Children love to hear stories, and reading with your child is an excellent way to help her develop a love of reading, as well as an enjoyable way to spend time together.
However, not all stories need to be read from books. You can keep your child interested and entertained with your own stories, whether they are true accounts, paraphrasing of stories you have heard before, or tales you create together.
Children love to hear stories about themselves, about you, or stories that have been passed down from other family members.
• The story of the day your child was born might be a favourite. If you tell the story often, try to use some of the same descriptive words and phrases so he can help tell the story.
• Talk about some of her firsts: her first word, the first time she crawled or walked, or cute things she did as a baby. Hearing stories about her life helps her see how much she has grown and how many things she has learned and accomplished. This helps her develop self-confidence.
• Share some events from your own childhood that made you feel proud, excited, scared, or embarrassed.
• Keep your family’s history alive by sharing stories you remember hearing as a child.
Playing storytelling games can allow your child to use his imagination and expand his literacy skills.
• Leave one word out of a made-up story and let your child fill in the blank. "Once upon a time, there lived a _______." After she chooses a word that fits, start the next sentence and let the story take on a life of its own.
• Preschoolers and school aged children can help tell a story one full sentence at a time. The more people involved in the game, the more interesting it becomes. When each person takes a turn making up a sentence, you are teaching cooperation, patience and good listening skills.
• ‘Fortunately/Unfortunately’ is a fun game for older children. Participants take turns building the story one sentence at a time, but this time the sentences must alternate between including the words ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’. For example: "Once there was a family of mice who, fortunately, were all happy and healthy." "Unfortunately, a big, hungry cat moved in next door." "Fortunately, the cat was a vegetarian and they became great friends." And so on.
Sharing stories with your child can be a great learning tool, a helpful distraction, or a wonderful bonding experience. Take some time to brush up on a few tales and memories, and get ready to share the art of storytelling!
Shawna Munro works at the Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre, a facility of Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba that offers
parenting information and support.
» 255 Ninth St., Brandon
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 31, 2013