Share a book every day

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Cumbria Together - Let's talk about early years - week commencing 11 October 2021

In Cumbria we want to promote 'Share a book every day' with early years children at home with their family and friends.

Sharing books with children is fun, it can be a time for closeness, laughing and talking together and it can also help your child to become a lifelong reader and have a love of books.

There is no right or wrong way of doing it and it is never too early to start reading to your child.

Your childcare provider can help with resources to support you to read with your children in a fun and exciting way.

This web page has been developed to share the learning and experiences of sharing books with children to help them develop a love of reading and looking at books.

Not everyone is confident at picking up a book, sharing a book and reading aloud.  One thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way of doing it and it is never too early to start reading to your child.

  • Try and find somewhere away from noise and television and make sure you are not using your mobile phone
  • Make sure you take time to look and talk about the pictures on the pages
  • If your baby chews books to start with, it doesn't matter. They will soon enjoy helping you to turn the pages
  • The use of sound effects for example animal noises will help to bring the story to life and make you both laugh 
  • Encourage family members such as siblings to join in and share a book with your child 
  • For older children, ask some questions when reading together, for example; what can you see on this page? How do you think Goldilocks felt when she saw the bears? What do you think is going to happen next?
  • As your child's language develops encourage your child to tell the story. They can read the pictures to you and talk about what's happening on the page
  • If you think you are not a brilliant reader it doesn't matter because just hearing and listening to your voice is comforting for you baby 

Roots to Reading - a guide to reading for 0 to 4s (PDF 1.7MB)

Tips to make sure your child gets the most out of the times you read together:

  1. Keep it fun
    Reading shouldn't be a chore! When children's experiences are pleasant they are more likely to develop a life-long love of reading
  2. Read with energy 
    Use lots of energy! Using facial expressions and emotion: different voices for different characters; and varying the tempo and volume that you read with will help to create an immersive storytelling experience your children will love. 
  3. Ask questions
    Asking questions as you read can improve understanding and get the child to be an active participant in the reading experience
  4. Explain as you go 
    Explaining what is happening on the pages and allowing time to talk about it as you go through the book can deepen your child's understanding and expand their vocabulary
  5. Point out words
    Pointing out words can really help younger children when it comes to learning to read. Scanning from left to right, as well as showing what a letter and a word is, has been shown to help develop advanced reading skills. 
  6. Look at the pictures/illustrations in the book
    Talking about the pictures in the book is just as important as reading the words
  7. Get them to read along with you 
    This would work especially well with your favourite rhyming books that you have read so many times with them that they can remember parts
  8. Reread the same book 
    This is linked to the above point as it will give them the confidence to join in and helps build fluency and a better understanding of rhythm and language
  9. Encourage the child to retell the story to you
    When they are confident with the story see if they can recite parts of it to you or someone else on their own. This will improve their confidence and help develop their memory and speaking skills.
  • Your child will hear a wider variety of words which will increase their vocabulary 
  • The more you read to your child the more you will strengthen their brain connections
  • You help them become lifelong readers with a love for books
  • Reading aloud will help increase their ability to pay attention and concentrate, and helps develop listening skills
  • You will build a stronger bond with your child - children love adults to read aloud with them, especially because of the physical closeness and emotional bonding it offers
  • Stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world 
  • You help increase your child's capacity for empathy
  • Helps prepare them to understand the written word

Sharing books with babies and young children is a fun way to share talk. You and your child will enjoy the experience, which means there is a strong chance it will become a regular activity.

Talking and listening to young children develops their social and literacy skills and reading aloud is a good way of encouraging two-way communication.

Babies love the sound of their parents' voices and reading aloud to them can be calming during times of distress or unease. Coupled with the appearance of their favourite book and/or character, it can be a very soothing experience and help build the bond between you and your child.

Books introduce children to the exciting world of stories and help them learn to express their own thoughts and emotions.

Stories provide parents and carers with a structure to help them talk to children and listen to their responses. It helps overcome adult inhibitions and provides topics for discussion.

Reading together gives babies and young children the chance to respond. A gurgle in anticipation of a favourite story ending, or a smile of enjoyment, shows you that young children like to communicate and do so from a very young age.

Characters, words and sounds discovered through books can be talked about outside of reading time. Books are an important source of new vocabulary.

Songs and rhymes are especially good for children as the rhythms and repetitive language make it easier for babies to learn language skills.

Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within a single activity and helps to build the foundation for language development.

