THE IMPORTANCE OF STORY TIME
‘They say (whoever they are) that children are made readers on the laps of their parents, and in my expert six months of motherhood, never a truer word was spoken’
I remember being at university training to become a primary school teacher and listening to lecture upon lecture about the importance of reading and talking to children from a very early age, never really understanding how early ‘early’ was. Now I do! I totally get it.
I am not interested in ‘boosting brain power’ or making Noah some genius child prodigy, but I am absolutely interested in him being equipped to succeed because he has had the best possible start in life - simply because people have talked to him and read him stories.
Our little niece sat down on the couch beside Noah recently and decided she was going to read to him. Honestly, this was one of those MasterCard priceless moments – in that moment there was not one single other place on earth that I would rather have been. She was, of course, looking at the pictures and making up her own little stories for him, but he sat and looked at the pictures and scanned her face for emotion when she changed her tone of voice and used expression. He was fascinated and to be frank, so was I. A three year old had got it spot on and my beautiful six month old baby boy was being educated by his cute older cousin. She spent a good twenty or so minutes reading to him and all the while he sat and just soaked it all up like a sponge. What a privilege!
Obviously, this got me excited like any fairly new parent when they experience another ‘first time moment’, and I began to think of ways that I could make this even more magical. Remembering the tepee we bought for the garden in summertime, I headed straight for the shed and clambered over all shed-type-things to reach the spotty blue fabric. I bundled it into the washing machine and waited like a child for Christmas Day for the cycle to end so that I could dry it and iron it before putting it up in the living room. Then, I invested in some very cheap battery operated lights, and dangled them from inside the little den. It was so inviting I wanted to climb in myself. Now we have a story tent with cushions and blankets and books, lots of books and already many a story has been read in there and my little one has (I’m sure) started to mimic the voice of someone reading, as if he is getting involved and trying to read himself. Priceless yet affordable at the same time.
So, in case you haven’t done so in a while – get your child (even if they’re an adult), sit them on your lap (maybe not if they’re an adult – that would be weird), open up your favourite story and read it to them. I promise it will warm your heart better than any television programme and the connection you will feel with your child will be...enchanting.
Don’t flick through the channels, turn over the pages of a book and make your very own episodes of happy days.
By Rachel Lancashire
‘We NEED parents reading at home with children’, say UK teachers
BookTrust, the largest children’s reading charity in Britain , is on a mission to help encourage more children to read for pleasure. According to new research which polled 500 primary school teachers across the UK, nearly three quarters of teachers (71%) believe that children need support from school and home if they are going to become readers. The survey also found that almost half of teachers questioned (49%) say the number one area that would help them encourage children to read more at school is if more parents prioritise reading with their children at home. Nearly all of the teachers surveyed (95%) said they need more help and advice finding great books to get kids excited about reading.
Michael Morpurgo, one of Britain’s best-loved children’s story tellers, recently advocated for schools to reinstate Storytime at the end of every school day to keep the joy of reading alive. The War Horse author argued that testing in schools, whilst important, kills the joy of reading and that during the early years children first must experience the wonder and joy of storytelling. At the inaugural Annual BookTrust Lecture he said, “give them the love of the story first; the rest will follow.”
Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust said: “There is evidence to suggest that children who read for pleasure are happier, healthier and do better in life. Making time to read with your children is essential for their development and wellbeing. All children should have the opportunity to engage with stories and rhymes as we know that this helps inspire a love of reading. Shared reading at home, and commitment from schools to demonstrate the fun of reading, both make a huge difference to attitudes and behaviour.”
A fun and nurturing way to give your child a great start in reading
Reading is one of the most important skills a child will learn, and an exposure to books at home is a powerful way to harness your child’s reading development.
But besides having regular reading sessions at home, it can be hard for parents to know exactly how to nurture a child’s reading confidence – especially at the very beginning.
That’s where Reading Eggs has made a wonderful different in over 10 million homes around the world. The award-winning online reading programme is based on solid scientific research and designed by experts to help children learn to read.
Designed for ages three to 13, Reading Eggs is unique because it supports children at all stages of their reading journey – from learning phonics, sight words and vocabulary, to building more advanced spelling, grammar, comprehension and writing skills.
The way it works is by using self-paced online lessons, colourful animations and exciting rewards that make learning fun and highly motivating for young kids.
The programme even includes an online library with over 2000 beautifully illustrated children’s e-books, spanning a wide range of genres. There are also hundreds of printable worksheets that correspond with the online lessons.
So whether you’re looking to help your little one get ready to start school, or help a struggling reader catch up with his or her peers (without it feeling like homework), Reading Eggs is the proven way to build kids’ confidence in a fun, supportive and encouraging way.
Plus, Reading Eggs can also be used on a desktop or tablet device – wherever you have Internet connection.
Right now, new customers can sign up for a special 4 week free trial of Reading Eggs at www.readingeggs.co.uk/mumsmag. Offer ends 31st March 2017.