The Bridge School
Course of Study

Story Time Example


Targeted Grade Level Preschool, Elementary
Curricular Area area
Activity Type type
Theme theme
Summary Summary


Description/overview of Storytime as an instructional strategy, how it can be used in various lessons.

Instructional Plan

The Instructional Plan:

  • outlines step by step procedures for implementation,
  • includes sample of how to pace activity over a week,
  • and describes staff roles during implementation of the lesson.

The instructional routine for Story Time:

  • Teacher announces: "It's Story Time" or has the children indicate from the daily schedule what comes next.
  • Children are positioned around teacher on the rug in their chairs, seated on a beanbag or in their walkers.
  • Teacher has a copy of book on an easel so all children can see. Props and 'Story-friend' puppet are contained in bin or basket and brought out as needed.
  • Teacher invites children to call 'Story-Friend'. The teacher uses a puppet that we call 'Story-friend' to help children orient and focus on pictures, objects, actions during the large group activity and to enlist children to perform tasks, answer questions in a playful way ("Let's show Story-friend the picture"; "Tell Story-friend what the Fire dog says"; "Show Story-friend what Dot the Firedog wears").

Day 1

  • Teacher shows new book, making sure that each child has an opportunity to examine it, while pointing out illustrations on the cover. The title of the book and the author are introduced. (Photo or video of introduction of new book)
  • Teacher builds on prior learning by providing an opportunity for each child to share their individual experiences. For example, the teacher might say, "This book is Dot the Fire Dog. Does anyone here know about dogs? (look for raised hands, interest and remind the class if a student has a dog at home they have already introduced to the class). When the book is chosen to relate to a specific theme or topic the class has been studying, the questions can reference the children's shared experiences. "We played fire fighters today and we wore fire hats like that!; Who liked playing firefighter?; What did you play with? (offer props: fire hose, fire truck, fire hat) Does anyone here know about firefighters?" Teachers read notes and show photos from families related to children's experiences with this topic.
  • Teacher shows and labels pictures in the book as in a 'Picture Walk'. Prior to reading the book, the teacher guides the children through a picture walk where they look and talk about the pictures in the book. This gives the children a chance to think about what the book may be about before reading. It is also a time to connect high interest and relevant content from the book to the children's life experiences.
  • The Teacher introduces props to link picture with objects, and highlights actions involving object.
  • The teacher briefly introduces characters in the story: including words, phrases, sayings associated with the character (focus on repeated lines) and models characters' actions,
  • Teacher provides opportunity for children to tell some dialogue (fun words, repeated lines) as teacher and helper turn the pages.

Day 2

  • Teacher reads story from the beginning.
  • Children are given an opportunity to take the role of a story character or teacher chooses a role for each child: See simple plan with "Dot The Fire Dog" story. (Link to reference.)
  • Provide several opportunities for each child to take a turn in their role. (Need video to illustrate how our students participate)
  • Use focused strategies to teach new words so children attend to and remember them:
    • Stress new vocabulary words by introducing
      • before reading the book (Story-friend is thinking about ____),
      • during reading (Look Story-friend, it's a _____),
      • after reading (Story-friend forgot, what was that word? ___ or _____, ask child to pick).
    • Show the meaning of the word: use illustrations, props, facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice to add information
    • Relate new words to experiences and other known words and situations
    • Say target words again and again.

Days 3-4

Read book slowly and at key points, stop and model asking questions, sharing comments. Encourage children to join in, asking: "Who else wants to know? Who is that? Who else is thinking 'Uh-oh' ____?." Then provide opportunity for children to share, comment or ask a question with AAC tools. (Need video) Continue to model and encourage children to relate content to something they know.