The majority of brain development occurs in the first three years of a child's life. Reading to babies and young children, and giving them time to respond, will help make the most of this opportunity


Introduction

The aim of the project is to work with early years children to improve speech, language and communication which should over time improve their literacy skills. 

We are proposing to encourage parents and carers to 'Share a book every day' with their child.

Providers will monitor children to ensure they share a book every day, either at home or in the provision.

Process suggestions

Child and parent/carer select a book from the lending library

Parents/carers share the book every day with their child and add a short comment to the 'Share a book every day record'

Providers check the record every day and if the child has not shared a book at home, the provider will try to ensure they do share a book during the session.

Providers look at the types of books being read to ensure the children are experiencing different reading materials and also to identify any areas of special interest they may have which can be shared during the setting activities.

Suggestions for starting the scheme with parents

Explain how it works and the importance of sharing books with their child/children every day. This could be a coffee morning or just a few minutes as parents arrive to collect their child at the end of a session.

If you have meetings with parents to discuss Progress Checks, perhaps you could have a display to launch the scheme.

Could you ask parents to donate a book/s to the scheme? 

You may like to have an event or even a fund raising event to launch the scheme to parents and carers. 

Share a book coffee morning / parent's evening/session

Parent guidance on how to share a book with a child 

Choose the book with your child

Help your child to listen by turning off the TV, phones, radio

Get comfortable and snuggle up together

Encourage your child to hold the book and turn the pages

Talk with your child about the pictures and the story - ask them to point to the pictures 

Ask your child one question for every five comments you make

You can have fun by making sound effects and using different voices

Children will enjoy sharing the same book many times as it helps them to remember the story and develop a love of books

Sharing a book before bed is a special time for you and your child

It doesn't have to be a parent/carer who reads with the child it could be a family member or friends

If you would like to see an example of a child sharing a book, please search for Hungry Little Minds web site. 

Retention of books

Please expect that some of the books will get damaged or lost, sensitively consider how you approach families when this happens, normal wear and tear is acceptable.

Ideas for sourcing books

Fundraising with parents, this could be a special event organised to fundraise for the books you will use for the scheme.

Donations from parents, perhaps you could ask for a book rather than end of term gifts for the staff or ask families to support the scheme by donating a book.  

External funders - you could try organisations such as Lions, Round Table, Rotary, Freemasons (you will be able to find out a contact name if you search the organisation online or your local library may be able to help)

Charity shops - many charity shops have a huge number of good quality children's books and many well put them to one side for you.

Car boot sales - often parents are clearing out their children's books when they have outgrown them and they are usually quite cheap.

Research

More than 1.4 million children and young people in the UK have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). 

Language disorder alone is one of the most common disorders of childhood affecting nearly 10% of children and young people everywhere throughout their lives.

In areas of social disadvantage this number can rise to 50% of all children and young people, including those with delayed language as well as children with identified SLCN.  Statistics quoted in Bercow:Ten Years On 

An independent review of provision for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs in England. March 2018 www.bercow10yearson.com 

Every year, 150,000 of the UK's poorest children start school with language skills a year and a half behind their peers - a gap most will never recover from. Taken from National Literacy Trust 2018

Small groups 1:1, 1:2, gives children the opportunity to delve into the pictures and to go back and review what they have seen and heard. Large group stories do have some impact but for those children who you know will only hear stories in your setting they are not likely to be sufficient. Penny Tassoni advises that the ideal would be for every child to have one shared book a day. Obviously, this would prove to be a challenge but you could identify children who you know will not be read to regularly at home, which she says are the 'unlucky children', and try to share a story with them every day. Tassoni, P Reducing Educational Disadvantage2016

Ready to Read was published in 2015, The document states that; Being able to read well is vital for a child's prospects at school and in life. Yet every year, almost 148,000 children leave primary school in England unable to read well. This includes one third of all children growing up in poverty. For many, the impact on their life chances is likely to be dramatic. This national failing helps explain the persistent educational divide in England that, each year, prevents thousands of our poorest children from fulfilling their potential.

'Language and literacy are entwined.  It is not possible for children to become literate unless they have mastered language, and so the first priority is always to support children's language.' Tassoni, P 2016 Featherstone Reducing Educational Disadvantage.

Other useful sources of information

Share a book every day

National Literacy Trust

BookTrust

Hungry Little Minds

Take a few minutes to stand back and look at your book area. Now consider the following:

  • Is it being used?
  • Is it being used by both boys and girls?
  • Is it cosy and inviting?
  • Is it a calm space?

A designated book/story area is one of the most important areas of provision in your setting. It should be a space that is inviting to children and an area that they want to spend time in. Here are some tips to help you develop or refresh your area so that children want to use it more.

