In celebration of World Book Day, Sarah from The Village Storytelling Centre has kindly written a blog, talking about the powerful connections that are possible when a story is shared with an Early Years child.

Creating connections during Storytime

Stories have been, and always will be, an important part of the way we communicate and learn. They help us make sense of the world and see things from new perspectives. Stories teach us to listen and share experiences with others. They support our wellbeing in so many ways and can develop our vocabulary so we can express ourselves clearly. All of this is the same for adults as it is for Early Years Children. However, the connection that is possible when a story is shared with an Early Years child is especially powerful. 

Whether you move around and act out imagined stories, or share a book with them nestled in your arms (so they can ‘see the pictures!’), there are deep and meaningful connections being made. Whether you are passing down traditional oral stories from generation to generation, or exploring a 'touch and feel' book, bonds are being cemented and memories made. 

At the same time, there is some serious learning taking place. Studies show that picture books increase children’s social and emotional literacy. Furthermore, as you share stories, your facial expressions encourage them to observe and copy you.  Another benefit is that they can hear your subtle intonations and emphasised noises. ‘ROAR!’ for example is an extremely exciting, and sometimes terrifying, sound for a wee one. This engagement allows them to experience situations in a safe way, as well as learning, very importantly, that a lion says ‘ROAR!’ 

At The Village Storytelling Centre, we love sharing stories with Early Years children and their families. We enjoy exploring the story and playing games. Here are three activities for Storytime with Early Years children: 

  • Touch and Feel Books: Explore your house and find textures that match those in the book. Do your shiny shoes feel the same as the shark’s tummy? 
  • Picture Book: Find or make the pictures in the book. Is there a picture of a kitchen? Run to the kitchen. Is there a picture of a birds nest? Collect sticks and make a nest.  
  • Act it out: Pretend to be characters in the story. Wiggle like a worm and ‘ROAR’ like a lion. Once you’ve done that you could speed it up for a fast version or slow it down for a slow-mo telling. 

On this World Book Day, we hope you can take a moment to share stories. Re-tell a classic or make your own. Get invested in the plot, be silly with the voices and let loose with your actions. Stories can provide the moments of mindfulness and re-connection we so desperately deserve at the moment. So, take a deep breath, have a cuddle and get ready for a storytelling adventure.