It’s national Share-A-Story month and editor, Suzie, tells us what she loves most about reading with her children…
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my dad reading a nightly bedtime story to me from a book of 365 bedtime stories. I still had the book, 30 plus years later, until very recently. I was moving home and found the book so had a quick look through it.
The political incorrectness of the stories made me laugh out loud, along with the brevity of the stories, which in my head were much, much longer. I wouldn’t be able to get away with reading my son a four-paragraph story at bedtime.
But it’s not the length of the story or the content that stuck firmly in my mind as one of my favourite childhood memories. It’s the fact that my dad would read to me every night before bed.
National Share-A-Story Month (NSSM) is an annual celebration of the power of storytelling and story sharing, providing a fantastic opportunity to fulfil the core aim of the FCBG of bringing children and stories together.
The theme for May 2019 is Travelling Tales – stories that involve any sort of travel, from the usual trains and boats and planes, to journeys through time and space.
My son’s current favourite book is ‘goodnight digger’, which I think I may have read about 4,000 times by now. I bought it because – unsurprisingly – he loves diggers. I decorated his bedroom in a digger theme and was overjoyed when I found a bedtime story about saying goodnight to all his favourite toys.
I explained to Laurie in bed the other evening that it was Share-A-Story month – which he dismissed as an uninteresting fact, but I thought it was nice for him to know, even on a subconscious level.
The NSSM is encouraging groups, schools and organisations to hold story sharing events, encompassing art, craft, and cultural activity. It even suggests holding get-togethers at places like a transport museum to get the discussion going.
I’ve mentioned in a different blog that my son Laurie has autism. He struggles to read himself and is way behind his seven-year-old sister, who’s just asked for her very own kindle. So, for me reading to him is even more important.
The act of reading to your child has been proven to have many and varied benefits, including the following:
- Reading sets young children up to succeed– the more you read the more knowledge children absorb. Many studies have found reading to young children gives them a head start and helps them prepare for school.
- Reading develops language skills– reading books expands your child’s vocabulary on different topics, introducing them to words they may not hear in everyday life. It’s often been commented that I have an extensive vocabulary, and I always put this down to my love of words and reading.
- Reading exercises their brain– reading to young childen affects their brain activity and promotes early reading skills.
- Reading enhances concentration– it helps them sit still for longer and concentrate.
- Reading develops empathy– children can identify with characters and begin to understand and relate to emotions.
- Reading is aform of entertainment– with so much technology and screen time, it’s important to remember that reading a good book can also be just as entertaining.
- Reading together creates a bond– spending 1-2-1 time with your child reading creates a bond, and as I can well attest – a lifetime of memories.
For more information on libraries in the North Bristol area you can use this useful tool on the council’s website.
If you’re running a Share-A-Story event we’d love to know about it – or why not tell us which books you loved reading or love to read to your small people.