They love hearing them, telling them and sharing the experience of them with others.
The also engage deeply with books that have beautiful, age-appropriate illustrations.
Reading books and telling stories is an excellent way to:
As you read to children, they will learn the basics of how to read a book too: left to right, top to bottom, front to back, turning pages etc.
Storytelling is at the heart of dramatic play.
Books can provide ideas for dramatic play, or children – as they often do – can create their own stories and enact them.
Dramatic play is important because it helps develop social and language skills; allows the expression of positive and negative feelings; teaches children to negotiate, take turns and resolve conflict; and helps children make sense of the world.
Reading and storytelling play a vital role in language development.
Not only do they introduce children to the sounds, meaning and usage of words, but they also stimulate conversation. And conversation is the most effective catalyst for language development.
As you are reading, discuss the story with your child. Ask them about the pictures, the characters and what they think will happen next.
Even if they are very young, talk to them as if you are having a conversation, and encourage every effort they make to communicate.
You will be helping them greatly in their language development.
Making up a story using a real experience or place, or a relevant theme
Using puppets to tell a story
Dressing up and enacting a story
Listening to a story tape
Telling stories (e.g. Three Little Pigs) using a magnetic storyboard
Reading pop-up or feely books
Reading a book – maybe one about nature – outside
Reciting or making up rhymes
Telling stories from other cultures
Creating a simple book using a child's story and drawings
Talking about the illustrations in a book
Reading a book to get ideas for play (e.g. Fun With Flax, by Mick Pendergrast)
Reading a language poster (e.g. the Tongan names for animals)
Playcentre recommends the following as a minimum for early learning centres:
Story and reference books (a wide variety, including books that reflect different cultures and languages)
Magnetic or flannel graph storyboard with a selection of pieces for stories
Māori language poster/chart
See the Playcentre basic equipment list for more details.
Books and storytelling relate particularly to Strands 1, 2 and 4 of Te Whāriki, which are Wellbeing/Mana Atua, Belonging/Mana Whenua and Communication/Mana Reo.
To learn more about Te Whāriki, visit the website.
Our thanks to the Auckland Playcentre Shop for permission to use this article. Great play starts here.