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We love stories – a blog from Kate Freeman, Lead Communication Advisor at I CAN

This week our blog is dedicated to our membership of the Read On.Get On campaign which is focussing on getting little ones ready to read by helping parents develop 2-5 year old’s communication skills.

People love to tell and hear stories. It’s really important in our overall culture and in certain groups it’s more important than others. Stories connect us to one another. They give us a sense of who we are and who went before us. They stoke our imagination. They tell us cautionary tales and warn us off behaviours which won’t do us any good – conjuring up visions of the boy who cried wolf or one of the children who didn’t heed the warnings of Willy Wonka in his factory.

We love stories for these reasons at I CAN, but we also love stories because in the telling and listening we are developing and honing our communication skills. The best storyteller widens their eyes or uses gestures to convey the wonder and excitement needed to best appreciate it. The best storytellers use different tone and voice – helping us to imagine the different characters and what happens to them. The best storytellers revel in the response they get from attentive listeners and co-conspirators who cheer, whoop, boo and hiss when required of them.

When we share stories with the youngest of children we are giving them lots of new skills and helping them develop skills for life. We broaden their vocabulary. We help them understand social cues and norms. We help them understand and then when they come to read those stories for themselves they benefit from that pre reading skill , that readiness from being a listening participant in a tall tale, so they can develop their reading without having to start further behind.

This week we’ve been part of Read On. Get On’s push to help parents share stories with their youngest children. Because it’s never too early to start getting ready to read. And also because it’s not that hard. Storytime is anytime. You can make a wonderful story from something very mundane – you can turn a chore into an adventure and add language learning opportunities to the things we do already – putting on our pyjamas talking about our day, making or eating a meal together and imagining what a favourite character might want for tea if they were there tonight too.

We love stories – we’d love to hear your stories and what you did with Read On. Get On’s Story Starters this week. Keep on sharing stories- you’re doing the world of good!

A blog by Kate Freeman, Lead Communication Advisor at I CAN