There is a 'special-somethingness' to story time that I've never been able to shake off (from my early childhood years right up until now-in my early thirties). The memories of my sisters and I huddled together on our parents' bed...completely enraptured in the gentle drone of mom's voice as we journeyed through various kingdoms, set in different eras, meeting all sorts of amazing characters...are still as vivid today as the whole story time experience was -a good 25t years ago!
I'm 33years old now and story time is still one of my favourite things! Nevermind my children...'I' LOOOVE STORYTIME! This love for story time (nurtured from a tender age) undoubtedly oozed into a love for books and quite effortlessly and delightfully, 'the love' is now oozing onto my own kids! So, I really couldn't wait to share the next couple of nuggets that have helped to make story time an unforgettable experience for me and my children. I hope you'll find them helpful...
1) Choose a time when household activity is minimal. This is why bedtime is a great time to have STORYTIME as everybody is now in a 'winding down' mode. I have also found Saturday mornings to be really good for us too. Everybody usually lies in, no pressure to get going with day, everybody is relaxed...a perfect time to wrap into STORY TIME with the kids!
2) Choose a convenient place where there's minimal distraction. The bedroom(either your kids or yours) is usually a good choice as there is no distraction from TV, radio and other activities going on in the house. The kids bedroom is best for story time at night as you can conveniently tuck them into bed after. And for us, the Saturday morning story times usually happen on mom n dad's bed. The bedroom vibe is very relaxing and such an atmosphere is important for an enjoyable story time experience
3) Have some physical contact going on during STORYTIME. You could have your child nestled in the crooks of your arms, or if they are many, huddled up closely around you, sitting on your laps...any form of some physical contact is a winner! It just makes the reading experience so much more intimate and special
4) Position the book in such a way as to ensure that your child has full view of how the story is progressing and can maybe even turn the pages themselves
5) Figure out the appropriate time span for your child. The younger they are, the shorter story time should be. If the book cannot be finished in one session, read it in stages. You want story time to be short enough to still have your kids 'enraptured' at the end but long enough to have a 'satisfying' feel, rather than a 'short lived' feel.
5) Always read the title of the book or story before you start-it builds anticipation! Read through the story at a pace that everyone can grasp. Read with expression and creativity, giving different voices to different characters in the book. Allow room for questions and comments as you go along. You could even pause for a demonstration or two, just to 'fun' it all up. If there are sentences that have an obvious finish line, start the sentence and let your child finish (i.e. and they lived...HAPPILY EVER AFTER!). At the end of the story, ask a couple of age appropriate questions. Nothing hectic-just more of a recap of the story. You could also ask them to sum up the story for you. My six year old daughter loves being given 'a turn' during and after story time thus our story times tend to be quite interactive. Make your kids participants of story time and not just spectators(leave spectating to the classroom environment!)
6) If expression doesn't come easily for you, then put some preparation into story time. Find a window during the day to browse through the book, cultivating ideas of how you can make the experience interactive and enjoyable. It will pay off...I PROMISE!
Story time is really more than just a time of 'growing an appetite for books' in your kids. It's also a great time to bond and have quality time with the kids. The warm fuzzy feel my children and I share during story time is quite like none other activity we do together. It's just a 'notch' more special!
So, to all the other lovers of story time, do share your own story time experience with your kids! If you had a great childhood experience in this area, we'd love to hear your account! If you have had to learn the art of story telling, without having previously experienced it in your childhood, we'd really appreciate hearing how you went about it! When is a good time and where is a good place, for story time in your household?