Battling to get children interested in story time is nothing new. There’s so much to do and see in their worlds, why would they want to sit still and listen? Here are five top tips to bring reading to life and ensure that they see the fun in story time in no time.
Props are such an easy way to add another dimension to story time. Take a quick flick through your chosen book and then think: what do we have to hand that links? Items of clothing, cuddly toys vaguely resembling characters, food that features, musical instruments and all manner of bits and bobs will leap to mind, then you simply grab a choice few and you’re set for an active reading session. Having something to physically engage with plays a huge part in bringing a story to life and ramping up the fun factor.
Where is your book set? You can often recreate or simply suggest the setting without too much hassle. Maybe it takes place in the garden; if so, shift story time outside. Got a story based in the woods? Find a tree! Snow a big feature? Grab a big white towel. Pirates on a ship? A laundry basket or box will serve you well. These little touches bring stories to life, immerse children in the experience and set their imaginations off in a big way.
If inspiration strikes your child during story time, see where it takes you. Say you’re half way through a book about hide and seek and your little one decides that now is the time for a quick round of hiding and seeking themselves, go with it. They’ve been exploring characters, reading about the fun they’re having and now they want to put it into practice; that sounds like a successful engagement with a book. You can always come back to it a little later, but to rush the end of the book with a reluctant child is not going to be the best way forward for either of you. Follow the fun and you’ll both be happier for it!
Making books an integrated part of play is such a great way to make sure they’re exciting and engaging. As you’re reading, talk about what you could do after the story that is inspired by the content. Reading about princesses or knights? Make crowns or shields when you’re done. Reading about water or swimming? Why not go swimming or play with some water when the book is over? It doesn’t take much creative thought to come up with a whole host of activities related to any book you may be reading so bounce off the book into another fun activity. It will help your child to see just how much they can enjoy themselves, all thanks to a book.
Fun With Themes
Is it Father’s Day? Pick some Daddy focused books. Have a holiday fast approaching? Some books about the beach or travelling would be perfect. Christmas on the way? Dust off your jingle bells and get reading some Christmas classics. When children are excited about something in their lives, it’s a great idea to harness that enthusiasm and get them linking it to books and reading. If there’s no interesting event approaching, well make up your own theme. Grab a bunch of books about food and explore the cupboards. Gather books about fairies and go fairy hunting in the garden. Spotting common themes is a good skill for children to learn and a break from the ordinary always adds to the excitement.