Reading for pleasure improves not just literacy, but maths ability too. It's proven to affect overall brain and behavioral development and integration in life. It's a great way to open up a world of imagination, discovery and adventure for kids.
It's World Book Day coming up on the 5th of March so we though it would be a wonderful idea to team up with an amazing story-teller to give you an insider's guide on how to help kids enjoy books.
We asked the wonderful Siggistardust (yes, we LOVE this name too!) AKA Sigalit Hart to share her tips. Siggi is a children's artist and storyteller with a difference. She's taken libraries around London by storm with her charming and magical storytelling. Siggi loves to inspire kids through reading and enticing the new generation to explore the wonders of books.
Siggi dedicates a lot of her time reading with kids and bringing stories to life through her storytelling. Here, she shares some of her top tricks and useful tips for parents to use at home to help make reading fun for kids.
1. Let children choose their books
Offer kids a selection of suitable books to choose from rather than giving them just one choice. It's a great way to give them confidence and a feeling of empowerment. Tell them you really need their help to arrange the books in order of preference - which one do they think would be best first?
2. Creative use of repetition
It’s ok to improvise the stories a bit to help you deliver it more organically. Repeating points of specific words to get a point across is a great way to interact with the story. Here's an example: 'When Thomas lifted the lid, he saw nothing!!' ' 'Nothing! Can you believe it? Nothing! What did he see?' The child will probably laugh and say ''nothing!'' Then laugh in disbelief ''Yes exactly! Nothing!''
3.The repeated book dilemma
Kids LOVE hearing the same books again and again. To us this is completely and utterly boring, but you can use this to your advantage. After reading the same story a few times, they will be familiar with it, so it's a great way of stimulating discussion: "WHY do you love this book so much", "which was the best character and why"?
Draw them into the story by asking them questions like: "What was the bear's name again?", " Do you remember where they went that was really scary?" They will love knowing that they remember some of the elements to the story.
4. Add your own commentary and interaction
This makes it more interactive and social. For example: "Wow the grizzly bear is SO greedy, don't you think?!" Really react and over react to parts of the story which are 'shocking' or 'scary'. Children's love exaggeration and over the top reactions, that's why they love cartoons so much. They love to experience heightened emotions and reactions.
5. High and low, slow and fast
Use your voice to create the mood of the story. Normally we slow down to create suspense and speed up to create excitement and adrenalin. Your tone of voice will help your child to imagine what the mood of the story.
6. Give characters a voice
It's a simple way to bring the story to life. Extend your voice to high and squeaky for little creatures. Big creatures, grown ups or scary characters are more effective with deep and low voices.
7. Relating back to their own lives
Many stories have elements that you can throw back at them or use to poke fun. For eaxmple: Sam’s Stinky Socks. Poking fun and joking with the child about their smelly socks and then asking them about their colour socks. Do they think some coloured socks can get smellier than others? Or ask them to relate certain characters, to friends / relatives in their lives that do that same thing or have that same funny habit.
8. A game to play afterwards
Encourage your kids to use their imagination after a story and play a stortytelling game. You can start the story and then take turns in telling bits of the story for a few minutes. A great way to make this even more fun is to find a 'magic storyteller's hat'. Something that's a bit comical, like from a fancy dress shop that you ONLY wear in storytime. This helps make storytime more special. It's a hat that is so special that only you can bring it out for this activity.
More about Siggi
Siggi works with libraries, schools and community centres campaigning to bring back the magic of traditional storytelling to kids. She also holds workshops for parents to give them inspirations on how to encourage their children to love and enjoy stories and books.
Siggi is an advocate working tirelessly during National Storytelling Week and National Libraries Day, World Book Day and Summer Reading Challenge to help kids find their inspiration to read.
We're extremely luck to be teaming up with Siggi to run an amazing storytelling session for kids. We're still working out the details for this online activity. In the meantime, you can register your interest by signing up here. We'll send you an email as soon as we have the details confirmed.
You can discover more about Siggistardust here.