Once upon a time… why reading is important

Reading aloud and sharing stories with your child when they are young can help them develop literacy skills and learn about the world around them.

Having fun with words

Children learn words and language skills from listening and engaging in stories, songs and conversations. By reading aloud, sharing stories and singing with your child, you are helping them become familiar with words and sounds. This will develop early literacy skills and help them to go on to read successfully later in life.

Your child will pick up on your voice changes and expressions, so make sure they sit close to you when you read. They will also learn how to hold a book and gently turn the pages by watching you. As you read, try pointing out details in the pictures, asking questions or using funny voices.

Learning through stories

Engaging in a story is also a great way to get your child talking about what they are seeing and thinking. It can help them to understand emotions and feelings and learn the difference between ‘real’ and ‘make believe’.

Stories can also help them to deal with new or frightening experiences. For example, a book about going to the dentist or hospital can help your child learn what to expect in this situation. Having a conversation about what happened after a scary part in a book can help your child understand how to deal with certain events and position you as a role model.

You can encourage your child to become involved in story time by asking your child to choose the books they want to read or joining group story-telling sessions at the library.

 Image children reading together

Published — 16 October 2016 Last updated — 02 November 2016