Large Group Activities: Story Time

Large Group Teaching Strategies

What is the role of the teacher during large group teaching? How can you implement developmentally appropriate experiences for all children?  Learn how to design developmentally appropriate large group experiences and techniques to keep children actively engaged in large group activities including Circle Time, Storytime, and Music and Movement. READ: Large Group Spaces & Routines

What are Large Group Experiences?

Large group experiences are when all the children come together for a group activity at one time. Large group experiences are wonderful ways for preschoolers to enhance their social skills, build attention span and nurture a sense of community. Children often learn by observing their peers interact and solve problems. 

There are typically three different types of large group experiences in preschool classrooms including Circle Time, Story Time and Music and Movement. Experience Early Learning provides resources and lessons daily to help you guide Circle Time, Story Time and Music and Movement experiences.

In multi-aged groups, large group experiences allow children to practice teamwork and leadership skills.  

Story Time Routines

Read, read, read and read some more to children! Books are a primary tool that you can use to build literacy skills. Storybooks are a great tool to host a quick group time multiple times throughout the day. You may want to grab a book when you go outside to play and then gather on the grass before coming back inside for a quick read-aloud. Or calm your group before nap time with eyes closed to see ‘pictures in our head’ read aloud. Stories while waiting for families to pick up are perfect for multi-age settings. There are many ways that you can investigate books with children.  Here are four ways to bring stories into your daily routine:

  1. Predict with Pictures: Introduce the book and Read-Aloud
  2. Read, Repeat and Recall
  3. Retell the story with props 
  4. Imagine what’s next

How to use these four ways:

  1.   Predict with Pictures: Look at the pictures on the cover and investigate the book with children the first time you read it. Ask children to predict what will happen in the story and pause to explain new or unfamiliar words to help build vocabulary.
  2. Read, Repeat and Recall: Read a variety of books to your children.  Expose them to repetition and rhymes.  It is important to expose your children to a variety of books: select eight-ten featured books for the month to read and repeat over the coming weeks to help children experience the fullness of each story.
  3. Retell with Props or Actions:  Reread and retell a book one or two days later. Kids love repetition and it helps build more understanding about the story.  You can turn the pages of the book and have the child tell you what’s happening. Give them pictures, puppets or other props to use to retell the story.  Invent actions for different parts of the story, act these out in order of the story.
  4. Imagine what’s next:  Help children think beyond the story and rewrite it. Provide a variety of activities such as encouraging them to revise the story by changing events or characters or using props. A child can change simple facts (e.g., what a character eats) in the story or even change the story’s ending. By using props, the child can act out the new story and imagine new endings.

In review, your role during story time is to read, retell, and rewrite:

  • Read to your children every day
  • Offer props to help children retell
  • Encourage children to rewrite the story using their imagination