The importance of reading stories!

One of the most important experiences we can give children at an early age is the gift of reading. It is a great privilege for us to enable each pupil to discover this new and exciting world, and the joy and knowledge it can bring. Children who are learning to read are embarking on probably the most rewarding and amazing task they will face in future life. However, this process does not start at school – it starts right from the very beginning and parents are a vital part of this journey.

At a very early age, children build up their understanding and use of language by listening to their parents talking and responding to them, and of course by listening to stories. Much research has been published which demonstrates the great benefits of parents reading to children: not only is it an enjoyable experience as you spend quality time together, it enables children to develop and extend their vocabulary, encourages understanding of narrative structure, develops interest in the world around them and stimulates their imaginations. Later on at school, children will build on these vital foundations – starting on wordless books, ‘telling the story’ to you using the pictures, then moving on to books with words as they learn phonics and build their knowledge of print and words.

Many parents choose early evening as a good time to snuggle up and read with their children, finishing the day with a special moment – but any time that fits into your day is good. It does not need to be a long session – even 10 – 15 minutes a day makes an enormous difference to the development of your child. In fact, one of my favourite tasks at school is buying new books for school which I can then read to classes!

There are so many wonderful titles to choose from, both fiction and non-fiction, that it is difficult to recommend specific books – however, classics such as ‘The Tiger who came to Tea’ are always wonderful as are newer stories, such as the Gruffalo or the Charlie and Lola series, with their humour and delightful true to life stories. Above all – aim to make your reading a happy shared time and one that your child will always remember!