It’s book time and you are presented with a book to read…one glance and you realise it’s the same choice at last night…and the night before that…and perhaps even the one before that…or last week…
Your child has a favourite book, or story, or multiple! As parents we often say ‘but we’ve read this one, let’s have something new.’ For the child a favourite story important for so many reasons.
- They enjoyed it once and want to enjoy it again!
- They love hearing your voice and the expressions you use
- Hearing a story over and over is essential for memory development
- Hearing a story again allows them to recall what comes next and sequence the events
- Each time they hear a story it builds on their understanding of the character and his or her role and purpose
- The first time they heard it they might have been waiting to see what would happen in the end. The next time they think about the choices made by a particular character, what they look like and their emotions, the third time they might focus on the illustrations or artwork.
- After rereading many times they begin to notice the words and point or look as we read…this is a pre reading skill.
- For an older child rereading a story draws their attention to the structure of a story, beginning, middle and end, the setting and purpose.
As a child becomes very familiar with a story they might start to retell it in their own way. The characters might appear in their imaginary play, they might play dress ups or build a lego house for them. This is an exciting time for parents and teachers as it demonstrates the child’s understanding of the story. Children begin to use expression in different ways to imitate the characters. They think about what is happening and why. This is a step into the world of storytelling.
Mr Me Now (2) is going through an intense phase of favourite stories and retelling. A few months ago I posted about their Book Week activities which included exploring the story of The Gruffallo. My boys spent time daily for over a week creating the forest and telling the story…(there are many more ideas in the link!)
Recently we have been using felt boards to retell popular stories including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The 3 Little Pigs. His face lights up when we sit down and I ask him to tell me the story.
In this retelling of the 3 Little Pigs Me Now sequenced the houses in order of appearance (this took some thinking!) and imitated the voices of the pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.
In this retelling of the Very Hungry Caterpillar Me Now matched up the foods as the caterpillar ate them and counted out the pieces of fruit. Through this story he has grasped a good understanding of the life cycle of caterpillars and butterflies.
Another recent favourite at our house is The Doorbell Rang. We made simple cutouts of the characters and cookies and used them to tell the story as we read. This is a brilliant book for practising sharing and introducing division and multiplication.
They say a book that is a bit rough around the edges is a sign of a book that has been loved and enjoyed. Isn’t that true! Perhaps next time you are presented with a favourite book you could ask the child to tell you the story…or take the role of a character each.