Location - consider the following 

  • Is it in the right place?
  • Is it in a quiet area away from the home corner, music area or block area?
  • Is it an area that is not too busy such as a thoroughfare? 
  • Is it always accessible?
  • Do you have a book area outdoors as well as indoors?

An inviting area - consider the following

  • Is a home like atmosphere provided for your children to make connections?
  • Is there an area where a child can snuggle down to read a book and relax?
  • Do you have a comfy chair or a sofa in the area?
  • Do you have plenty of soft cushions to curl up on?
  • Do you have some small blankets for children to wrap themselves up in?
  • Is it a calm welcoming space?
  • Do you ensure colours and lighting are carefully chosen to avoid over stimulation?
  • Do you have drapes or a den area?

Organising/content of your area - consider the following

  • Are the books forward facing on a shelf or in baskets? 
  • Are your books of good quality and match the age and stage of development of your children?
  • Do your books match the needs and interests of your children?
  • Do they include a variety of hard covers, soft covers, fiction, non-fiction, nursery rhymes, home-made books, magazines, alphabet books, counting books, multi-cultural books, poems, lift the flap and sensory books?
  • Does your area contain photo albums and home-made books showing past activities and outings? 
  • Do you provide picture books and stories that focus on a range of emotions?
  • Do you include books that reflect diversity and inclusion, with plenty of positive images of people from different cultures and in non-stereotypical situations?
  • Do you include books that contain repetition, alliteration, and rhyming? 
  • Are the books refreshed on a regular basis and do you ensure that there are not too many or too few out at one time?
  • Are damaged and torn books discarded?
  • Do you rotate and enhance the area regularly, always maintaining the children's favourite books?
  • Do you include soft toys and puppets to make stories come alive? 

Using your area - consider the following

  • Do practitioners model how to look after books and treat them with care?
  • Do practitioners encourage children to replace the books after they have looked at them?
  • Do practitioners read books with small groups of children or on a 1:1 basis regularly throughout the day?
  • Do practitioners read to children in a way that excites and engages them? 
  • Are your books accessible so that children can reach/chose them independently?

It is important to remember that books are not only to be found in your book area and can be placed in all areas of continuous provision. 

More than 1.4 million children and young people in the UK have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). 

Language disorder alone is one of the most common disorders of childhood affecting nearly 10% of children and young people everywhere throughout their lives.

In areas of social disadvantage this number can rise to 50% of all children and young people, including those with delayed language as well as children with identified SLCN.  Statistics quoted in Bercow:Ten Years On 

An independent review of provision for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs in England. March 2018  

Every year, 150,000 of the UK's poorest children start school with language skills a year and a half behind their peers - a gap most will never recover from. Taken from National Literacy Trust 2018

Small groups 1:1, 1:2, gives children the opportunity to delve into the pictures and to go back and review what they have seen and heard. Large group stories do have some impact but for those children who you know will only hear stories in your setting they are not likely to be sufficient. Penny Tassoni advises that the ideal would be for every child to have one shared book a day. Obviously this would prove to be a challenge but you could identify children who you know will not be read to regularly at home, which she says are the 'unlucky children', and try to share a story with them every day. Tassoni, P Reducing Educational Disadvantage2016

Ready to Read was published in 2015, The document states that; Being able to read well is vital for a child's prospects at school and in life. Yet every year, almost 148,000 children leave primary school in England unable to read well. This includes one third of all children growing up in poverty. For many, the impact on their life chances is likely to be dramatic. This national failing helps explain the persistent educational divide in England that, each year, prevents thousands of our poorest children from fulfilling their potential.

'Language and literacy are entwined.  It is not possible for children to become literate unless they have mastered language, and so the first priority is always to support children's language.' Tassoni, P 2016 Featherstone Reducing Educational Disadvantage

By 22 months-a child's language development can predict outcomes at age 26. By ages 2-3 years-a child's narrative skills are a powerful predictor of literacy skills at 8-13 years. By 4 years- the difference in the number of words children from disadvantaged backgrounds hear is 19 million. By 5 years- a child's vocabulary will predict their educational success and outcomes at age 30. (I CAN 2014).

  • Supermarket magazines
  • Catalogues
  • Car/farming magazines
  • Leaflets/flyers
  • Maps
  • Menus and shopping lists

Opportunities for conversations in everyday life

  • Food labels
  • Road signs
  • Shop/restaurant signs and logos
  • Going for a walk: what can you see?
  • Travelling in the car