Stories are such an important part of childhood. I have always read bedtime stories to my children and I am a strong advocate for it. Introducing books to children through storytelling can deliver a multitude of posItive effects, from benefitting their personal growth and development to bridging and shaping a solid relationship with their parents. Implementing story time into the daily routine is known to provide children with literacy, creative and imaginative capabilities.
1. Unleashing creative and imaginative capabilities
Storytelling opens children’s minds to other cultures and life philosophies; it develops the inner world of imagination and creative thinking. Children tap into their imaginative minds and provide their own imagery creating mental images of characters and settings. When children come to write their own stories these visualisation skills will aid their thinking process, creating a bank of ideas that can be used for inspiration.
2. Forming the foundations of Language
Young children are sponges: they learn and absorb the environment that surrounds them at a remarkable rate. For those beginning to communicate through verbal speech, reading stories aloud during story time can acquaint children with the structure of speech, pronunciation of words, the rules of language and provoke creativity and curiosity.
During storytelling sessions, as the parent reads aloud, children observe through listening and then mimic and mime the pronunciation of vocabulary words and phrases. Books with colourful animations can sharpen children’s attention to detail as well as the association of word to illustration. If the child is unsure with the pronunciation of the name of an animal, repeat and say aloud-together making story time a great opportunity for learning and boosting word recognition.
Engaging in the story by posing questions to children such as ‘where do you think Baby Bear is hiding from Daddy Bear?’ or ‘does Baby Bear like porridge?’ can further stimulate creative thinking and their understanding skills. Moving forward, these skills can seep into academic learning and help ensure children thoroughly understand Chemistry rather than memorising the atomic compound arrangement of H2O through memory.
3. Introduction to the world
Story time enrols young children into a taster class, providing them with a glimpse of the different dimensions, dynamics and settings of the world. By exploring an array of books, besides literacy competencies, story time presents situations to children exposing them to a scale of emotions and teaches them the appropriate approach and behaviour in each instance. When the Evil Queen became jealous of Snow White’s beauty and crafted a cunning plan to remove her existence from the world, this inflicted pain and hurt to the seven dwarves. Through exploring the events of the story by discussing and asking questions, children can identify different feelings and inherit sensitivity of other’s feelings through personal behaviour.
Was the Evil Queen’s behaviour acceptable? How did this make the dwarves feel and how does it make you feel? Highlighting the positive and negative behaviour of characters sets up an ethical framework into the minds of children, illustrating right from wrong and eases them into handling difficult situations embedded in reality.
After Snow White revived and the Evil Queen was unable to suppress her frustration and enragement, the Queen danced herself into her own demise. Stories allow children to grasp onto the concept of consequences through inappropriate behaviour and to embody conscientiousness within their own personal behaviour.
4. Enjoy the company and discover a love for books!
Third and foremost, taking time to read stories to children routinely and prioritising story time echoes care and importance to children.
Daily story time is classified as quality time and through this compelling story telling commitment, not only does it become a learning window for children but also for parents. Enriching children in stories with a variety of plots and emotional developments helps children explore the landscape of the world and for parents this is an avenue for understanding children’s interests and emotional requirements.
Does the loud roar of a lion frighten your child? Does a pig’s squeak make your toddler burst into a fit of giggles? Understanding the reason behind the behaviour and reaction of your children to particular characters and plots can impact and determine their preferences for books and their reading patterns in the future.
Remember, as children learn from you, they are also discovering themselves amongst the printed text. Explore different categories with your children and encourage the habit of reading beyond the age of bedtime stories.