Three benefits of telling stories to children
18 May 2018
Experts often extol reading as a beneficial activity for children, as it helps boost their language proficiency and is a good opportunity for holistic education.
The age-old practice of reading stories aloud to children offers even more benefits. Here are three ways which your child can gain from storytelling:
It boosts speaking and listening skills
Children pick up behaviours and habits by imitating the adults around them. Reading stories aloud helps children to familiarise themselves with the spoken language - how words and phrases are used to string together sentences, and how various words are pronounced.
The early years is when children would absorb many words which they would use throughout their lives. Telling stories to children helps develop their comprehension skills as they attempt to listen and understand the story that is being read to them.
It encourages learning
Storytelling encourages your child to ask questions as the plot progresses, instead of simply reading passively. When children have questions, it means they are thinking beyond the story and its characters, and this can help develop creativity and critical thinking skills. You can prompt your child to think beyond the story too, by posing to them open-ended questions such as “Why do you think (character) did this?”.
Besides encouraging your child to ask questions, you can pique your child’s interest further by working together to make spin-off tales from the story you’ve just read. This encourages them to use their imagination and get them excited about reading.
It creates time to bond
Every child is different, and so their interests would vary too. Reading to your child opens an opportunity to discuss the reading material’s content. Take the chance to find out if your child is interested in the plot. If they are not, what would they find enjoyable? This could provide some ideas on what books you could get for your child on the next trip to the library or bookstore. It is also a chance for you to find out about their reading ability.
Beyond learning about your child’s reading habits and abilities, reading together is also a way for you to find out more about their interests and personality. For instance, if your child gravitates towards books on dinosaurs, they could be fascinated with prehistoric animals. Or if your child loves a particular protagonist, could it be that they can relate to the character?
Storytelling creates an opportunity for your child to share experiences that could be similar to the plot. They may even reveal that the book’s characters bear resemblance to friends or teachers.
This school holidays, bring your child to the following workshops or storytelling sessions and pick up useful tips and tricks at the same time:
- Storytelling Centre Limited’s programmes for parents and children (various dates and times)
Find out more about how you can encourage positive reading habits, and check out these activities and games that can help your child to learn as they enjoy their books.