One of the gifts that parents give their children is the gift of their time – and one of the easiest and most mutually satisfying ways in which to share this is through reading stories.

And with such wonderful benefits too – reading to your child has a tremendous impact on language development and speech.

Here are some of the ways in which you can vary reading stories to enhance that growth and advancement…

  • Read the story and ask questions directly related to the plot/storyline and the characters. What is this story about? What happened to him/first/next?
  • Discuss the pictures. What can you see in this picture? Where is the apple tree on this page? (And it is always nice to acknowledge the author and illustrator, e.g. A man called …. made up this story. How do you think he did that? What made him think of it? Do you think it is a real, factual story or did it come from his imagination?)
  • Get your child to draw their own illustrations, i.e. draw the main character or draw a picture of one of the main incidents in the story. You can help but don’t be beguiled into doing the whole picture! If your child says he can’t draw something, give directions, e.g. Draw a fat round tummy. How many legs does a dog have? Okay, draw the arm next, etc.
  • Get the child to make up a different ending. (One of the ways in which to help you tolerate having the same story requested again and again!) Or ask them to tell you what happened before the story started or after the story finished.
  • With older children (from about 4/5 years onwards), ask them to think of words that start with the same sound, e.g. F-ish F-lower. End with the same sound, e.g. do-G fro-G. Think of rhyming words, e.g. Peter wears a hat in this story. What is a word that sounds the same/rhymes with this word? Hat-Bat.

And this kind of intimate, sharing time is ideally suited to bedtime – a happy, calming end to a busy day. And if you read the story in the bedroom, a good lure to get your child into bed, rather than falling asleep in some other, less conducive place! And Storytime can be a great opportunity for Dads to have quality interaction with their offspring…

Have a happy Storytime!