My father had one story from his childhood that he loved to tell. It was a simple story about him harnessing his horse, Topsy, to the wagon, loading the wagon with milk cans, and riding into town to the dairy with his dog, Jack. What the children loved was the interaction; they could go "clippety clop: as Topsy clattered down the road, and "bow wow wow wow" as Jack asked for a treat. Grandpa told the story many times to his grandchildren, and they even told it at his memorial service, even though they were all adults by then.
Children love interactive stories, particularly kindergarten and first graders who are just beginning to read for themselves. A new book, Born Reading, by Jason Boog, published by Touchstone just this week, has a great list of interactive story books that children love. I heartily recommend his book to you if you have young children.
Here is how to read a book interactively. Read it to the child first, then read it again having the child help you make the sounds or cry out the important words. Finally, hand the book to the child and watch him/her read it aloud even if they can't read yet.
I had this experience this week. I read No! David! by David Shannon to my granddaughter. It is an almost wordless story of a toddler who is always doing something naughty. I changed David to Davick, which is her toddler brother's name. She thought it was the funniest thing ever, because, of course, we are always saying No! to Davick. Although she is only three, she soon was reading the whole book herself, pointing to the word No! Then she wanted me to read it to her again, only this time she was the one being scolded. it was so much fun!
Here is Boog's list of great interactive books from his book Born Reading.
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and James Dean. A groovy cat teaches kids how to cope with life's little problems. You can find several songs and some other activities at this website.
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison. Lots of music on a trip to the park.
Can You Make a Scary Face by Jan Thomas. Children make funny faces to match the story. Here are some activities to do as follow-up.
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. Children imitate and complete a series of exercises.
Press Here by Herve Tullet. Touch the pages, shake the book, and blow on the pages.
Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson. This fun book has you tapping it, shaking it, jiggling it, and blowing it a kiss.
Don't Push the Button by Bill Cotter. A bit of reverse psychology.
It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle. Lots of noisy animal sounds.
Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee. A horse carries animals around the barnyard. A story you can reenact with your kids.
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. A pesky pigeon wants to take the bus for a joyride, but your child will love to tell him to stop!
I am indebted to Jason Boog for this list of books. He has a wonderful website that is filled with lists of books and activities for children. You can access it here. The books can all be found at the library or your local bookstore.