NO!!! Where else can you climb trees to magical lands, swim with underwater monster, meet aliens who like underpants and visit far away places? A book is the gateway to new worlds, exploration and knowledge.
A good book can take you from reality; can comfort you; can make you laugh and make you cry.
Reading is an important life skill without which we would all struggle- we need to read to follow recipes, read shop or road signs, fill in paper work and study to name but a few.
Getting your child to read is not always that easy. A key to children reading is them seeing it as a valuable skill, one that they see you use- whether it is reading the paper, reading messages on a phone or following a recipe- the more your child sees you reading the more likely they are to want to learn.
Reading does not always need to be from a book, the written word is everywhere, for example:
- text messages
- web pages
- road signs
- shop signs
Any reading is good reading. Your child will generally be sent a book or two from their school- this is to give an idea as to the level of book they can read by themselves. Normally the school will ask you to sign a reading record showing that you have read with your child. In my opinion this could be any reading- not just their school book, note down if they help read a recipe, read some of the newspaper over your shoulder or pick one of their own books to read. I would also record if you shared the reading (I read 1 page then my child read the next etc). DON’T worry if your child comes home with a book they have already read, repetition is a key part of learning to read and of the enjoyment of reading. How many times do we as adults read a book we have enjoyed, watched a film numerous times. It is the same for children.
READING WITH YOUR CHILD
Please read to your children as soon as they are born- a 10 minute bedtime story will allow your baby to begin hearing language and help develop their imaginations and later their reading skills. Please, please, please continue reading to your child even when they can read to themselves. This will improve their ability to use intonation, expression and help them see how readers follow punctuation when reading. Don’t stop until they are in year 6-8, when they will probably not want a bedtime story!
Whatever you are reading, your tone of voice is essential in helping your child understand the text and in keeping them interested. You can use your voice to convey emotions by:
Changing the volume of your voice.
Making your voice higher or lower (pitch).
Speaking slowly or quickly.
Use different voices for different characters.
Don’t be afraid to stop and ask or answer questions- this is also a good way of keeping your child engaged and ensuring that they are following the text.
There are so many good books out there to please all interests and tastes; many of which you can find being read on sites including youtube.
- Young children enjoy books with repeated phrases-encourage your child to join in.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? (Eric Carle)
We’re going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen)
Green Eggs and Ham (Dr Seuss)
- Rhyming stories
Always a favourite with children young and old.
The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child (Julia Donaldson)
Where’s my teddy? (Jez Alborough)
This is the Bear (Sarah Hayes)
Room on a Broom, Zog (Julia Donaldson)
Duck in a truck (Jez Alborough)
Mr Magnolia (Quentin Blake)
The Fish who could Wish (John Bush)
- Traditional Stories
These help teach children about good and bad. They are also very easy stories for you to change- you could add your child as a character; change the story setting- snow white could live with seven aliens… Don’t get too worried about the literary quality- most children love the silly and ridiculous.
- Own experiences
You will have lots of experiences that you can use to tell your children stories- you children will love hearing stories of your childhood, especially if they are funny. Another great source for stories is telling your children stories of when they were little. Using a family photo album might help to visualise your stories and encourage discussion.
- Wordless picture books
These are great for making up stories together you and your child can invent a story to go along with the illustrations. These also help your child begin to understand the features of stories- beginning, middle and end etc.
Flotsam (David Wiesner)
Tuesday (David Wiesner)
The Snowman (Raymon Briggs)
Window (Jeannie Baker)
Mirror (Jeannie Baker)
Clown (Quentin Blake)
Finally, a story does not just have to be at bedtime. Spot a caterpillar in the garden and tell a story about it changing into a butterfly. When the cat comes in in the morning make up a story about its night adventures. Anything can make a story- so be inventive and have fun!