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Over the last 20 years working in Early Years and having my own children, I have discovered some favourites that have stood the test of time and seem to capture any child’s imagination.
The Gruffalo, or anything by Julia Donaldson
The rhyming in these books is brilliant, children adore them. These books are fun, entertaining, colourful, clever and totally engaging. From a parent’s point of view I love reading them and can happily read them over and over again. This is not the case with many other children’s stories whereby I inwardly sigh when my children ask me to read a particular one for the 10th time!! Other titles include: “A Squash and a Squeeze” “Room on the Broom” “Smartest Giant in Town” and “Tiddler”. Really fantastic books.
Whatever next by Jill Murphy
Wonderful story to encourage role play, give your child a large cardboard box, a colander, wellie boots, biscuits and an apple then get involved. This provides hours of fun talking about what you might see or do on the moon and using your imaginations together.
We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Another favourite, children love to make all the sounds and this book is easily transferable to outdoor activities, walking through the woods “stumble trip” walking on the beach “squelch squerch” and of course hiding under the covers in bed!! When reading with children, encourage them to look at everything that is happening in the pictures, talk about what they can see, get them to guess what will happen next. With this book in particular you can talk about how it feels to walk through mud or water or grass.
Winnie the Witch series by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul
The pictures in these books are wonderful, the stories are possibly for 3 years plus but younger children will enjoy the pictures. They are funny entertaining books where Winnie always gets herself into trouble but manages to do the right thing in the end.
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
A wonderful story that children will love when they are young and continue you to well in to school years. Great fun to spot the characters; talk about rhyming words and favourite fairy stories.
Tips for story reading
Read in different places: the garden, the park, make a den, under the covers, under the table or in the dark with a torch.
Practice wild and wacky voices, children don’t judge they love it! Let out your inner child.
Provide props or make story sacks, find small toys animals from the story, or different sized bears, buy the fruit to try or make a rocket from a cardboard box.
Notice what authors your children really like; they will also have a preference for a style of writing.
Buy information books about your child’s favourite subject and look things up together. “Google it” is not always the answer!!
Make it part of your everyday routine, or weekend routine, take a book with you to a restaurant or park.
Find books, places and authors you can enjoy together if you enjoy reading your child will too.