How to Use Participation Stories in Your Preschool Program

What Are Participation Stories?

Participation Stories are Small Group Literacy activities for preschoolers that focus on listening skills. The stories may also include gross motor skills like the Tracks in the Snow story. Children listen to the story and participate with movement, holding up cards or making movements.

Discuss & Explore

Introduce the Participation Story with a question. How would you feel if you saw bear tracks? What would you do?

Participation Story Directions

  • Tape a large circle on the floor.
  • Children walk on the circle as you read the story aloud.
  • Lay down an animal track card when prompted.
  • Place the animal’s photo next to the animal track card.
  • continue moving around the circle and hop, run, or tiptoe depending on the nearest animal track card.

Simplify or Challenge

Adjust the activity to simplify it or make it more challenging depending on the needs of your group. To simplify: Spread the animal cards on the floor away from each other. Encourage the child to walk around and find a card. Say the name of the animal.

To make it more challenging: Set out the cards, props, puppets, or stuffed animals and invite the children to retell the story in their own words.


Does the child listen to the story and respond to the prompts appropriately?

Extend the Learning

Encourage emerging literacy skills by placing the Participation Story in an area easily accessible to the children, such as a pocket chart, library, or literacy center.

Try a Participation Story

Download the Snow Tracks Participation Story. The FREE DOWNLOAD includes Snow Tracks Story and Snow Tracks Cards.

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