Parent Information - Story Time
This section is about the benefits of spending time reading to your child, including useful information from and links to other sites.
Our own thoughts
From our own personal experience, as parents, we have found spending time reading to our children a rewarding experience for both us and them.
Reading to Beth has allowed us to help her improve her vocabulary and work on her speech therapy activities. Reading to the children has also helped to prepare them for learning to read themselves and has given them a real love of books.
We have found it particularly useful to use rhyming texts e.g. Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, many Dr Suess books (including The Cat in the Hat, There's a Wocket in my Pocket, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a who) and many others. I have listed some of the books we have enjoyed in our resource review section. If you have any suggestions to add to this list we would be glad to do so (either put a message on the Forums, or e-mail us)
Simple activities to encourage speech can be carried out while reading rhyming texts. For example using cloze sentences - you read a sentence but miss off the end rhyming word e.g. You say - the cat in the ........... - your child says hat!
One of the most important things about reading to your child is to make reading time a really special time of the day that the whole family can enjoy. We try to take turns in choosing what is read, sometimes I choose sometimes the children choose. As my children are now getting older ( 5 and 7!) I have now started reading longer stories to them over a number of evenings. Stories we have read so far include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, George's Marvellous Medicine all by Roald Dahl, Horrid Henry's Haunted House by Francesca Simon; we are now trying Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond. Beth found reading longer books difficult to accept at first, especially as they tend to have fewer illustrations. By introducing these books slowly and returning often to shorter picture books she has gradually accepted reading longer books together.
Reading these longer stories has been great for encouraging memory skills, we talk about what has happened so far and also try to encourage prediction of what will happen next.
As busy parents, especially when you have a child with special needs, it can be difficult to find the time to read to your child. It is however really worth putting in the effort to make time for reading as the benefits for your child and yourself are so great.
I have included in the section below some useful quotes, from websites, about the benefits of reading to your child. I have also included links to the sites where much more useful information on this subject can be found.
If you have found useful information on other web sites let us know (e-mail or Forums) and I will try to include them here.
Quotes from other web sites
'Activities to nurture pre-literacy skills'
1. The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. This is especially so during the pre-school years. (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott & Wilkinson, 1985)
2. Expose children to "literacy materials" (picture books, story books, alphabet books, activity books, card games such as snap, word games such as 'I spy', learning words of songs and rhymes, etc) as early as possible.
3. Read to children daily (books they enjoy, and that you enjoy reading).
4. Read to yourself in the presence of your children. Let them see that reading can be both a pleasurable and a useful thing to be able to do.
5. Encourage "print recognition" in everyday situations (e.g., reading labels such as 'McDonalds', and signs such as 'STOP' and 'WALK').
6. Ask children Wh - questions about what you are reading to them (e.g., What is the boy's name? Where are they going? Who did they see?).
7. Encourage children to make inferences about what is being read to them (e.g., 'Who will they ask to help them?' 'What's going to happen, do you think?).
8. Encourage children's interest in numbers and letters.
9. Encourage children to ask questions about books, stories and pictures.
10. Do 'cloze sentences' when you read to children, in which the child says the next word in a familiar phrase (e.g., 'Humpty Dumpty sat on a ...; 'Jack and Jill went up the..."; 'Once upon a time there were three little ...).
11. Do not force children who are not keen to listen to stories. Try to find books and activities that are of interest to them. Sometimes children who are not interested in a range of children's books intended for their age-group will be motivated to listen to stories about movie and TV characters (e.g., Power Rangers, Thomas the Tank Engine, Batman, Teletubbies), or books related to their interests (e.g., books about Barbie dolls and fairies, books about trains and trucks). '
For lots of other fantastically useful and practical suggestions for parents please visit Caroline Bowen's site at
'Educators will tell you that reading ability is one of the key predictors of school success. It's no wonder that so much of your child's school day is devoted to reading-skills instruction. These same educators, however, will also tell you that teaching basic skills is only one piece of the puzzle. The other big piece is motivating children to read.
How does one motivate young readers? There's no better way than developing a love of literature and an understanding of the importance of reading in everyday life. Teachers know this. That's why they spend a lot of time fostering the love of reading in their classrooms.
But developing a lifelong love of reading doesn't have to be the business of teachers alone. As parents, there are many things you can do that will help motivate your child to read. Here are just a few ideas that will encourage reading in your home, whether your child is a toddler or an adolescent:
Reading books at bedtime is a family ritual that can begin virtually as soon as your child is born. And contrary to what many think, this practice doesn't have to stop when your children begin school or even when they enter middle or junior high school. Speak to your local librarian or bookseller about books that are age-appropriate. You can read literature that ranges from nursery rhymes and counting books to mysteries and science fiction. The time you spend reading together will become a special part of the day for you and your children.
