The Family Beast’s Top 3: Ways to foster a love of literature in children.

Children love stories. Stories are the innate connection between the internal and external lives of children, as they develop and grow. Children use story to make sense of the world at large as well as the world within themselves. In fact the connection to story is so strong it is quite an achievement to stamp it out, to dampen the enthusiasm a child has for a story told, read or sung.

The Family Beast passionately believes that every child should have the opportunity and the environment to have open access to story and the freedom to explore imagination. Here are three ways to help your child continue to love stories and develop a passion for reading:

1) Tell stories
Babies don’t always have the concentration to look at picture books, but they love the sound of voices. Even when pregnant you can sing stories, or make up stories but the important thing is to keep giving them stories. Rhythm, melody, the sound of your voice, all these things weave themselves into the imagination and enrich their creatively fertile minds. Your voice is the very first step in developing imagination and a love of story.

2) Read to them
As children get older read to them at every opportunity. At a bare minimum, a bedtime story should be read every single night. Story reading becomes a ritual assoiated with safety, closeness and helps to develop imagination as well as a love of stories. You can also tell stories using props such as dolls or toy animals. If children are accustomed to being told stories in a variety of ways, it opens their minds to even more possibility.

“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.” — Marilyn Jager Adams

3) Let them tell their own stories
By encouraging children to tell you what a drawing is about and writing their words on the back of the page or across the top or bottom, you are helping them develop their own stories and story voice. It doesn’t matter that it only few words, or a sentence, allow them the space to imagine and develop ideas. Often these drawings and words can offer an insight into how your child views the world, the things that are important to them. As they get older they will begin to write their own words and create quite complex sequences.

No matter what age your child is, remember to not only keep telling stories, but keep telling stories that will expand their understanding of the world, our environment and all the different ways we all live.

For Book Week this year – August 17 – 23 2013, The Family Beast will donate $1 to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation for every new subscriber up to 140 – that $140 dollars will buy a literacy pack for a baby in a remote community – a small contribution to a big future for that child. Please subscribe now.

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