May is National Share-a-Story month, it reminds us how important stories and reading are for us all.
With all the focus on modern technology we can often over look the paper story book, but it still plays a huge part in Nursery life. All of our playrooms have a special space for books and a cosy area where children are encouraged to relax and enjoy reading. Just yesterday I was observing practice in our Baby room at Bramley and was thrilled to see a little boy selecting a book from their open kinder boxes and carefully put it back – This was quite a challenge for his physical skills as the book was almost as big as he is. At such a young age he knows that books are accessible for enjoyment, and this will serve him well for his future education.
I have 2 children, one was a natural reader and one not. My eldest has some dyslexic tendencies which means reading for her is often a burden. When she was younger she loved me reading to her, bedtime story was a main part of our routine and we both enjoyed a snuggle and story every evening. Once she started school I’d expected her to be a bookworm like me – however she really struggled – reading books became a battle – and we’d drag ourselves through Biff, Chip and Kipper often with tears along the way. I quickly realised I needed to be more creative to encourage her to practice reading at home.
If you’re in the same boat, or just want to try something new, here are my 7 top -tips for encouraging a reluctant reader…
- Continue to read to your child for pleasure for as long as they’ll allow – just because they now have a school book doesn’t mean they need to lose the enjoyment of being read to, especially at bedtime when little eyes are tired. Use a ruler to help them track the words as you read if that helps.
- Ask your child to read a story to a younger sibling, or their teddies – choose a book that will be really easy, or a picture book, so they can just enjoy bringing it life rather than have to concentrate too much on the words. Encouraging their expression and imagination is just as valuable. Made up stories are excellent too!
- Find something that interests them and link it to reading practice – My daughter loves to bake, at a very young age we’d print out recipes and make the font larger so that she could follow them. The short bursts of text as instructions didn’t feel like reading to her. Other examples might be writing and reading a shopping list, or menu, or bus stop timetable, football results, the list is endless.
- Make use of the environment – look for words and letters on signs, billboards and shops and turn reading into a game. We pass a shop called Go Outdoors on our way home, the building has a list on the outside “Go Camping, Go Walking etc”, our challenge was to be able to read the full list out loud before we turned the corner.
- Remember telling stories doesn’t have to involve text reading – you can re-enact poplar children’s tales (our favourite was The Three Little Pigs) each family member could play a different role, the sofa could be a house of straw – use your imagination to make a story come alive.
- Make use of Audio Books, Interactive story apps, or add subtitles to tv shows – there are benefits to your child following along the story even if they are not reading themselves.
- THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP! – Do not panic! Do not battle! Try your best to stay positive and cheerful, offer the opportunity for your child to practice in a relaxed way and the skills will come.
LINKS YOU’LL LOVE…
Dad raps The Gruffalo to his little girl
Holly Willoughby reads The Hungry Caterpillar
More information on National Share-a-Story Month
As a society, with more and more gadgets appearing to keep our little people busy, I feel we need to remember to show our children the value of reading. We should encourage them to love stories, books and to be life long reader, if only so they have something to fall back on when the battery on their tablet is running low, or the wifi is down.
BLOG by Vicky Hallas-Fawcett (Director – Little People Nurseries)