How to be a better storyteller

Most young children enjoy being read to by a grown-up. Whether it's just before they fall asleep or snuggled up together when it's raining, the act of storytelling is often the first interaction children have with books. This simple activity will encourage children to engage with books and develop a love of reading for the rest of their life.

With such busy lives, any form of reading you do together is amazing, however, if you feel like you need a bit of advice on where to start or how to get better, here's some direction and inspiration...

1. Let your child choose

If you're new to storytelling, choose a story you are familiar with such as a classic tale. If you're really stuck for ideas, let your child decide so you know they'll enjoy it. We have loads of classic stories and original fact-fuelled fiction to choose from if your home library needs an update.

2. Use a simple structure

If you want to invent your own story, stick to a traditional structure. Create a setting and characters, develop a turning point/complication, and then resolve this at the end. The main character could be your child!

3. Talk about the book

Relate the story to your child's everyday life. If it's a picture book with lots of illustrations, make connections to things they might have seen so that they can gain a better understanding of the story.

4. Break up the story

Whether it's a story from a book or one from your head, let the plot develop over a period of time and don't give too much away. Leave it on a cliff hanger so that your child looks forward to story time. 

5. Role play

Let your child take on the role of one of the characters. They will enjoy being involved in the story and you can encourage each other to really go for it with voices and actions. The easiest way to do this is let them roar like a dinosaur, squeak like a mouse or blub-blub like a sea creature! 

6. Engage the senses

If you're making up your own story you can instantly provide a better storytelling experience by referring to the senses. This will help your child get lost in their imagination. For example: 'Can you imagine the smell of the hot volcano and the noise it makes when it erupts?'.

7. Use props to help

If you struggle to use your imagination and visualise the action, have a look around the house to see if you can find objects that will help bring the story to life. Anything will work – a sock for a tail, a plate for a steering wheel and a cardboard tube for a telescope!

8. Ask questions

Take on the role of third-party observer too and pause the story to ask them questions. Ask your child what they think is going to happen next or why they think the character did something. If your child struggles to answer, make your questions easier and recall what has happened or ask questions about the illustrations.

9. Retell the story

Go back to the same story at some point in the future. You will be confident in telling this story the second time around and your child will enjoy testing what they can remember.

Take a look at our Fiction and Story Books, including adventures about dinosaurs, jungle animals and ghost stories, as well as traditional tales.


For some extra reading:

The School Run:


Action for Children:


3+ years
My Fairytale Time Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Sale price £4.99 Regular price £6.99 Save £2
The image shows the front cover of a picture storybook called Seb the Seahorse. The book is published by Miles Kelly, written by Catherine Veitch and illustrated by Sophia Touliatou. The cover illustration shows a cute yellow seahorse among some seaweed and anemones looking down at a happy little fish.
The image shows two facing pages from inside the picture storybook, Seb the Seahorse. The full colour scene shows Seb with some other sea creatures on the sandy seafloor. There are fish, crabs, worms and coral. Seb is holding onto a strand of seaweed with his little tail.
Seb the Seahorse
Sale price £4.99 Regular price £6.99 Save £2
3+ years
My Fairytale Time Little Red Riding Hood
Sale price £4.99 Regular price £6.99 Save £2