How can I optimise learning during story time?
Are there times in your setting when sharing books with children serve as ‘holding activities’ or is an experience that is regularly interrupted? Understanding dialogic reading will support you to make sharing books a quality learning opportunity for young children.
Sharing books is more than just reading aloud to children. Sharing stories well and maximising the opportunity for communication and language development can take confidence and courage. Children tend to concentrate better individually or in a small group when sharing books as this allows plenty of scope for dialogue with children about the book, including the words (text) and the pictures (illustrations/images). Children have a lot to contribute to telling their version of the book, and this can be encouraged by adults who take the lead as the ‘listener, the questioner, the audience for the child’. (Sullivan 2019). Language development involves both understanding as well as talking, so it is vital that children are given a chance to share books through their own talk about the book and not just being expected to listen and understand the book when an adult reads it. Maximising the language opportunities when sharing books with children will promote not only vocabulary development, but their conversation skills and confidence.
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