Making Picture Books Come Alive – With Props at Home

How to Expand Literacy and Reading Picture Books
When You are Quarantined at Home

One of the mainstays of teaching children is reading aloud books.  Why?  Children are drawn to stories.  They love hearing the words, and for good reason.  Their brains are giant sponges, soaking up everything they hear.  Children can’t get enough when it comes to hearing a book read aloud.  Good books also create a loving bond between a child and the reader aloud.

When parents and teachers are armed with the knowledge that the number of words a child hears is directly attributed to his/her success in school in all academic areas, they should be reading aloud to children multiple times a day.  This is the single most important thing you can do for your child.

Libraries are closed.  Reading online isn’t quite the same thing.  After six weeks of no school and being stuck inside, the books you have at home may feel old and dull to your child.  But there are ways to bring your books to life in a different way.  A new way.  An exciting way.

  • Use props to play a story or favorite book.  Beanie Babies or Legos can be characters.  Blocks can become houses.  Does your child love Big Red Barn?  There are probably all the animal characters in your house, in some way.  Are you brave enough to use real eggs as props?
  • Act out the book.  An impromptu play performance is fun.  Children love play-acting.  Set the stage, find anything for a costume, and let your child tell and act out the book.
  • Recreate the cover of a favorite book, by posing for a photo.  Let your child’s creativity soar.  Can s/he pull together items from home to be like the cover of a favorite book?

Think about the many different ways children learn.  Some are visual and want to see the pictures.  Some are auditory and want to hear the words.  Some children need to have objects, plan and build.  If we can use what we have at home to make books come alive in a different way for all learners, we are deepening reading aloud.  We are giving children a great gift.

This video of The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
shows all the teachers doing different variations of the book.

The Aqua Room teachers picked their favorite books and used objects at home to create their favorite book covers.  Can you guess what books they are?

If you have young children or grandchildren, this is really fun to do.  It adds to the pleasure of picture books and reading aloud.  It makes those books come alive, once again.  So, pull out those old books, and recreate the cover.  This idea has been done with major pieces of art, dressing up and posing.  Now, children can delight in doing the same thing – with books.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in books, children's books, Early Education, Imagination, Inspiration, picture books, play performances, reading aloud, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Making Picture Books Come Alive – With Props at Home

  1. Opher says:

    Reading is the most important thing in the whole world!! (well almost!!)

  2. Ritu says:

    Love this. I often use props to make a story come alive!

  3. Darlene says:

    There are so many fun things you can do with kids! All great ideas. Love you and all the caps!!

  4. beetleypete says:

    Really well done, Jennie, all three of you. Such creativity and ingenuity. When you all go back to school, there will be so much to talk about regarding ‘lockdown’. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. Jim Borden says:

    what a great way to foster a love of reading!

  6. Dan Antion says:

    This made me smile, Jennie. You guys are great adults.

  7. quiall says:

    What a wonderful way to spark their imagination!

  8. Ha ha ha. This post made me laugh. What fun. The grandson is over this weekend while his mom works (a risk but we’re out of options). We’ll have to do some book-acting today and take pictures. Great ideas, Jennie.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m so glad you liked this, Diana. That will be so much fun to do with your grandson! Post the photos, and see who can guess the book.

  9. Marvelous Jennie! You guys are so creative.😁

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I may never think of you apart from that firefly again!

  11. You make a very expressive firefly, Jennie!

  12. petespringerauthor says:

    The magical thing about props is that some of the kids who are shy suddenly become performers when given these tools. I’ve seen that trick work time and time again with children.

  13. Awesome! Sharing… ❤

  14. Caps for Sale was one of my favourites when I was younger. Love the props 🙂

  15. Haha, Jennie, you teachers are awesome. I love your acting out. A great idea for sure.

  16. dgkaye says:

    Brilliant Jennie. And I’d vote for you to get the Academy Award for best performance. ❤

  17. Loved reading this, Jennie. No little ones but love the idea.

  18. I liked that book in Despicable Me with the three kittens. It had three finger puppets!

  19. Great advice, Jennie! Thank you so much! Hope you are well and stay save with yours. Best wishes, enjoy the weekend. Michael

  20. Pingback: WordPress Blogs I Follow - The List Post Chronicle

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