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Preparing Children For Starting Big School - Pre-Reading Skills
Jo and Lisa, Early Years Professionals
Reading and sharing books is not just a bedtime activity!

Share books with children from a very young age as even babies enjoy the interaction and closeness of sharing a picture book.

By doing this, children are exposed to turning the pages, looking and discussing the pictures, tracking the text and begin to realise that words on the page relate to the content of the book.

It is important that as adults we take opportunities to model telling a story, ask questions as the story proceeds (who? what? when? where? why?) and predict what might happen, thereby increasing the anticipation and firing our child’s imagination. These are all extremely valuable pre-reading skills.

Children love to retell favourite stories and using the narrative within their play. Parents and carers can actively encourage this activity by providing props that can be used in the retelling such as puppets, small world figures, masks and items for dressing up.

By retelling stories, children develop their narrative skills and extend their language and vocabulary. To retell stories, children need to be aware of the sequence of events and the key features which improves their comprehension and knowledge of story structure.

Children particularly love stories that contain a repetitive refrain, which are often a feature of the most popular fairytales: 'Run, run as fast as you can you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.’

Children all over the world love listening to stories and audio books can add another dimension to their experience of storytelling. Listening to audio stories has 3 main benefits:

Improves listening skills developing their attention span and concentration. Children tend to talk more than they listen, listening to a story not only makes them more attentive, but keener to listen and understand.
Encourages creativity and imagination. Listening to a story helps a child imagine the characters, places, plot and so on instead of seeing it on a visual medium. This also enhances creativity, making them more imaginative and open to ideas and free thinking. 
Enhances language skills as they learn new words and phrases
.

Also by Jo and Lisa...
Starting Big School – Top Tips For Learning Letter Sounds
Nursery Rhymes Have Enormous Educational Value
Preparing Children For Starting Big School – Top Tips For The First Half Term
Preparing Children For Starting Big School: The First Day
Preparing Children For Starting Big School – Everyday Activities Provide Learning Opportunities
When children start school, parents are usually keen for them to start reading and eagerly await for the first reading book to be sent home.

They can then be disappointed if the book they are sent does not have any text not realising the value of all of these pre-reading skills.

It is so much better to gain confidence and skills using picture clues giving children an enjoyment of books rather than be faced with words that have no relevance to the pre-reader.

Then when that first reading book is sent home children have all the pre-reading skills in place and are ready to make that flying start!

Preparing Children For Starting Big School - Pre-Reading Skills, 4th June 2018, 12:00 PM