A recent YouGov survey revealed that 83% of children enjoy being read to, with 68% describing it as a special time with their parents. The survey also noted that leading busy lives means that many parents stop reading to their children once they become independent readers. Meanwhile another piece of research shows that children who enjoy books with their parents are 13 times more likely to be reading above the expected level for their age. Or to look at it another way – reading a ten minute bedtime story, six times a week is much cheaper than an hour with a tutor and can provide a much greater benefit.
Try these top five tips from Behind the Lines Books to take your storytelling to the next level:
The ideal children’s picture book is illustrated and not too long. As a rule of thumb, it should take up to 10 minutes to read a bedtime story.
Read some parts louder, some quieter. Say some parts fast to build tension and some parts slow, particularly towards the end of the story. Also, look out for opportunities to use sounds like ‘Wheee’, ‘Arghhh’ etc.
Engage your child by asking questions. Ask about things they know to reinforce their knowledge, and things they don’t to facilitate learning. Try to spark a child’s imagination by asking questions about the characters, the setting and what happens next. Good illustrations should make this really easy.
For young children illustrations are essential – always choose picture books. Make sure your child can see, enjoy and even touch the pictures as you read.
Get a great story
Disney and Pixar have led the way in showing that classic plot ingredients can be used repeatedly to make really exciting stories. Try to pick books that include some of these classic techniques:
- A hero, a villain, and a bit of danger to build excitement
- Exciting characters – often magical
- Repetition and happy ending
- A good mix of familiar and new things
- A personalised book that puts your child at the centre of the story
If you want to create your very own magical bedtime story visit the website www.behindthemagicdoor.com and use the exclusive magazine code M&D15 at the checkout for 15% off!