Connecting With Your Kids Through Story Time
Reading is one of the best things you can do to provide an early boost to your child’s development. It provides practice for many important skills like reading, shape recognition, and speaking; it introduces new words, lets kids practice holding an item, and it provides a chance for the family to bond.
To ensure that you and your child are sitting down together reading, here are some steps you can take to make story time more engaging, a regular part of your routine, and more fun for everyone. Engaging storytelling keeps your child’s attention, and having a happy and non-fussy child is the best time for a parent.
Make it a regular routine
So, you’re sitting down during your scheduled time, in your comfy chair, your kids got their plush or favourite blanket, and you’re ready to read. Whether it’s before bedtime or after bath time, creating a regular reading routine makes reading a priority for the parent and provides structure for kids – and kids love structure.
Commit to the amount of time that you feel is appropriate, but it’s recommended that kids get at least 15 minutes of reading in a day.
Practice YOUR reading
Reading in our heads and reading out loud uses two completely different sets of brain functions. For most adults, reading silently is the expected way to read, and as a result, your reading out loud skills may be a little rusty from lack of use.
Practice reading words out in a clear, loud voice, and properly annunciate the words. Try to find the rhythm of the sentences and go with the flow. Short sentences tend to be punchy, while long sentences are slower.
When you are ready, try the next step...
Become a storyteller!
Storytelling is a skill. Some people are so good at it, they can make a living off reading other people’s stories. That's a pretty high bar to reach, so don't hold yourself to that standard, but the point stands – there is value to being a good storyteller.
Try adding these elements to your story time:
Add funny voices, repeat certain sections to make sure your child takes in a certain point, lower your voice or get really loud to match the energy – in short, become the characters.
Point at things in the book and ask your child questions, make up stories related to the pictures or side characters.
Reading to your children isn’t a one-way interaction. Think of the book as an opportunity to have a conversation with your child. Ask questions about words, the story or pictures, point out things in the scene.
Encourage your child to point and ask questions.
Reading should be fun and memorable, it’s like playtime with a book.
Let Your Child read to You
When your child is old enough to read, start having them read to you. Help them with any of the hard words, encourage them to sound the words out and if they can’t get it, say the word and have them repeat it back.
When your child is reading, ask them questions about the story to see if they are processing the information they have read. Ask about the characters and what happened to them, ask about how the characters feel.
Pick books your child will be interested in
Picking a book your child will love is a tricky proposition because if they are really young, they don’t have the ability to describe their likes and dislikes. You’ll have to put on your detective hat and look for clues. Pay attention to which books your child wants you to read, are there certain characters or drawings they really like? Try to find similar books in look or with similar characters.