Offer the children opportunities:

  • To interact with story. Encourage pretending by acting out a section of the story. If a book is really a hit, children may also choose to enact the story when in dramatic play center. (Need photos of children in this activity, especially if they have costumes, props related to book)
  • To use AAC displays to tell new vocabulary words, including using actions and gestures, objects, as well as pictures.
  • To predict what will happen next. Teacher may provide choices.
  • To identify characters feelings.
  • To use AAC tools to share information, direct partner, request and participate in story reading routine. Children love to say" The End". (Need video of this from multiple children, using different tools to say it)

Reader's Theatre

At the end of the week the children participate in a Reader's Theater where they have a chance to act out part of the book. The teacher announces that it is time for Reader's Theater where they get to be actors. Three high interest parts of the book are presented and students choose what part they want to play and then pick a costume from the classroom costume rack. (Include a picture here of the costume rack with a child picking a costume). Sometimes multiple children will play the same role. Children can also choose to be the narrator, or the person who tells/reads the part of the story. The teacher may encourage students to look at the illustrations in the book when choosing what role to play or what props to use. Students have a chance to practice acting out the part of the book, then they call Storyfriend to come be in the audience. Other adults can be asked to sit in the audience if the students choose. The children go "onstage" and act out the part of the book. When they finish the audience claps and everyone takes a bow. (Reader's Theater is a little hectic looking getting ready, but maybe we could film parts of it and put it together, or at least splice the parts together- teacher announces, students pick a part to act out, students pick a costume, students practice, students perform, students take a bow- and cut out the extra stuff).

Roles and Responsibilities

This chart is an example of activities, roles and responsibilities assumed during StoryTime.

Roles Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
The students play an active role in StoryTime by answering questions, relating concepts and experiences to their knowledge and skill base, naming objects, repeating familiar words and repetitive lines in the story, and acting out roles or actions of the characters. Teacher takes children on a picture walk of the book being introduced. Teacher builds on prior learning by providing an opportunity for each child to share their individual experiences.
Families often send in photos of experiences for children to share. Teachers compile photos in beginning communication books. Teachers look for opportunities for children to share at specific times such as dramatic play centers, sharing time, writers workshop and story time. In story time we often model " ______ knows about that" and cue children to share when they have something related to the topic or theme to share.

Teachers read Dot the Fire Dog during the Community Helpers theme. Teachers draw attention to the dog who lived at the fire station. Teachers asks, "Who knows about dogs?" This photo shows 3 different low-tech communication books from 3 children who had pets. Teachers encouraged them share about their dogs and things their dogs do.

These photos were sent in for Sharing Time with a pumpkin to share. Teachers were able to refer to this child's experience during the Fall Harvest theme when teachers read the story Apples and Pumpkins.

Sharing using Complex SGDs:

Children also trial complex SGDs in Story Time. Teachers input photos from home and record digitized messages or program contents into devices.

Example of a child's personal photo imported into customized page on complex SGD, A DynaVox V/Max.

Example of a customized page with general vocabulary for participating in story time routine. The 2nd button says "I know about that! let me show you one of my stories!", then links to a page with the child's relevant personal photo and story.

Teacher reads the book pointing out characters, repeated lines, phrases and words Teacher continues to read or re-read the book reinforcing concepts, language and actions Teacher and students act out the story or act out specific pages. Pay particular attention to when characters are introduced, the problem situation (house on fire-cat lost) and the solution. Ask children to identify their favorite part? Their favorite character?
Props (Jet) Show and pass out props, try them on when named in story:
  • Helmet
  • Jacket
  • Hose
  • Fire engine
Hold up prop when named Point out match to graphic symbol/picture Pass out for firefighters
Sound Effects (Adam) Play specific sounds for all to hear, the _____ says:
  • Fire bell
  • Fire engine siren
  • Firedog-woof
  • Kitten-meow
Activate switch to play sound when cued in story

Children gain experience telling other parts of a story, such as playing sound effects using simple SGD, like this CheapTalk 8, recorded with names of the animal and animal sound.

This child plays recorded sound effects during story reading using an iPad with the Sounding Board App.

Activate switch to play sound Select sound given 2 choices
Story friend (Jackie) Hold Story-friend; help show Story-friend the pictures Hold Story-friend; show Story-friend pictures and label vocabulary words Hold Story-friend; help Story-friend ask questions: What's that? Play a part
Characters (Abigail) Hold up dog and tell repeated line: "Go Dot Go" Listen for Dot's name activate switch to tell repeated line;

Children learn to actively participate in interactive story time activities by telling repeated lines using simple SGD with single messagel. Preschool children often use Big Mac or Step By Step switches to tell repeated lines as they are introduced to the StoryTime routine.

if it's about Dot, show dog to everyone
Same Pick a part to play