We have the highest aspirations for our children to learn to read and make reading a priority at Wheatley Nursery School. The most important starting point is to read to children. Reading to children is the best way of encouraging them to love books and reading. By reading stories aloud to our children every day, we hope to form a link between reading and comfort and love. When adults love a book, children want to hear it again, and again, and again…! Children thrive on repetition, so when we read books over again, we are hard wiring their brains for success. Often, the more we read, the more the story ‘belongs’ to the child. When children know the story well they will want to ‘read it’ over and over again, joining in with the actions and expressions that adults use.
Parent video: Why read to your child?
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Stories, nursery rhymes, poems and songs
Children need lots of opportunities to develop familiarity with stories, nursery rhymes, poems and songs. As children grow, they build strong emotional attachments to the memories associated with learning stories, nursery rhymes, poems and songs. They become an important link between past and present, as they are passed down from generation to generation.
As children chant the exaggerated patterns in the rhymes or songs, they develop a strong sensitivity to rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. On each repetition, they deepen their familiarity with the words and phrases. The more children know the rhyme, the more they ‘own it’. By reading aloud to our children, we hope to take them into a world that goes well beyond our typical everyday spoken language. Stories teach children to:
- Sustain attention
- Learn thousands of new words
- Deepen their knowledge of words on every retelling
- Hear exaggerated patterns in words and phrases- discrete sounds, rhyme and alliteration
- Link thoughts from one part of the story to another
- Become familiar with complex and compound sentences
- Understand the emotions of others
- Build pictures in their minds from the words on a page
- Find out about new places, people and things
- Understand the nuance of humour
- Follow a plot with twists and turns
- Understand suspense and predict what’s about to happen next