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Read Aloud Activities

Before, during, and after reading to children, it is important to have conversations about the book.  This includes asking questions, making comments, and pointing out new vocabulary words.  By making personal connections to a book, the children will become better engaged, curious, and connected with a story.  Children who talk about the stories understand the stories better.

Gift Book Discussion Prompts:

Ideas for enhancing the read-aloud experience can be found below. Click the links to learn about additional activities & discussion prompts you can implement when sharing the Ready Readers gift books:

2014-2015 Gift Book Discussion Prompts

Who’s Who?

Goodnight St. Louis

Dinosaur, Dinosaur (for our 2s)

Goodnight Moon (for our 2s)

Hickory Dickory Dock

One Duck Stuck

One Duck Stuck & Pat-a-Cake (for our 2s)

Tap the Magic Tree

Giraffes Can’t Dance

Bear in a Square (for our 2s)

Cleo’s Counting Book (for our 2s)

Look and Learn: Dogs (summer 2015)

2013-2014 Gift Book Discussion Prompts


Caps for Sale

First Day of Winter

Little Quack’s New Friend

Step Gently Out

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (board book for 2s)

Little Quack Loves Colors (board book for 2s)

How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday? (board book for 2s)

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? (Summer 2014)

The Tiny Seed (Summer 2014)


2012-2013 Gift Book Read Aloud Activities (includes the titles below)

  • How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Dogs?
  • White Rabbit’s Color Book
  • Whoever You Are
  • The Pout Pout Fish
  • Three Little Pigs
  • Bear Snores On
  • A Children’s Treasury of Poems
  • Ten Little Caterpillars
  • Elmer

2011-2012 Gift Book Read Aloud Activities (includes the titles below)

  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
  • The Little Engine That Could
  • The Neighborhood Sing-A-Long
  • Jamaica’s Find
  • Growing Vegetable Soup
  • The Doorbell Rang


  • Dog & Cat Books With Activities:

During the past three summers, high school students from the St. Louis Public Schools have served as interns in the PAL (Pet Advocate Leaders) program at Nestle Purina Petcare.  We are proud to have this group of spunky young volunteers reading weekly and sharing the importance of developing a love of reading again this summer at Kingdom House, Guardian Angel, St. Nicholas Preschool, and Meramec Head Start.  The interns read 2-3 books a week about dogs and cats, sing pet-related songs, and teach the children how to approach animals, pet them, and take care of them.  This seven-week pet-related preschool curriculum, developed by Early Childhood Literacy Specialist, Julia Auch, is available by clicking here.

  • Health-Related Books with Activities:

Each year, more than 60 St. Louis College of Pharmacy students read weekly for Ready Readers.  Dr. Amy Tiemeier of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy along with Ready Readers Executive Director, Lisa Greening, wrote eight health units including great read-aloud suggestions and activities. For a copy of these units that include a book list and activities about sleep, brushing your teeth, exercise, your body, nutrition, taking care of me, and feelings, download the Preschool Health Literacy Units.


  • Ready Readers’ all-time five favorite reading-related activities:

1.     Start a conversation.

Before reading a book, ask the children to predict the story line.  After finishing the story, have a dialogue with the children about the story. Great dialogue starters may include:

  • “Why do you think the character did…?”
  • “Have you ever…?”
  • “What if…?”

For more information about great conversations to have with children when reading aloud, we recommend the book, Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read.

 2.     Watch snow melt. 

Susan Darcy, one of our veteran readers, presented a workshop last year about her top ten favorite books and reading-related activities.  Click here for Sue’s top ten books.

Sue’s favorite book, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert, is also one of our favorites! Sue wrote: “This story seems so simple on the surface but has many wonderful concepts.   It is about building a snow family on a snowy day…but then the sun comes out and they melt away…and they weren’t really made of snow anyway!

Sue’s reading-related activity:  “I wait until it snows to read this book.  I bring in a snow ball and put it on a plate while I read the story.  The children get to watch the snowball melt and become water.  I also bring in a small hand mirror and have them breathe on it so they can see ‘steam.’  The end of this book also has some real photos of snow people in case the younger children have never seen a snowman.  A few pages from the end is a page with all the items used to make the snow family.   I have the children guess which item belongs to each snow person.  The ‘plus’ book that I use along with Snowballs is Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick.   This is another sweet snowman story with photographs instead of illustrations.”

3.     Move, move, move. 

Preschool children love to dance, jiggle, and move around.  After reading From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, have the children stand and act out the story while you reread it.  Read books like the Itsy Bitsy Spider or Wheels on the Bus and then sing the song with the hand motions.

4.     All about fruit.

Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Discuss the names of the fruits in the book.  Bring in a fresh apple, plum, orange, pear, and strawberry.  Pass the fruits around so that the children can touch them.  Ask the children to stand if their favorite fruit is an apple, then stand if their favorite fruit is a plum, etc. until all are standing.  Continue the lesson by reading, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear.

5.     Alphabet Fun.

After reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, sing the alphabet song together as a group.  Another favorite alphabet book is ABC T-Rex.  After reading ABC T-Rex, veteran volunteer reader Debbie Keenan, gave each child a small magnetic letter of the alphabet, and when she said the letter the child stood and repeated the letter.  This is a great way for children to really feel and manipulate letters.

Help us add your best reading-related activity ideas to the site! Email Julia Auch at julia@readyreaders.org or visit the Ready Readers Facebook Page.