I sometimes read stories to the kids, but I find they become much more engaged when I share stories from my memory, adding my own embellishments and twists to the plot. One method to tell a story is to set up an extensive play scene.
Use fabric scraps to create the land for the story. You can use bits of cardboard or sticks to prop up the fabric to create hills, caves or mountains. I often raid the toy chests for buildings and landscape items to match the story, although I have also made items with cardboard scraps and paint.
Once you have the landscape for the story laid out, you need your characters. Toys, dolls, wood pegs and clothespins – these all work well for people. I add minimal embellishments, just enough to show the main features of the characters, such as adding yarn for Rapunzel's hair.
As I tell the story, I act it out with the toys. The children are mesmerized. This usually results in the children then acting out the story themselves while adding their own twists. Their imaginative powers grow and the story becomes a deeply embedded element in their consciousness, which means they fully absorb any lessons it was meant to impart.