Posted on May 16 2019
One of the best ways to kick-start a lifelong passion for reading in your child is to share stories with them every day.
Children who enjoy books from a young age usually find learning to read easier and listening to different stories can help them gain a better understanding of the world around them. But research by the National Literacy Trust found that just 15 per cent of parents find time to read aloud to their children every day.
May is National Share-a-Story Month, an annual fixture in the calendar designed to celebrate the power of storytelling.
At The Story Corner, we understand how pivotal it is to make time to enjoy books with your children. Not only does it help boost their literacy skills but it is a great way of spending precious time together, away from the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Here are our top four tips on making the most of story time with your little ones:
- Build books into your daily routine
Reading your child a bedtime story is the most obvious way of sharing a story on a regular basis. But if telling stories just before bed doesn’t fit in with your daily routine, find another time to enjoy books together. If your child is an early riser, mornings could be a great time to read to them and start the day off in a positive way. If you have a baby or toddler, you might want to get into the habit of reading them a story just before their daytime nap. Another great time to set aside a few minutes for reading is straight after school or nursery. This gives your child a chance to quietly unwind and relax after a busy time.
- Don’t get hung up on age
Many people start reading aloud to their child when they are toddlers and stop as soon as their child becomes a confident themselves. But don’t get hung up on age as sharing stories brings benefits from as soon as your baby can hear in the womb and should be continued for as long as you both enjoy it. Reading to your bump while pregnant will help your baby become accustomed to your voice and the sing-song tone which comes hand-in-hand with telling stories can be very calming to even the smallest of infants. And many older children enjoy sharing stories with an adult well past the point where they become skilled at reading independently. Sharing a story with an older child can encourage them to choose a book with a more complex storyline than they may attempt themselves. Reading to your child and asking them questions about what is happening in the story is also a fantastic way of building their comprehension levels and introducing them to new vocabulary.
- Visit your library
Buying books is wonderful but making sure there is a fresh supply of stories to share with your child can work out expensive. Don’t forget to use your local library and encourage your son or daughter to borrow stories you can read together. Most libraries have a cosy little corner where you can sit and share a story while you are there so it’s a good place to go if the weather is bad or you just fancy getting out of the house. Using libraries also encourages your child become a little more experimental with their reading choices and pick books from different authors and genres. There’s no commitment involved as if they aren’t keen, they can simply return the book to the library and get another instead.
- Cut the distractions
When you do read to your child, turn off the television, put your phone away and enjoy having some one-on-one time together. Try to make the experience as fun and positive as possible. Sit together so you can both see the book and talk about any pictures. View story time as an opportunity to give your child your undivided attention and reconnect after a busy day. Use the experiences in the stories you share as a starting point to talk about these things with your son or daughter. For example, if the character in a story gets lost or falls out with a friend, you could chat about what they would do if the same thing happened to them. For older children, this quiet time may also encourage them to open up to you about any difficult issues they may otherwise feel awkward telling you about.