Storytime is widely acknowledged as an essential part of a child’s daily routine, but new research found that one in seven (14%) miss out on this tradition. Since today is World Book Day, it got us all thinking about the importance of storytime, and why it so often falls by the wayside.
Storytelling is an important way of communicating life experiences and creative imagination in young children. Such are the benefits of a bedtime book, that research has shown children who are read to by their parents as infants perform better in maths and English at the age of 16 than their peers who were not*. As we can all appreciate, though, storytime is often met with a range of modern stumbling blocks.
According to Booktrust, half of parents confess to either frequently skipping pages when reading with children or finishing reading the story before the end. Of those who admit to skipping pages, half (49%) did so because they were too tired.
Secondly, stage fright may be causing parents to close the book on story time, so says a survey conducted by Chessington World of Adventures. They found that over a third of parents (36%) admit to feeling nervous or self-conscious about reading stories to their children.
According to professional storyteller, Kevin Graal, “You don’t need to be a brilliant reader or storyteller to read a children’s book well or tell a story. You just need to be playful and remember how much children love and need storytelling. Then you can relax and really enjoy the experience of sharing stories with your children!”
Chessington’s research found over half of children (55%) find story time more exciting when parents get into character, using different voices and even costumes, so plucking up the courage to let go of your inhibitions at storytime could go a long way towards maximising the benefits of the book/bed tradition. We asked the @shellandthelittlies and @mumforce_ children what they enjoyed most about storytime, and their animation and enthusiasm for their favourite books is testament to the enduring importance of books, even in today’s digital age.