Stress Free Story Sharing – Tips for Parents
Reading has never been a more important part of education and when I say education, I mean experience. Children learn just at much at home as they do at school and so what they experience at home has a massive impact on their lives.
Parents often dread getting a book and sitting down with their child. When a child doesn’t want to read their reading book or struggles to read, it can cause parents and carers a lot of stress. Parents can feel a tremendous amount of pressure to complete daily reading with their children.
The UK government’s Education Research Standards Team tells us, “Evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment.” It is now such an influential part of the curriculum and it is the duty of every school to ensure that every child can read. Ofsted focus specifically on reading during their inspections.
Reading comprises of two main elements. Word reading, where children read the words, and comprehension, where children understand what they have read. Reading also develops knowledge and vocabulary. It is important to build these into reading with your child.
So, we know that reading is absolutely crucial.
In order to be competent readers, children need to actually enjoy reading. Children need to want to read and be excited by books and stories. They want to explore the world of imagination that a book provides. Reading for pleasure is key.
Parents are role models for children, and this extends to reading as well. Personal experiences of reading shape motivation and desire to read. Every moment of reading counts and the close interactions had between children and parents can strengthen and develop bonds.
Here are some tips to help build a brilliant reading relationship with your child.
Start young and build it into your routine
I used to read to my ‘bump’ and ever since my children were babies, I would read to them every bedtime. Building sharing a story into your routine means that it should happen every day. Children love routine and will often go and find a book that they would like you to read to them. Bedtime is a perfect time, as its quiet and cosy.
Let your child choose a book
Find books that you think your child will enjoy. Keep books in a place where they can access them. I often leave out two books for my son to choose from. That meant he wouldn’t be overwhelmed by choice and the choosing doesn’t take as long. Having lots of different types of books is also a good idea as it lets children experience different types of texts. From traditional stories to information books, children will have their favourite stories and it is fine to read them again and again. Even though you may not enjoy reading them, your child will love them so be patient.
Develop book handling skills
Teach your child about the different parts of the book. Front cover, title, spine, back cover and blurb. Ask them what they think the book is about by looking at the front cover or after listening to the blurb (the text on the back cover which summarises the story/content). Show them how to turn the pages of the book one at a time.
Become the best storyteller ever!
Read the story with your best storytelling voice. Change your voice for different characters, thinking about what kind of character they are. I do an amazing pirate!
Ask your child to join in reading the story if they know the words by leaving gaps at the end of sentences. Rhyming books work very well with this.
Spot sounds/letters in the text and practise reading words that you think your child will be able to read. I have always spotted tricky words in books with my children. They like the challenge of beating me to find them! As your child gets older, they will be able to read stories to you.
Talk to your child about the story – the setting, the characters and the events that happen. I call this ‘thinking out loud’. This will teach your child to understand the story. Ask your child questions about what you have read to them to check if they understand the text… How do you think this character is feeling? Why does the Gingerbread man want to run away? What do you think will happen next?
Be a role model
Let your child see you reading and enjoying reading. Make reading exciting and important.
There really is no wrong or right way to share a story. What is important is that parents share stories with their children on a regular basis and that parents spend quality time with their children. We have some super tips for parents coming to soon to our website so keep a look out for them.