In a recent survey commissioned by early years publisher Ladybird, more than 1,000 parents shared their thoughts about reading with their children, revealing that alongside many known developmental benefits, enjoying quality time together and nurturing the parent and child bond was one of the most important aspects for the participants.
The survey discovered that:
- 81% of parents see one of the benefits of reading as enjoying quality time together, while 68% cited bonding as one of the key motivations to read with their child.
- Wonderfully, 88% of parents agreed that reading with their child is about shared enjoyment and is not a chore.
- However, 75% of parents shared that they wish they had more time to read with their children.
- Interestingly, of those questioned with children aged 1 years and under, over 36% felt their child was too young to read to.
- And, 33% of parents wished they had more confidence to read with their children.
Discovering interesting results, the survey demonstrated that parents can truly see the benefits of reading, although some barriers such as time constraints (75% sharing they wish they had more time to read to their child), confidence or thinking their child is too young are still present.
With this in mind, Lucy Walters, Storyteller, has shared her top tips on getting creative with the usual reading routine to combat feeling short on time:
‘Again! Again!’ No sooner as the story ends, tiny hands are turning the book over to start the story again. Your little one loves the sound of your voice, the special moment of you and them sharing the story: following the words, pointing at the pictures, joining in with the story through the bumps and bends.
Finding a quiet moment for story time can be tricky but even just five minutes without distractions will help your little one grow in curiosity, confidence, literacy, and language. Talking, listening, and reading the story together will help your little one join in at their own pace. It’s not about reading the story perfectly, it’s about enjoying the words, the pictures, the time together.
Here are some top tips to get you started:
Tick-tock it’s the story clock!
Time to snuggle in and share a story. Choosing a book is an exciting start to storytime. It encourages your little one to explore, to look at the pictures, to touch and feel. It helps them know that you are listening and that their choices matter. Take time to show them how to hold the book the right way up, and how to turn the pages. Use lots of eye contact, what’s inside?
Say and See
Talk time! Say all the words. Point at the words when you’re reading them aloud. Enjoy the story sounds the fizzes and the whizzes and the ups and downs of the voice. Spot the pictures ‘I can see…’ Ask them ‘What can you see?’
Play with the voice
Imagine the scene: where are you in the story? How does the character feel? Are they walking through a leafy park, hiding in a cupboard, or soaring through the sky? The mood can be conveyed through the emotion of the voice: change your tone from high to low, from low to high, speed up, slow down, whisper, pause. Consider how the character feels: excited, happy, scared, or sad. Trust the words and have fun playing around with tone and tempo. Don’t forget to breathe too!
Let’s turn the page
What happens next? Encourage your little one to turn the page. It helps them to follow the story and also to develop fine motor skills. What surprise is waiting on the other side?
Your turn, my turn
Take turns to try out the voices. Your little one will love listening to your story voices however silly you think they may sound. It shows them that stories are playful and gives them the confidence to join in too.
Play a story
A story sparks lots of ideas for playtime: drawing pictures, a simple story, or acting out the story with their toys. Let’s tell Teddy what happened in the story. Teddy, are you ready for a story adventure? Whoosh!
There is no right or wrong way to read a story. You being you is more than enough for your little one. Just be prepared for ‘Again! Again!’
By Lucy Walters
Ladybird offers all families trusted and playful content to help guide children through their early years. From Baby Touch books designed specifically for the youngest of children to our millions-selling Ten Minutes to Bed series created to help little ones settle down for bedtime. From the award-winning Kim Hillyard’s gorgeous picture books that nurture emotional development to Everything Under the Sun by Molly Oldfield – the perfect book for curious kids. We know just how to capture curious little imaginations with fun formats and much-loved series including Peppa Pig and Bluey.
Laura Henry-Allain MBE has written also a comprehensive timeline on how to best support your child on their reading journey that you can also read here.