Story telling strengthens the parent-child bond, it encourages new ideas, empathy to others and imagination. Stories help to give your child a love of reading and to increase their vocabulary.
Children who start school with larger vocabularies have an easier time learning to read, become better readers, better writers and have higher school achievement.
Storytelling with your child
Did you know? Young children whose parents read them one book a day will hear about 290,000 more words by age 5 than those who don't regularly read books with a parent or caregiver. Talking to your child every day is really important, and reading and telling stories to your child adds another layer of learning because the words they hear are often more unusual words.
You can also:
- Talk about the story
- Talk about the characters
- Encourage your child to look at the pictures
The children of parents who do all of these things are nearly five times more likely to have an above average vocabulary than if their parent does only one.
Top tips for sharing books
Here are our top tips for parents and other family members to make the most of sharing books:
- Set aside a regular time to share stories with your little ones –it doesn’t only have to be at bedtime! Talk about the story, the characters and the pictures
- Studies show that children are more likely to value reading if all the adults in a family read to them or tell a story. This might mean mum and dad, but it will vary in each family, and what matters is that all the adults show that they value story time
- Sit close to your child so you can see their face as you read. Then you can see if you need to slow down or explain a word that they haven’t heard before
- Use expressions and gestures to engage your child
- Don’t worry about repetition - it doesn’t matter if your child wants to hear the same story over and over as this means your child is learning something from it that they want to explore further
- Visit the library, its totally free to borrow books, and there are so many for you and your child to choose from
Stories are not just found in books so don’t worry if you aren’t a confident reader yourself. You can also try:
- Using books but not reading the printed words, talk with your child about the pictures and use your own words to tell the story
- Telling your child made up stories or stories from your memory
- Reading, listening to or watching stories online
- Use toys such as teddies or dolls and take them outside in the garden to act out an adventure
- Make up a story of your day - take some photos on your phone then talk about what happened with your child using the photos as prompts. Children love to be part of the story
More ideas for under fives