The importance of story time 

Story time is an essential activity for children that can spark their imagination, boost their language and literacy skills, and develop their emotional intelligence. This activity not only creates a wonderful opportunity for bonding between parents and children but also provides educational benefits that can impact a child’s cognitive development in a positive way. In this article, we will explore why story time is important for children and how to approach it to maximize its benefits. 

Why story time matters 

1. Promotes brain development 

Story time plays a crucial role in your child’s brain development. When children listen to stories, their brains are hard at work trying to create images and make connections from the text. These mental processes help children develop their cognitive and language skills and improve their memory, focus, and attention span. 

2. Builds vocabulary 

Talking and reading to your child helps build their vocabulary and language skills. Exposing children to a wide range of words during story time and using different tones and expressions can expand their language abilities and improve their communication skills. 

3. Nurtures a love for reading 

Story time can also help foster a love for reading in children. When parents read books to their children regularly, it creates a connection between books and pleasure, encouraging them to look for books on their own. By helping them develop a love for reading at an early age, it could lead them to be lifelong learners and readers. 

4. Sparks imagination 

Story time can fire up a child’s imagination. When a child listens to a story, they are transported to a different world, where they create their own images and engage their creativity. This activity can teach children how to be strategic thinkers and encourage them to come up with creative solutions to problems. 

5. Develops emotional intelligence 

Lastly, story time can help develop a child’s emotional intelligence. Listening to stories that explore different themes, characters, and emotions can help children understand their own feelings, as well as develop empathy and awareness of other people’s emotions. 

How to approach story time 

Now that we understand why story time is essential for children, let’s take a look at how to approach it to maximise the benefits. Here are some tips on how to get started: 

1. Choose age-appropriate books: You can select picture books or stories appropriate for your child’s age. The books you select should not be too complicated for them to understand, nor should they be too simple. You can encourage your child to select books that they find interesting by taking them to join the library 

2. Create a cosy reading environment: You can choose a cosy corner or a comfortable spot for story time. Try to remove any distractions that could steal your child’s attention. You can also create a calm atmosphere by dimming the lights or playing soft music. 

3. Make it interactive: While reading the stories, try to be interactive by using different tones, voices or expressions for different characters. You can ask your child to participate by encouraging them to answer questions or making predictions about what will happen in the story. 

4. Discuss the book: After story time, you can discuss the book with your child. Try to ask them questions about the story, what they liked and what they didn’t. This creates an opportunity to develop their recall and language skills. 

5. Use story time to develop life skills: Story time is a great opportunity to teach children about values and good behaviour. You can use the stories you read to encourage values such as honesty, respect, or sharing. You can also use the story to teach children about diversity, inclusion, and kindness. 

6. Make it a regular activity: Consistency is key. Make story time a regular activity in your child’s routine. You can set aside a specific time for reading together, like before bed, or make it a special activity to be enjoyed together whenever you have a free moment. 

Story time offers many benefits for children, and it is a simple activity that you can include in your child’s routine. By following these simple tips, you can maximise the benefits of story time and foster a love for reading in your child, while helping them develop crucial life skills at the same time. Time to get started? Join Oldham Libraries