Shared reading time: stop, pause and linger

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Sometimes you can go far by going a bit slower. There are plenty of little things you can do during story time to improve your little one’s abilities. Children are always learning new things and they really value shared reading times with you (even if they don't always show it!). When you share stories with them, it’s important to slow down, as it helps to strengthen the connections their brains are building by being with you!

Slow down and ask questions

With life being busy, it's sometimes tempting to rush though story time to get to the end - especially when it's a book you've read multiple times. Remember, it’s the shared journey along the way that counts most. Engage your child in the story so they feel part of the adventure. You can do this by lingering over parts of the story as you share it and asking questions about what’s happening. You can also try pausing and giving them time to work out the story themselves by getting them to guess what comes next. To help them do this, point to the images and talk about them.

Children love learning new words, so don’t be afraid to try another word with the same meaning to help their understanding. Point to the image of the word in the book or introduce real objects to give a new word meaning.

Try pausing and giving your child time to work out the story themselves by getting them to guess what comes next.

Try including actions 

Your child will love joining in any actions, you can include stamping their feet or growling with the characters in the book. Linking the actions to the words is not just for fun but a great way to learn.

Using actions helps your young child to understand and engage with the story, supporting their early literacy skills. The more children become part of the story the more they will want to return to their favourite book again and again. Embrace opportunities to share their favourite book again and again, especially as you might be spending more time at home.

View the First 5 Forever Story Time video featuring the stories I’m a Dirty Dinosaur and Fancy That! This video provides some great examples on how to bring your books to life.

More resources to explore

Check out these articles for more First 5 Forever tips to help you engage your child in reading.

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