures and how they relate to the words of the story. When you ask your child questions about the story, give him or her time to think and answer you. By allowing time to process the story and retell what is happening, you will be practicing narrative skills. When you read different versions of fairy tales and fractured fairy tales, your child is learning different ways to tell stories.

–Tip by Laura B., Youth Technology Librarian

Stories Without Words

Moo!Wordless and almost wordless picture books are a fun way to get your child talking and improve their narrative skills. In Moo! by David LaRochelle, the word “moo” is one of the only words in the book. The pictures make the story. Read this book and have your child interpret what is happening based on the pictures and your expressions of the word “moo.” For more books like this, do a keyword search for “stories without words” in the Library catalog.

–Tip by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison


Pat-a-CakeSongs like “Pat-a-Cake” not only tell a story, they describe a sequence of events. Your baby hears the words and relates them to the actions. Like books, songs are a fun way to develop your little one’s expressive language and narrative skills.

–Tip by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison