World Book Day activity ideas to help you Share a Story
Reading for pleasure is on the decline, but World Book Day wants to change that, and we do too! These fun activities and ideas will inspire you and your little ones to share a story this World Book Day and beyond.
The people behind World Book Day are encouraging us all to share a million stories! Any story counts, from picture books to audiobooks to graphic novels, as long as it’s shared with a child for at least ten minutes.
Research has shown that reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator for success in life, more than family circumstances, educational background or income. But reading for pleasure is on the decline, with Nielsen’s Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer Report 2018 showing that only 29% of children under thirteen read for pleasure daily, and fewer than 19% of children aged eight to ten are read to daily.
Teacher and author Muhammad Khan says, ‘Every story is a little gift waiting to delight both the author and the reader so sharing them increases everybody’s joy! A story may act as a ticket to another world, a thrilling adrenalin rush, a secret to be shared among friends, or a promise of great things to come. We understand our past, present and future from stories as well as our place in the world. They bring joy, tears, empathy and compassion and help us make the world a better place.’ We think so too, so we’ve put together a selection of ideas for fun activities to help you share a story with children of all ages this World Book Day and beyond.
World Book Day activity ideas for babies & toddlers
Picture books are a brilliant way to engage babies and toddlers in a story, and the more interactive they are, the better. Here are a few of our favourite picture books for babies and toddlers that you’ll end up reading together again and again. Visit your local library to discover lots more picture books for babies and toddlers which you can borrow - for free!
World Book Day activity ideas for children aged 3-5
Get creative with these Share a Story ideas for early readers.
Get creative with characters
Draw your own versions or colour in characters from your favourite stories as you read them together. Download these free printable colouring sheets, featuring woodland scenes and characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved picture book The Gruffalo here.
Download more printable activity sheets for children here.
Put on a show
Get your child to choose a favourite story and act out your own version of it at home. Make finger puppets or masks out of paper plates or cereal box cardboard, raid your dressing up box for costumes, or simply choose funny voices for each part and take turns at playing the different characters from the story. All you need is a favourite story or picture book and your imaginations - the possibilities are endless! Why not put on a performance of What the Ladybird Heard with this special World Book Day story play?
Write a story together
Use simple prompts to create your own story and then read it together. You could ask your child questions about their day or a special day out to create an account from their memories. Alternatively, create a totally new story using easy prompts to begin, for example: ‘There was a brave girl called . . . , who lived in a . . . ’ or ‘Today I went to . . . , and I saw . . . ’ keep going until you’re happy that it is finished. Once your story is complete, why not get your child to illustrate it and create a comic strip or storyboard which you can keep and read together in the future.
World Book Day activity ideas for children aged 6-8
These Share a Story prompts are great for more independent readers.
Design a dog's tale
Show children this video from World Book Day author Frank Cottrell Boyce and illustrator Stephen Lenton for activity ideas inspired by their new book, The Great Rocket Robbery. The pair encourage children to design their own dog character (inspired by the book's star, Laika) and share their story with their family and friends.
Embark on an adventure together
Making a story funny is a surefire way to keep kids engaged, and this activity is great for groups of all sizes - or even just two people. Start with a simple memory prompt, for example ‘I went to the shop, and I put in my basket . . .' or ‘For my holiday I packed in my suitcase . . .’, and take it turns to add an item, start with A and try to get all the way to Z. Try and think of the silliest things you can for each letter - and to get all the way through the alphabet without forgetting anything! For some extra writing practice, get children to write down the completed story and add illustrations of the items you talked about.
World Book Day activity ideas for children aged 9-12
Let older children take their favourite stories further with these Share a Story activity ideas.
Set older children the challenge to reimagine their favourite story as though they were really there and then share it with you. They could write an eyewitness account of what happened, a newspaper article, or even make a short video or vlog about what they saw and who they met.
Back and forth
Another excellent storytelling activity for groups of all sizes, this group writing exercise is bound to throw up some unique stories! Start with a blank piece of paper and a story prompt, and take it in turns to each write a sentence to keep the story going. The only rule is that you have to keep going until the page is full. Designate someone to read out the finished product at the end and discuss different ways that the story could have gone.
World Book Day takes place on 5th March 2020. For more information about the Share a Million Stories initiative, visit the World Book Day website.
Get more suggestions for how to get kids excited about reading, check out our top tips.