Reading to Children
Building on children’s literacy is incredibly important, as the literacy foundations they form before the age of five can have a significant impact on their literacy at later stages. Reading is not always an easy habit to develop in children, nor do we always have the time to read to them, so when we do have the opportunity, it is important to make it a very special one, in order to show children how FUN reading can be!
Here are some tips from Mem Fox (children’s author) and Lucy Goodman (creator of the children’s show, Bookaboo):
- Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.
- Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.
- Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don’t be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.
- Let children hear lots of language by talking to them constantly about the pictures, or anything else connected to the book; or sing any old song that you can remember; or say nursery rhymes in a bouncy way; or be noisy together doing clapping games.
- Play games with the things that you and the child can see on the page, such as letting kids finish rhymes, and finding the letters that start the child’s name and yours, remembering that it’s never work, it’s always a fabulous game.
- Never ever teach reading, or get tense around books.
- Please read aloud every day, mums and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.
- Find a bag you can call a bookabag. Any bag will do. Just make it one that you keep for this purpose. Then, at a time much earlier than bedtime (teatime, after nursery/school), you start the ‘game’. There are two options in this game. Do both. Option 1, you ask your child to choose a book and place it in the ‘bookabag’. You cover your eyes and ask them to make it a surprise. Just make sure they’re only looking at children’s books ie keep ‘War and Peace’ well out of the way! They pack the bag and put it in their bedroom for bedtime (or whenever you choose is ‘storytime’). When storytime comes, you then make a big show of letting the child pull out the book as a big surprise for you. Option 2, you ask your child to cover their eyes and you pick a book and place it in the ‘bookabag’ which you hide until storytime. Once again, at storytime, you make a big deal, really build the suspense before revealing the book. There’s something about this really quite simple game that makes the book incredibly special. It’s also a handy incentive to help get children to bed or to storytime.