I admit it. I am a giant ham. I LOVE playing for laughs in storytime. There’s nothing better than making a child (or a parent!) giggle so hard they can’t stop. I am proud to say I made a preschool teacher laugh so hard at my performance of I Want My Hat Back that she cried. What more could a storytime provider want?
To that end, a colleague and I are presenting a short program to our fellow storytime presenters on integrating drama into your storytime. My co-presenter is a former drama teacher, so she’s going to talk more about drama games and other activities beyond the book, but I’m focusing on making picture book readings more dramatic.
We’ve narrowed dramatic readings down to two categories:
- “Playing the dummy,” i.e. pretending like you don’t know what’s going to happen (and asking obvious questions of the listener) and being very surprised/confused/angry/happy when the story resolves, or
- Using the text and/or illustrations for clues on how to read the story. For example, if a character looks like he’s crying, read the text in a sad voice. If the text is bolded, obviously that’s a word or phrase you need to emphasize. Use your body to mimic what the character is feeling or saying!
Here’s the list of books that really lend themselves to dramatic readings. I’m sure there are many, many more. Please share your favorites in the comments!
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
There’s a Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak
The Doghouse by Jan Thomas
A Splendid Friend Indeed by Suzanne Bloom
Harry Hungry by Stephen Salerno
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dykeman
Interrupting Chicken by David Stein
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker
Mortimer by Robert Munsch
Moo by David Larochelle
Banana! by Ed Vere
A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt