Props Aren’t Just For Actors

31 Jan

I try to make all my book reading an interactive experience for my students. I am always on the lookout for books with pull-tabs, pop-ups, or doors to open because kids can’t seem to resist them.  Another way to increase a child’s engagement with books is by providing visuals or props related to the story. For example, the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is a fan favorite with my preschoolers. Even without supplementary visuals, it is an engaging book, but by including puppets of each animal the book becomes more interesting and provides more opportunity for communication.

There are props for popular books available for purchase through various educational material companies but they can add up quickly when working with a limited budget. For that reason, I usually just print out pictures and make my own props. I used to spend hours searching for clip art that worked for the books that I have. Fortunately, I found a wonderful resource that has printable pictures that correspond with many of my favorite books. The website is:

I usually print out the pictures on cardstock to make them a little more durable. I turn the pictures of animals into puppets by taping a popsicle stick to the back or put velcro on the back so that the pictures can be put on a felt board. If you are trying to find books that are appropriate for 2-5 year olds with language delay or autism the selection of books they have in the “storybook patterns” section is a wonderful place to start.

A few goals that can be worked on when including props with book reading:

  • Requesting (either verbally or gesturally)
  • Commenting (“Look!”, “I have the blue horse”, showing the picture to a peer or adult)
  • Answering “wh” Questions (“Who has the green frog?”, “Where is the white dog?”)

Take some time clicking around the other areas on because there is lots more than just pictures for stories available. There are some great printable activities and flashcards among other things.


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