Nothing is better than snuggling up with a good book before bed. Story time is a wonderful way to connect and end the day with your child, but what turns a good story into a good opportunity for engagement?
Use these 5 quick tips to make your child’s story time more engaging.
- Familiarize yourself with the book - read the story ahead of time! Give yourself a chance to react to the story before presenting it to your child.
- Ask questions - don’t be afraid to pause the story and ask questions. What do you see? What does that sound like? What do you think happens next? What would you do? This guidance helps children develop critical thinking skills. The answers also might surprise or amuse you.
- Explore the illustrations and characters - take time to explore each page and discover what is happening for everyone in the story. Encourage the widening of observational skills by looking for the little characters in the background of the illustrations.
- Be expressive - try out voices for the characters. Use your voice, face and body to express how the characters are feeling/ reacting. This exploration role models empathy for our children. Empathy eventually helps them predict and anticipate how others around them might feel.
- Summarize the story and help draw connections to the world around them - ask your child to summarize the story with you. What happened and what does it mean to you? Have you ever felt this way? Encouraging your child to put things in their own words enhances their processing skills. We do this in adulthood all the time without effort. It's how we communicate to other adults that we hear and understand them. Our children need supportive opportunities to summarize their thoughts and observations.
Lastly, celebrating stories can provide endless opportunities for keeping busy around the house. Create your own family story time and explore literature that has influenced popular culture. Perhaps you have seen the movie Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan but have you read the classic children’s novel that inspired the film? Are there short fables in other cultures that resemble your favorite fairy tale? Get the entire family involved and continue the adventure together each evening. You might be surprised which of your favorite tales have inspired musicals, novels, cartoons, artwork and much more.
Out of creative resources? The internet is a wonderful resource to celebrate books. Many children's authors have their own websites, links, ideas, and followings online to help inspire you.
Books We Love
Journey by Aaron Becker
The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague
Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper
How Droofus the Dragon Lost his Head by Bill Pete
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch