Make Storytelling at Home Fun and Interactive for Your Child

Reading stories is a great way to engage and spend time with your child at home. SPD’s senior EIPIC teacher, Hasliah Hashim, shares some tips to help you get started.

Reading stories is a great way to engage and spend time with your child at home. In this article, we invite SPD’s senior EIPIC teacher, Hasliah Hashim, to share some tips to help you get started. A passionate educator with over ten years of experience, Hasliah works closely to support the Centre Manager in the daily operations at SPD Ability Centre’s Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC).

Today, we rely so much on technology that it is easy for us to get distracted and sucked into the world of action movies, Disney animations, TikTok and YouTube videos. I remember when I was a child, the only ways I can immerse myself in such imaginary worlds were through pretend play with my siblings and reading books. I remember my favourite author was Enid Blyton and I enjoyed reading her stories about the Enchanted Wood and the Magic Faraway Tree. As I read her stories, I would imagine the faces and voices of each character, to help me feel like I was part of the story.

Readings books are fun and can bring us to many different places. As teachers or parents, when we read books aloud to children, it helps to stimulate their imagination and expand their understanding of the world. It helps them to develop language and listening skills, and prepares them to understand the written word.

Studies have shown that the child benefits much more when the reading experience is engaging and active. Here are some ways that you can bring the stories to life:

  • Give characters different voices (e.g., a small, squeaky voice for a mouse, or a loud, deep voice for a scary monster or a dinosaur, etc.)  
  • Add drama to the narration by changing the tone of your voice to go along with the story (e.g. panting when the character is running, yawning when the character is tired, whispering when the character is hiding from his mother, etc)
  • Use accessories or props (e.g. use soft toys or puppets for different characters, hide under blankets when hiding from a character, etc)
  • Link the story to similar real-life experiences (“Remember when we went to the zoo? This looks like the giraffe that we saw.”)
  • Plan trips or activities as an extension to your shared reading (e.g., visit museums, go to the beach, or set up a small tent and have an indoor camping trip, etc)

When reading, it is also important to pause when:

  • Coming across a new or unfamiliar word. Introduce the word and its meaning. (“Are you familiar with the word “foul”? In this book, I think the writer wants to say that his sock smells bad. Eeeeww.”)   
  • Creating anticipation. Let your child anticipate what happens next. (“What do you think the princess will do next?”)
Woman and girl pointing at a colourful picture
  • Demonstrating their understanding of the text by pointing to the illustration or acting out an action. (“Can you point to the yellow butterfly? Show me how fast the train is going.”)
  • You want your child to share his/her opinion. Children love to voice their opinions. You can pause to find out what they think about a character’s behavior, or simply to see if they enjoyed the book. (“Is this a good behaviour? Do a thumbs up or thumbs down”, “How many star stickers will you give this book?”)

There are many more ways to make reading fun at home, such as creating a reading corner with a variety of books, where your child can relax with his/her favourite book. Or listening to an audio book together on top of the actual book. I used to attend free storytelling sessions at the National Library with my daughters when they were younger to get inspirations and ideas. Most importantly, you should also enjoy and have fun while reading to your child. This will help build stronger bonds between you and your child. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a book and let your imagination run wild.

The tips shared above are more suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers. For reading tips that apply to school-age children, please click here.

References

5 ways to make reading fun for your child, Carolyn James

How to make reading fun: 25 Ideas kids will love, Jean Reagan

How to read to your child: Tips and tricks, Raise Smart Kids

16 Benefits of reading to your child, Raise Smart Kids

13 Fun reading tips to turn your reluctant reader into a book lover, Grade Power Learning

Storytelling sessions, National Library Board Singapore

Strategies for reading aloud to young children, Teaching strategies for Early Childhood Education, Breeyn Mack

Photos: Shutterstock.com

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