This is a post out of the 31 Days of Morning Circles. You can find the main page for this series here.
The natural progression after introducing story-time is sharing a story in the morning circle. Even though you might share additional stories/books throughout the day, the story shared in the morning circle should be unique.
I like to choose one or two stories/books each month to use exclusively in the morning circle. One or two means that I retell or reread the same story each morning over a span of several weeks.
While this might seem mundane, it’s one of the most beneficial ways to engage the child in the story. On the first day, they might not show much interest. But, after several days of hearing the same verses or words or pattern of words, the learner will start to anticipate certain parts. They may even participate in the actions or signs you use.
Ideas for sharing a story in the morning circle
- Keep the storytelling or book-sharing short—it will be more powerful than forcing the child to listen to a long story in its entirety.
- Select stories with a simple beginning, middle, and end when starting (you want success in the circle, not frustration)
- Use a visual story strip to sequence the story (an image representing the beginning, middle, and end of the story; or, if it’s a cumulative story, an image representing each new part/character, etc.)
- Select stories that incorporate action verbs (pull, push, etc.) and exaggerate the movements
- Select stories that reinforce theme/monthly vocabulary
- Don’t ask questions (no testing of comprehension—storytelling in the circle is purely for the joy of literacy)
- Use ASL or AAC to accompany the story
- Use one or two props (puppets, a scarf, etc.)—don’t overpower the story with props, however.
- If it’s possible, occasionally memorize a story and tell it from memory
- Encourage the child to hold the book (to teach right-side up) and to turn the pages
- Some days, point to the words you are reading—exaggerating the pointing
- Intentionally leave out or change a predictable part of a story and watch for the child’s reaction
- After you’ve introduced two stories in a month, have the child choose which one they want to hear today
How do you share stories in your morning gathering?