Why is it important to read stories aloud to children?
In Nursery class, we read stories to children as a whole group during Circle Time. Children are also encouraged to ask their teacher or the teaching assistants to read a book with them during guided play. Our reading corner provides a range of books developmentally appropriate for this age group. It is not rare to see children take a break from an activity to have a look at a book on their own or with a classmate. They enjoy looking at the pictures and commenting on them. When they know the story they sometimes like to retell the story out loud to themselves.
Research has shown that challenging group interaction fosters learning and helps children improve their language skills. During Circle Time, we read a story out loud. We then encourage the children to talk about the characters, the plot or the pictures. We foster their comments with open-ended questions rather than questions that only require one single possible answer. Because children not only acquire language skills through communicating with their parents and teachers but also with their peers, we make sure interaction between children is encouraged and valued. Placing children with different language abilities next to each other during reading time helps them improve their language skills. Also, we regularly invite our class parents to come and share a story. We value other languages and backgrounds therefore reading can be done in different languages.
Children have access to books all through the morning and are encouraged to ask their teachers to read the story aloud for them, should they wish to. It is crucial for children’s literacy to enjoy looking at books, being read to and discussing about they liked and didn’t like in the story. Reading a story and then discussing it helps children improve their language skills. They learn more vocabulary and more complex grammar structures, provided their teacher or parents explain new words or expressions and try to reuse them regularly with the children.
Seeing their parents or relatives involved in reading is also excellent role-modeling for children. Parents — don’t feel guilty spending some time reading for yourself in front of your child! Get comfy on the sofa with your child beside you and read a book together or get your child to “read” her book while you read yours. You could then tell her about your book and explain why you liked it. It is very important to model how much reading is an enjoyable activity. This will then help your child’s language and literacy skills.
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