Story Time Magic!
Updated: Jun 19, 2019
For some families, reading with children is something that just comes naturally. To others, it's like navigating a maze of doubt and indecision- When do I start reading? What if I choose the wrong books? What are the right books? English isn't my first language, what if I'm terrible at this?
Fret not! The fact that you are actually thinking about this, taking the time and trying to get it right you're already on the right track!!
Reading with small people is one of the most magical ways to develop communication, cultivate imagination, cement the bond you are forming with your special someone and most of all- it's time together. Time where bill paying, returning emails and trying to hang out the washing before anyone else needs something, just get to take a back seat and you both get to wind down, calm down and share something.
Your little person isn't going to know if you have got all the right inflections when you read and they're not going to worry if you don't know how to do all the different voices for the characters. What they will know is that you want to spend time with them. You want to be close to them and you want to share something you value with them- just them. They're never going to remember all the books you read, but they will always remember that you wanted to lay down with them, sit with them and put everything and everyone else aside for them.
It's never too early to start reading and establishing a love of books and words. Start with simple, colourful books that have rhyme and repetition. The Usborne range of 'That's not my...' touchy feely books also add a wonderful sensory component. Dr Seuss's classic books are wonderful for colour, nonsense, rhyme and repetition. (We have a select range of these books in our Ready Set Extras part of our shop- https://www.hastalagifta.com.au/ .) Don't panic if they want the same story over and over- even if it's driving you crazy- small people love repetition and the ability to predict what is going to happen.
If English isn't your first language, listen to the audio version of the books you want to read, and go to Story Time at your local Library. If you want the heavy lifting to be done by someone else, join 'Story Box Library' -an online service that uses Australian personalities & authors to read favourite stories and watch them together- it's awesome and often your local Library has a login you can access, so that it won't cost you a cent.
There are so many tools out there that mean we don't have to know everything or be perfect- there's plenty of people and places to help. Also please make sure that you also share books in your mother tongue- it's an important part of you and your child and you'll most likely be more confident and relaxed in your first language. How lucky will your small reader be to start life as Bilingual?!
Story time isn't only laying the foundations of a love of reading (but how cool is that- it's like having a super power), you'll be establishing a habit that will last them a lifetime.
Reading opens the door to oral communication, building vocabulary, writing, language recognition and the infinite possibilities of imagination. Most of all- it opens the door to time with you and the chance to make memories.
Reading really is magical! Enjoy!