Research specifically shows that the benefits of reading are more likely to be felt when reading takes place through free choice. The outcomes of reading will occur more often and more strongly if reading is enjoyable. This is why the 'for pleasure' element of reading for pleasure is so important.
Reading is not something that children should only do in school; it needs to be
an everyday part of our lives, something we choose to do at all ages.
At St Clement's Infant School we want to build a culture of reading that will develop a lifelong love of reading for all children.
We are passionate about making a difference and promoting this love of reading. We aim to empower children to explore the multitude of worlds beyond their own world. So how do we do this? Here are some of the things we do:
Class Story Time
Reading to the class remains a priority and everyday, every class is read to by their teacher. This is a perfect opportunity for the children to hear a well read engaging story and to be immerged in the world of story. This is a non-negotiable!
On a Tuesday we celebrate poetry by sharing a monthly poem in class. These session allow the children to learn a range of poems, explore language, share opinions and also learn the importance of performance!
Involving the community
At St Clement's we love to involve our parents. We aim to support parents with tips and techniques for helping children develop reading, comprehension skills and a love of reading.
Each year we aim to have a 'Book Swap' event where children can donate books and swap them for something different. This is a great way of promoting enjoyment of books and gives children an opportunity to select what they like.
World Book Day and other reading events
We love to celebrate at St Clement's!
Like other schools around the world we too celebrate World Book Day! However, it is important to remember that it shouldn’t be about spending money on a costume for the children to dress up but a day to celebrate and enjoy books. We also take part in Poetry Day and storytelling week during the year and have a reading festival in the summer.
Stories teach us about the world, they allow us to step into someone else’s shoes and feel empathy, they help us to relax and escape and they can help develop essential literacy skills.
Top Tips for storytelling:
Whatever story you’re telling, your tone of voice is crucial both in helping your children to understand the story and in keeping them engaged. Use your voice to convey emotions in the story. You can do this by:
Another good idea is to use different voices for different characters within your story. This will help your children to differentiate between all the different people and can also help them visualise the characters more effectively.
Stopping to ask your child questions as you are reading or telling a story can help keep them engaged and ensure that they are following the plot. Encourage them to answer questions both about what is happening and how they feel about what is happening throughout the story.
Children will often stop and comment or question events for themselves. As frustrating as this can be for the storyteller, it’s a good idea to encourage this so that children feel engaged and included in the storytelling process.
Another great way to help your children feel involved in the storytelling process is to tell them stories that include repeated phrases or rhymes that they can join in with (think, the Three Little Pigs - “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”)
You can, of course, create your own repeated phrases if you’re telling your own story
Don’t limit yourself to fiction. Your own childhood or pre-children life can be a great source of inspiration for stories that your children will love hearing. You may, of course, embellish or leave certain details out but don’t underestimate the power of your own stories.
You could also try telling your children stories about when they were babies or very young children. Most children love hearing funny stories about themselves. Again, you don’t have to limit yourself to the absolute truth – start with a funny event and embellish it.
5) Create a new and random story using the dice game below.
For more tips and ideas for how to be a great storyteller have a look at this website:
A reading environment
It may seem obvious, but the school environment can really make a big impact. All classrooms have clearly thought out reading corners and much emphasis has been placed on not only how they look, but how accessible, welcoming they are and stocked up with good quality, appropriate books. Sometimes less is best!
Find out how you can help your child's reading at home:
Getting ready for reading (Ages 3-4)
Starting to read (Ages 4-5)
Building on reading skills (Ages 5-6)
Developing confidence as a reader (Ages 6-7)
Building independence (Ages 7-9)