Story Telling in the Early Years
When it comes to storytelling and reading with early years children, there are many benefits, most importantly, building a solid foundation for them to develop their skills and confidence in language and literacy.
Storytelling provides children with new opportunities that they may not have experienced before, opening up a world of exciting topics and themes for them to explore and learn about. Children do not realise the learning that is taking place alongside enjoying the story, they just enjoy the images, imagine the scenarios and revel in the excitement of the story. However, opportunities to learn new vocabulary, extend on communication skills and personal & social development skills are plenty during story telling. In terms of personal & social development, story telling can link with sharing with friends, taking turns, socialising, but also can be a great tool to help children understand about their own personal feelings. They may start to describe how they feel or learn how to manage their emotions. Younger children may not always be able to talk about how they feel but it is a key skill to develop and picture books are great visual tools to use with the younger children to see a range of expressions.
Did you know if you read just one book a day to a child, they will have read 1825 books by their 5th Birthday? Can you imagine how much they have learnt from all these books and the impact storytelling will have on their all round development? Think about the impact you are having on the children you care for - how much are they learning from just one storytelling session?
Storytelling can be carried out in many ways, such as completing a story board, a group session, using puppets, rhymes and actions - the options are endless. Perhaps reflect on how you currently engage children in stories and how you can improve your storytelling experiences for your children.
With younger children within the setting it's so important that you include props, picture books, facial expressions, sensory objects and emphasise your voice and intonation throughout the book. This helps to sustain children’s engagement and the curiosity continues from start to finish. We all know some children have a limited attention span, so it's worthwhile thinking about what you can do to keep them engaged for the length of the story your reading, or perhaps choose shorter books so that they can experience following a story from beginning to end.
Early reading with our children helps build on their creativity skills, brings out their imagination and inspires curiosity. As an independent Usborne organiser and a parent to a 2-year-old, I am always looking at ways in which the books can help in more ways than one. For example what is the child getting out of the story? What will they learn from it? How can I put storytelling into another activity to help other aspects of learning? It is also great to reflect on your practice to consider the impact on the child as a unique individual. Storytelling and reading is such a vital part of early childhood development and can have huge implications on their long term outcomes.
As a mum I'm so passionate about spending quality time reading stories with my little boy throughout the day but in particular at bedtime, sharing new experiences and extending his knowledge on the outside world, particularly in these unusual times. Storytelling can be an escape for children, helps them to relive memories and talk about events that they are hoping to do when the world becomes a little more normal.
If you are providing exciting and meaningful storytelling opportunities, how amazing is that for the children in your setting. You are one of the most important role models to them and I'm sure you're all doing a great job! I hope this has inspired you to be your very best and enhance your storytelling experiences within your setting.
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