Story time is an amazing activity to help children with their language and literacy skills and studies prove this positive effect on a child’s cognitive skills and the associated flow-on effects throughout their lives and into schooling years. Reading a story to a child (or having them read to you) is an interactive experience – it’s designed to be shared between two or more people. Giving a child your time and attention is a self-esteem building experience; and humans were simply designed to interact with others. This could be in a group setting (such as story time between a teacher and their class) or more personal (a bedtime story with a parent or carer).
Language development is also strengthened during these interactions. Children broaden their vocabulary by hearing new words and understanding their meaning in the context of the story. The verbal communication involved in reading a story also demonstrates the correct pronunciation of words and the phonemes (individual sounds) which comprise them.
Concepts about print are another advantage of reading to and with a child which otherwise, can be missed. These concepts include the knowledge that words are comprised of letters; that words have meaning and make sentences; that sentences start with capitals and end with a full stop; and that we read from left to right. These explicit teachings are harder to understand without exposure to story books, but are essential to the skill of reading (and writing).