Research indicates that children’s interest in language, reading, and writing can be fostered from birth. Surrounding children with a language-rich environment through talking, telling stories, and singing is therefore essential to their literacy development (Educational playcare, 2017).
Both story-listening and story-reading involve using one's imagination. Hearing stories being told or read out loud invites children to make pictures in their minds. This ability to imagine is extended when children decide to read to themselves (Miller, 2011).
Sharing stories with children by no means implies that you have to read them. Get creative and share your own stories, or make up something unique and interesting, take them outside and embed storytelling with outdoor activities. Engaging stories promote the development of children’s listening and communication skills, improves their memory, supports sequencing events, and brings experiences to life. With an emphasis on engaging storytelling, children’s vocabularies are broadened and they are better equipped to make links between what is said and what is read (Bowkett, 2020)
If you do not believe yourself the most gifted of storytellers or lack experience and confidence - fairytales are a great place to start. They are well-known and popular, simple to remember, features repetitive phrases or actions, and are enjoyed by most listeners. Most importantly though, remember to choose a story that you like too.
Simply looking at books together models love for stories and reading. It shows children how to correctly hold a book while reading, and teaches them how to move through the story as you gently turn the pages. Storytime is a wonderful way to spend one on one time with your child and supports building healthy relationships (Raising Children Network, 2018). This does not need to be limited to bedtime - you can discover new books on the train, in the bath, in a waiting room or on the long drive home. Wondering where to start? As a broad rule, young children generally enjoy stories that have a good rhythm, rhyme and repetition. Rhyme and repetition are after all fundamental and effective ways to promote children’s learning and we find that they work the best at Turtletot Bexley.
The Department of Education (2018) emphasises the importance of listening to stories and telling one’s own, as important opportunities for children to practice all parts of oral language. Reading and telling stories in different languages further promote children’s overall language development. This can be supported by inviting children to take part in the storytelling process, asking questions, and encouraging comprehension.
Stories enable us to organise information into sequences, events, and experiences that progress from a beginning to middle, to an end. These are held together cohesively as a story (Miller, 2011). Stories, therefore, promote children’s ability to "put things together". Children’s ability to understand and tell stories also have strong links to their later language and literacy success. Stories encourage children to think out of the box and at Turtletot Childcare Bexley, we make kids fall in love with stories.
So let's start reading!
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