To celebrate National Story Telling Week we thought we might share some of our favourite story books and a few tips that we use to refresh our storytelling when it's getting a bit stale. Read on for a little helping hand...
Mix it Up
Traditionally, story time comes at bed time, – you’re last parenting tool of the day to calm down the little ones for a peaceful night of sleep (fingers crossed). However, ‘book’ time can be any time of day in any part of the house – (this is why we always pick living-room worthy titles for Smallprint.)
Think about, it, bed time reading has a distinct purpose – it’s about relaxation, comfort, companionship, quiet and peacefulness: using up those last bits of mental energy before the little cherubs drift off & you finally get to collapse on the sofa, or catch up on your endless jobs.
Story time however, should be a pleasure not become a process. Getting the books out at different times of day means your energy won’t nose-dive after 15 minutes and the emphasis can be on fun, imagination-enhancing discussion & play & there is no need to keep quiet so you can use books to build your kids' excitement, not vice-versa. Plus you will feel like you have your very own WOW card for doing such great parenting.
Find books you love
George Bernard-Shaw said you should ‘never give a child a book you would not read yourself’. It sounds simple but make an effort to regularly switch up your choices so you have something new and unexpected, ideally something that YOU like too. We have all felt uninspired re-reading the same titles over and over or realising all the books on the shelf are suddenly too young for our growing 5 year old. Whilst it is helpful for children to learn narrative from repetition, and they naturally have their favourites, it is not always the most engaging reading matter. You can’t expect your kids to give two hoots if you are reading something with the enthusiasm of the shipping forecast, because well, you may as well read the shipping forecast.
If you are looking forward to story time your little ones will too. Some of our current favourites include The Good Book, Oops, Stupid Baby and Manfish.
Wordless books & paperless stories
Of course you don’t need words to make a storybook and you don’t even need books to make a good story. Wordless books like Flashlight, Flora and the Penguin and the Mamoko series are purposefully text-free to allow kids a chance to narrate their own stories based on illustrations alone. Using rich imagery and a strong sense of character, talented illustrators are able to convey a whole host of possibilities. Have a read about why we love these books so much on our blog here.
Making up something yourself is a great way to develop imaginations & exhaust active minds at the end of the day. Start with a first line, a character, or a place, and take it in turns to see where the journey goes, leave open-ended questions about the characters and don’t forget to talk about how they are feeling as well as what they are doing.
Our sets of wallet cards can be great prompts when making up your own tales and will soon see your kid's go from making short suggestions and single words to making up entire paragraphs on their own and stopping you from talking completely. Start by picking a letter or the room of a house and see where it takes you. It does require a bit of imagination but then that's what it is all about!
That's All Folks! If you found this useful then be sure to check out our accompanying post from top storyteller Rosie, she's a pro so really knows what she is talking about. Read it here!