educational storybooks improve literacy

Educational storybooks can have a significant impact on improving literacy skills in children and this article focuses on the 5 top ways educational storybooks improve literacy.

In addition, if you are looking for some activities to boost literacy as you use your educational storybooks in your classroom or at home, I’ve included them as well.

Historically, older generations told stories to the younger generation to entertain and pass on beliefs and values. 

Educational storybooks have been used to transmit knowledge and improve literacy rates from one generation to the next. 

Today, we’re very fortunate because research-backed educational storybooks are designed specifically to improve student literacy.

So as a teacher or parent, you’ll want to take full advantage of the important ways that educational storybooks can boost your students’ literacy rates.

educational storybooks improve literacy

5 Top Ways Educational Storybooks Improve Literacy

1. Vocabulary Development

2. Phonemic Awareness 

3. Reading Comprehension

4. Imagination and Creativity

5. Reading Motivation

Vocabulary Development

Research shows that children who hear stories often are exposed to millions of words prior to school and are, therefore, more likely to succeed in reading and literacy.

These children come into school already exposed to a wide range of words and phrases, thus, their vocabulary is expansive.

When you use educational storybooks, such as The Book of If, you’ll introduce new and unfamiliar words in a meaningful context, allowing children to understand their meaning and usage. 

As children encounter these words repeatedly, they become more familiar with them, enhancing their overall language skills.

If children are not using educational storybooks or any storybooks for that matter, they only hear only a few words and are severely limited in their chances at success in reading and literacy. 

Educational Storybooks Vocabulary Development Activity: 

An effective vocabulary builder incorporates physical activity. Play a game of charades that teaches vocabulary and grammar.

Create or print images of actions from a website that has free or inexpensive images. Review the flashcards prior to the game. Have each child draw a card (teacher can help a child recognize the image if child is unfamiliar with it).

Teacher says, “What do you think ______ will do?”

Child then acts out the verb.

Teacher says, “What is _______ doing?”

Child completes act.

Teacher says, “What did ______ do?”

2. Phonemic Awareness

Another way that educational storybooks improve literacy is phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words.

The skills for successful reading originate early in life when the child begins to hear and process language and sounds. 

This is now considered to be the supporting base for early reading. 

One of the main precursors to higher reading skills is phonological or phonemic awareness. 

By using rhymes, alliterations and wordplay, educational storybooks help children develop a strong foundation in phonics, which is crucial for reading and spelling.

Teachers and parents may wonder precisely how phonemic awareness, in conjunction with interactive reading of storybooks increases reading success if it is taught early? 

Phonological awareness is the ability to perceive discrete parts of words and manipulate the parts to create new words. 

Manipulation can include the addition, deletion, substitution, and shifting of sounds to create a new meaningful sentences, syllable, or word. 

Furthermore, it is crucial that physical movement and physical activities be included alongside education storybooks because research indicates this improves memory and learning at the same time.

educational storybooks improve literacy

Educational Storybooks Phonemic Awareness Activity

First, remind children what rhyming words are. 

They are almost the same but one sound “cat” is different from the sound in “mat” or there may be one less or one more sound. 

Teachers will give a silly command to the students and the students will tell the teacher what she should have said and then do it. 

Touch your ‘gears’.

Touch your ‘ears’.

Raise your ‘farm’.

Raise your ‘arm’.

Kick your ‘teg’.

Kick your ‘leg’.

Pretend you are driving a ‘zar’.

Pretend you are driving a ‘car’.

Another fun activity is based on the book, The Book of If.         

After reading the book, copy the printable cards on the back pages. 

Have the children make silly sentences/questions to the other children with the rhyming cards. 

For example, if he/she has the pictures rocks and socks, he/she would say something like, “Did you wear your rocks today?” 

Another student may say, “No, I am not wearing rocks. I am wearing socks.

isn’t it exciting to see how many ways that educational storybooks improve literacy and how much fun you can have with your students?

3. Reading Comprehension

Storybooks engage children in narratives and plotlines, promoting reading comprehension. 

By following the sequence of events, understanding character motivations, and interpreting story elements, children develop their ability to comprehend written text. 

One way that  educational storybooks improve literacy is that they often include comprehension questions or activities that further reinforce these skills.

Educational Storybooks Reading Comprehension Activity

Pennies in a Box. For reading comprehension games at the primary level, give the students worksheets with sentences. 

Have the students watch for particular words.

Each time the students see that word, they drop a penny in a box. 

Then count the pennies to see how many times they read the word. Then, have a short discussion on the meaning of the word.

4. Imagination and Creativity

Storybooks stimulate children’s imagination and encourage creative thinking. 

Through colorful illustrations, vivid descriptions, and engaging narratives, educational storybooks transport children to different worlds and scenarios. 

This imaginative engagement enhances their cognitive abilities, critical thinking skills, and overall creativity.

Educational Storybooks Imagination and Creativity Activity

Have coloring pages for different animals; cat, dog, horse, cow, elephant, giraffe, etc. 

First allow the children to color the animals. 

Then, allow them to cut the head section off each one and place the body on a separate clean paper with the head of another animal glued. Each child will tell the new name of their animal. 

An example may be “elecow” (elephant + cow) or “dow” (dog + cow). 

I found that some children sometimes needed help with this depending on the age so the teacher can certainly help. 

This particular activity also targets phonological awareness at the syllable level.

educational storybooks improve literacy

5. Reading Motivation

The final of the 5 ways that educational storybooks improve literacy is reading motivation. Not only do educational storybooks improve literacy rates they spark a love for reading in children.

When kids find stories that capture their interest, they are more likely to develop a positive attitude toward reading. 

As they experience the joy and excitement of storytelling, they become motivated to explore more books, improving their literacy skills and fostering a lifelong love for reading.

These reasons highlight how educational storybooks provide a holistic approach to literacy development, combining vocabulary building, comprehension skills, phonemic awareness, imagination, and reading motivation.

Educational Storybooks Reading Motivation Activity

Reading motivation, group reading activity: This activity will help the child associate the book with fun by pairing action to words in the book.

Choose a book with action words, Example, It’s Hard to Be a Verb

Tell the students that they are to listen (if book is being read) or look for action words or adjectives that make them think of action. 

Give the students cards with other actions on it (jump, squat, bend knees, etc.). 

When the student reads/hears an action word or adjective word that describes an action, he/she can stand and act out his/her action as represented on the card. 

Lavelle Carlson, MS,CCC-SLP, is a Speech and Language Pathologist and author of more than 12 books. She is the founder of

She taught speech and language for over 25 years and the special children she taught were the inspiration for her books. 

Lavelle wants to share the power of educational storybooks with you as a way to both entertain your students and children as well as teach early reading concepts. 

Today, she is retired, is an avid traveler and continues to write educational storybooks to improve literacy.

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