A recent British study found that preschoolers showed a huge improvement in their ability to run, jump, catch, and throw, as well as in their vocabulary, when they took part in activity sessions based on a book.

It makes sense: “Physical co-ordination and cognitive skills are closely related,” says Dawn LaBrosse, a youth services coordinator. “Plus, it makes reading way more fun!”

Change things up with these smooth moves:

Act it out

Just about any story can be retold through actions, LaBrosse notes. Make snow angels on the floor, shoot basketballs into a mini hoop, or go on an animal hunt in a jungle.

Do a cross-check

Incorporate activities that help your child use both sides of her body. Known as “crossing the midline,” this skill allows both sides of the brain to communicate, and it directly affects the ability to read, which we do from left to right. For instance, pretend to wash a car with a sponge, using the dominant hand to reach in all directions.

Finish with a freeze dance

“I always end storytime with the Wiggle It Dance,” says LaBrosse. “The kids dance and wiggle their bodies fast and slow, then the song stops and they freeze until it starts again, they love the anticipation!”

This builds listening and executive functioning skills and lets kids have fun, something they can asso­ciate with reading. – FamilyFun Magazine/Tribune News Service