Make trips to the library a part of your weekly schedule. Let your child browse through the shelves, looking for different kinds of books that may interest him. From time to time, encourage your child to branch out into unfamiliar shelves of the library to discover books that he might not normally choose. Many libraries also have story hours in which librarians introduce children to new and classic books. The Reading Rainbow television show does this as well. You can check their Web site for broadcast times and good ideas.
Many children's movies and television shows are based upon stories and books. If your child likes a particular movie or show, encourage her to read the corresponding book. This is a particularly good way to get adolescents and reluctant readers involved in reading books. Many educational TV shows also have Web sites that provide a wide range of good reading resources and experiences for children. You want to start by checking out the sites for PBS and Nick Jr.
For many people, the word "reading" implies reading books. But if you look around you, you'll notice that there are words everywhere. From the time your child can talk, help him to read signs and talk about what they tell people. Trucks, billboards, and buses provide other opportunities for reading and can help you and your child pass time on long drives.
It seems that every year there are more and more great children's magazines available. You and your child can browse through the selection at your local newsstand or bookstore for ones your child might enjoy. Magazine subscriptions also make great gifts that can stimulate your child's interest in reading throughout the year.
Encourage your child to write letters to friends and relatives. Although many of us now use the telephone to keep in contact with others, there's something very special about sending a letter to someone you care about. And if you have access to a computer, encourage your child to e-mail friends and family.
In the end, showing your child that reading is important in your own life is a sure-fire way to make it important in your child's life as well. Set aside special time during the week when everyone in your home reads his or her own book, newspaper, or magazine, even if it's just for 15 minutes or a half hour. You'll be amazed how much this will instill in your child a love of reading that will last a lifetime!'
For lots of useful activities and articles visit Harcourt Publishers at their web site
'Reading to children is the most important key to emergent literacy. Here are a few favorite books that encourage beginning literacy and introduce children to the concept of letters.'
For lots more useful information, including a really useful article - 26 Ideas . Using Books to Stimulate Your Child's Language, visit the Speech tx web site at
Mary Payne McCarthy
'Read to your child. Read to your baby! This is the advice I give to any caring, loving adult in any baby's or child's life. I am often confounded with the reaction I receive from this advice. I usually hear this, " No, really, what can we do to help our child?" Again, I say, "read aloud." Start this practice after the child's birth. There are even those who believe that it's never too early to start and encourage reading aloud while the baby is still in the womb. This may be a little over the top for some, but the thought of reading aloud to your child weeks after birth shouldn't be. Think of it!
Studies have shown that the stimulation provided by reading aloud to babies helps build permanent brain mass. Recent brain research has made positive indications that reading to babies promotes emotional and social development in addition to boosting vocabulary and later educational success since brain circuitry is being formed. It makes sense.
Begin! No excuses! This is a suggestion that can be implemented by families of any income level and literacy skills. So your baby is five years old or seven years old and not measured in months anymore. It truly is never too late or early.
Reading aloud, if it is to work, must be done lovingly and consistently ----- everyday or night. If your child will only attend and sit near to you for thirty seconds, it's a start. If you cannot read, you can point to the pictures and name them making up your own story. If you have no time ----- make time. What are your priorities? What is truly important? Action and patient persistence pay off! What is important is the love of words, the sound of your voice and the time spent together whether it's five minutes or fifteen. Pick your favorite childhood book or one from the list below (there is an extensive book list on this web site follow the link given below to check it out), but begin.'
For lots more useful information and extensive book lists visit
Homeschooling with Beverly Hernandez
'Children become readers when their parents read to them. It really is as simple as that. And here's the good news: It's easy to do and it's great fun.
With a little practice you will be making the memories of a lifetime, memories both you and your child will cherish.
It is best to read to your child early and often. But it's never too late to begin. Start today. Although the activities in this section are designed to enhance reading aloud with preschoolers and beginning readers, a child is never too old to be read to. '
Visit the following site to find lots of useful information to help you become a parent who is great at reading with your child.
Go to the Articles section, articles by topic, helping your child to learn to read, activities, read along. (sorry for the 'directions' but a direct URL to the info I found does not seem to work properly)
The Literacy Volunteer Connection
You will find lots of useful information about teaching reading at this web site.TOP OF PAGE
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