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Be inspired every day with Living North
woman sitting reading in. a field with children Dreamstime
September 2022
Reading time 3 Minutes

The benefits of developing a love of reading are well documented, but how do you actually do that in your family? What if you’re not a big reader yourself? Where do you even begin?

The perception that you need to be the most expressive, literary-loving parent in the world to get your kids interested in reading often leads us to shy away from attempting story time with our families at all. Don’t despair – the team at Seven Stories are here to help build your confidence with their toolkit of top tips.

Little ones are never too young to enjoy a story. Get some cushions and blankets and make a comfy area to read. Let your little one see your face as you’re reading, over exaggerating your pronunciation of the words, this will help develop their speech and language. Also use the book as a prop – it can be a butterfly or a bird or even a tunnel for a train!

It might mean you know the words to the same three books off by heart, but letting your child really get involved in choosing the book at storytime makes it an experience rather than just reading some words together. Be it visiting your local library, independent bookshop or the toy box in their room, make it an adventure! And believe it or not repetition is key in helping development, so a classic nursery rhyme collection with lots of choice could really work.

toddler looking at a book Unsplash

Picture books are also a great starting point. Brightly-coloured pictures are ideal for capturing a child’s imagination as well as supporting the reader. Using those pictures and illustrations is the perfect way to extend learning – pointing out the colours and shapes, asking them what they see and encouraging them to makes links to world around them.

As your children get older they may find it hard to sit still and listen to a story, and that’s absolutely fine! There are so many amazing things to look at, pick up, even climb! Find a story that matches their energy by getting them to move around like the characters in the book! Stomp like an elephant, swim like a fish or roar like a lion! Using props can also help capture their imagination, like turning a cardboard box into a space rocket and blasting off into space!

5. ‘I WONDER…?’
Ask questions! ‘Can you see the little mouse? Where are they hiding? I wonder what a mouse has for breakfast?’ Or ask them what their favourite part of the story was; what would they have done if they were the main character; what did they enjoy in the story? Open-ended questions are a great way to extend learning and vocabulary.

Pick up that book, you won’t regret it.

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