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Storytime Picture Cards

Storytime was a fun and special part of the bedtime ritual in our house. My children loved it! But as I finished one story, my children would already be seeking the next story or chanting "read it again!". It is a special bonding time as well as benefitting their literacy development.

Over the years, I began creating ways for my children at home (and in my classroom) to use picture cards to make our storytime more interactive. I wanted my children to play with a story and gain a deeper understanding of the story elements. I began using picture cards of items from the story along with the book. I stored the picture cards in a paper CD sleeve (envelope). (I glue the CD sleeve to the inside of the front cover of the book, and place the picture cards inside.) The picture cards are easily kept with the related story as needed. You may choose to laminate the picture cards or print them on heavier cardstock paper for longer use.

Here are some ideas:

Sequence Story Cards

First, I create picture cards with items from the story at After we read the story, I pull out the picture cards and we look at the pictures together. My child names the pictures on each card (promoting language development). Then we begin to sequence and retell the story using the pictures as cues. For a younger child, we reread the book matching the story picture cards and maybe even predicting which picture card will come next in the book.

Pancakes for Breakfast


The Little Red Hen


Some more great books to sequence include:


Using Board Books

After printing related picture cards, I laminate the cards or attach them to carboard sqaure to make the cards stronger for young fingers to manipulate. I add velcro on the back of each card and on the corresponding pages in the board book. When my child and I begin to read the book together, I place all of the pictures out next to the book. My child finds the matching picture as we read each page and places on the velcro in the book. (All four of my children loved this!) This strategy points out the specific vocabulary or concepts the book is teaching. When my child is familiar with the book, then they would predict the picture on the next page before we turned the page. 

Some great board books include:


File Folders

File folders are a great way to use picture cards related to the story where the child does not use the book directly. File folders also allow using bigger picture cards. I start with a file folder. Then I create picture cards from related to the story. I laminate the picture cards and attach the pictures in the file folder in one of two ways: velcro or magnets. Velcro is an easy way to attach the pictures inside the file folder and in the book. If you use magnets on the back of the pictures (or print on magnet sheets), then you may glue stainless steel washers inside the file folder for the card to stick. Magnets are a great idea because they can be transferred to the refrigerator or dry erase board for fun storytelling and then put back away in the file folder.


Songs and Fingerplays

There are many books written based on beloved children's songs and fingerplays. Picture cards can help young children learn new songs, relate words to pictures, and reinforce specific language or concepts in the song. I begin by first reading the book with my child. Then we enjoy rereading the book using the pictures, book, and listening to the CD (if applicable). I will often make a second set of picture cards of the song or fingerplay to put on a keyring. The child may then look at the pictures on the keyring recalling the sequence of the song. These keyrings are also great for the car as you listen to the music on the car stereo. 

Here are some example of childrens books with songs or fingerplays:


Picture Cards are an easy material to make books more interactive. By taking the time to reread, retell, and play inside a story, you and the child experience a deeper understanding of the story and its concepts. In addition, provides many other materials that you can easily create related to the story.