Reading with children is a pastime many parents enjoy, but it can be difficult to choose books that your child will love. Or they may find one book they like – and refuse to read anything else. At Child’s Play ELC, we understand your frustration and we’re here to help. Our educators have years of experience reading with children and can help you choose the books your child will enjoy. Here are five helpful tips for reading books with your child.
Rhymes and Repetition
When we begin reading with our child, they are listeners, but as they grow in vocabulary and understanding, they want to read the book with you. One way they do this is by reciting previous lines and memorising the story, so choosing books like Goldilocks and the Three Bears helps them feel included.
Rhymes are also a great learning tool to look for when choosing books as they can be turned into a song to help your child remember. Books such as Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson can help with literacy skills. To join in the fun, children will finish sentences by rhyming with words they know, such as ‘box’ and ‘fox’.
Bright Colours, Fabric and Moving Parts
Every parent knows that storytime may not always be a sit still activity, so choosing books that children can interact with can make storytime more enjoyable. Look for books that have:
- Pull Tabs
- Puppets or Toys
- Different textures
- Moveable components like turntables
These kinds of stories have a lot of action and simple plots, such as the ‘That’s Not My …….” series, but your child will love them because it feels like playtime as well as storytime.
Variety of Books
Our children will go through phases where they just want the same book read over and over again. Usually, it’s something like ‘Bluey Goes to the Beach’, but when the day comes that they don’t want to read Bluey, be prepared and have a shelf dedicated to special books for them. This way they will have plenty to choose from and may even choose a book you picked out.
As your child grows older, make sure your variety reflects their interests and hobbies, which could be trains, sports, fairies, bugs and many other childhood fascinations. Another helpful hint is to not always pick narratives with a moral lesson. Choose some funny books that you and your child are sure to laugh at, such as Jon Klassen’s ‘I Want My Hat Back’. Books that are relatable and funny will just make storytime so much more fun and something your child will look forward to.
Strong, Relatable Characters and Familiar Events
Storytime is a great opportunity to introduce and explain new events. If it happens in their story, a child‘s mind is eased, and it is considered normal. It makes life sometimes easier when we are able to explain events like going to school, having swimming lessons and getting sick or injured in a story. Our children enjoy it more when the characters are relatable to their life. Often you will find that they will say something like, “Mum, Dad look, it’s Princess Robin. She’s just like me!” If we introduce stories with strong and relatable characters, we are setting them up to be ready for anything and giving them the confidence to take on the world.
When choosing books for children, we want to make sure we aren’t reading something inappropriate or that our child won’t understand. To help with this, look for parent-approved books, books that have won awards, recommended by librarians or books by popular authors.
If you need a starting place, some recent favourites in our rooms are:
- Possum Magic by Mem Fox
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Mc Bratney
- Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles
Why should you read with your child?
Reading is important as it is a way to help children develop cognitive skills like memory. When they are being read to, they are exploring their senses by seeing, hearing and touching in a safe environment.
By reading with them, you can encourage them to tell you stories about their day and make up their own stories as they get older. It allows them to draw connections between their lives and character’s lives as well as build on the communication skills they will need for school.
One of the ways that we encourage storytelling is by giving them prompts about certain situations. We continue to be a participant in their stories by asking insightful questions into their stories like “What happens next?” and “Where did that come from?”
Our Borrowing Library
At Child’s Play, we encourage you to have fun reading with your child. If you need some help finding books they’ll enjoy, don’t hesitate to come in and talk to our centre staff. We also have a community library of books at Child’s Play services that parents and children can borrow from at any time.