Reading to children is enjoyable for me, but whenever possible I love to tell a story 'off the cuff' - props help and children love visual aids. I have been lucky enough to find some nice props during my garage sale excursions. Having the props makes a story visual, giving it impact. Having a variety of materials can allow the same story to be told over and over without 'losing the audience'. Telling tales with props usually translates into the children mimicking what they have just experienced.
I love these 'flip flop' dolls - I was fancinated with them as a child. What a great way to tell a tale!
Felt board characters
....and my own version - crocheted finger puppets.