Setting the scene for story time with your kids
What is the best way to read with our family at home? How can we instil a love of learning and of books?
What books should we read, and how should we present these to our children?
Many of us would love to help our children to become good readers, to help them to enter the fantastic world of books and literature. We know what it has to offer, and that good literacy, which is the foundation for success at school and in life, starts in the home, at an early age.
This series of articles (of which this is the first) will introduce us to some of the key areas around storytelling and reading books for our children.
This first article introduces us to the idea of setting the right environment for story time and why we should do it at all.
The Story time environment
Firstly, we should prioritise the enjoyment of the experience.
Choose a place that is warm and cosy, where everyone feels safe, where you can be quiet and calm and set aside the worries of the day.
Create an atmosphere of intimacy and love, a safe haven to which you return every day, a place where you can share and explore the magical world of books.
Why read with your kids?
When you read together as a family you are sharing experiences that will last a lifetime, and building memories for the future, memories that will be the cement to hold the family together through difficult times.
You are giving books, and the spoken and written word, a central place in your family life; you are placing value on the most important thing in the world by building strong and intimate relationships with your child within a clear moral and cultural framework.
Books make us stand apart; they transmit culture and values, cement the bonds of family and society and show children how they should respond to life’s trials and crises, how they should think and feel about other people, about friendship and about the world about them.
By sharing books with your children you are sharing your values, and your experiences.
You are preparing them for, and helping them cope with life experiences.
In that quiet, warm space, when you read with your child, you are not only preparing them for school and education by teaching them to spell, read, write, listen and concentrate, you are teaching them about the physical and moral universe in which they live, and most importantly you are transmitting your values and your views about this world, about behaviour, and rules, and love, and friendship and the environment, and other people.
What could be more important?
In the next article in this series, we’ll be looking at the easiest way to create a story time routine and a brief look at how we can make the most of reading a book with our kids even if it has no words.
Other articles in this series
- Part 1 – Bedtime stories and books for children (this page)
- part 2 – Building a story time routine and how to make the most of a picture book at bedtime
- Part 3 – Emotional and Behavioural themes in children’s books
- Part 4 – Using story time to help children with vocabulary and rhythm and rhyme.