Within their first year, your child will begin to recognize and form their first words, recognize forms in pictures, and develop crucial language skills. Telling stories has been a part of society since the dawn of time, and story time is just as important to the development of our children today as it was back then. Reading to them regularly is important for overall language development. Since time is at a premium these days, Speech Language Centres of Canada has a few great tips on how to make story time more fruitful and enjoyable for both you and your child.
#1) Spend time on the cover
The cover is what initially attracts our attention to a book. Children’s books often have particularly captivating illustrations and colours. Not only are they important for learning, they are also a lot of fun. Point out the title and the author, spend a bit of time exploring the cover and get them excited about hearing the story within.
#2) Use dramatic body language
The best storytellers are the ones who can get up in front of a crowd, act out scenes, and speak with emotion that makes you feel the story. Being expressive with your body language will help your child understand the story better, get them more involved, and make it more fun for both of you. Note that a child with certain speech and language issues may have trouble with non-verbal communication such as body language and might require a speech-language pathologist to help them develop the ability to interpret it.
#3) Be patient
Children’s minds are full of wonder, and when they are fully involved they will want to ask a lot of questions, look at pictures, and talk about what’s going on. This is an excellent way for them to build language and listening skills, so let them have as much time as they need.
#4) Add structure
When telling a story to your young child, it is important that you take your time and speak clearly. On top of that, make sure to link the story to their experiences, and in older children to their past experiences. This makes understanding of the story easier and more exciting.
#5) Have fun!
This should be priority number one. The more fun that you two have together, the better the experience will be – and the more excited they will be for next time. It is impossible to quantify the value of getting your child hooked on reading.
Reading to your child when they are young is one of the best things that you can do for them. It builds vocabulary, listening skills, and helps develop overall good communication skills. For more information on helping your child to develop their communication and literacy skills, you can consult with a speech therapist.