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April 18, 2018
Most young children enjoy being read to by a grown up. Whether it's just before they fall asleep or snuggled up together when it's raining, the act of storytelling is often the first interaction children have with books. This simple activity will encourage children to engage with books and develop a love of reading for the rest of their life.
With such busy lives, any form of reading you do together is amazing, however, if you feel like you need a bit of advice on where to start or how to get better, here's some direction and inspiration...
1. Let your child choose. If you're new to storytelling, choose a story you are familiar with such as a classic tale. If you're really stuck for ideas, let your child decide so you know they'll enjoy it.
2. Use a simple structure. If you want to invent your own story, stick to a traditional structure. Create a setting and characters, develop a turning point/complication, and then resolve this at the end. The main character could be your child!
3. Talk about the book. Relate the story to your child's everyday life. If it's a picture book with lots of illustrations, make connections to things they might have seen so that they can gain a better understanding of the story.
4. Break up the story. Whether it's a story from a book or one from your head, let the plot develop over a period of time and don't give too much away. Leave it on a cliff hanger so that your child looks forward to story time.
5. Role play. Let your child take on the role of one of the characters. They will enjoy being involved in the story and you can encourage each other to really go for it with voices and actions.
6. Engage the senses. If you're making up your own story you can instantly provide a better storytelling experience by referring to the senses. This will help your child get lost in their imagination.
7. Use props to help. If you struggle to use your imagination and visualise the action, have a look around the house to see if you can find objects that will help bring the story to life.
8. Ask questions. Take on the role of third-party observer too and pause the story to ask them questions. Ask your child what they think is going to happen next or why they think the character did something.
9. Retell the story. Go back to the same story at some point in the future. You will be confident in telling this story the second time around and your child will enjoy testing what they can remember.
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Take a look at our 'Story Time' collection and find your next story.
For some extra reading:
The School Run: https://www.theschoolrun.com/how-storytelling-can-boost-learning
Action for Children: https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/how-to-help/fundraising-events/the-giant-wiggle/top-ten-tips-for-sharing-a-story/
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