The Importance of Childrens Books...
Books are an important and integral part of the early years curriculum.
Thay are provided in all nurseries and classrooms. Reading and story time are part of each day.
Some children also have books at home and read with parents and carers.
This early experience of books is very important in establishing positive attitudes to books and to reading.
Below are some of the main skills that can be developed and nurtured.
Books and stories can be introduced to very young children.
Although the child may not fully understand the story, a quiet intimate time reading with a parent or carer forms a positive association for the child.
This in turn helps to establish a habit of reading and listening to stories that has many benefits for the child.
Language is learned: the more exposure a child has to different patterns in language, the
richer their own language is likely to be.
Initially this will be expressive (spoken) language, later read and written language.
Listening to stories and talking about books enables young children to listen and respond to the sound and rhythm of spoken language.
This is important to speech development at all levels.
Initially children need to recognise the sounds and rhythms that occur in their language; once this has been established they need to practise and refine their use of spoken language.
Listening to stories can also extend a child's vocabulary. As long as most of the language in the text is familiar to the child new, imaginative language can be introduced.
The child will begin to understand these new words by their context, that is, how they used and linked with the story line and the pictures.
Experience with books and story telling is also an important part of a child's early understanding of symbols.
A child who has contact with books begins to understand that the squiggles on the page represent speech.
This is a vital skill in the development of reading and writing.
Books and stories are enjoyable. They give children the opportunity to express a whole range
of positive emotions.
They provide a rich imaginative world that can be a source of great pleasure to the child, and through identification with the characters and the storyline children can develop and practise their own responses to events and experience situations and feelings that are beyond their own life experiences.
This can be done in a safe environment where the child has an element of control over events.
Books, if carefully chosen, can provide a rich source of imagination for a child.
They can stimulate interesting and exciting thoughts and ideas.
The development of imagination is an important part of being creative.
Creative thoughts and ideas are an important part of the quality of life and neccessary to the development of society.
Books can also introduce children to a wide range of concepts.
Repitition and context enable children to develop their understanding of the world that they live in.
Listening to stories, recalling and sequencing the events are also positive ways of extending young children's concentration span and memory.
Books and stories are more than just the presentation of a sequence of events; they carry in them
a whole range of messages about how a society functions.
This includes acceptable patterns of behaviour, expectations of groups within the society and moral codes of right and wrong.
Children pick up these messages. It is therefore vital that books for young children portray a positive view of society and the people within that society.
This positive view of the world contributes towards young children developing a balanced and constructive outlook on life.
Group story time and sharing books contribute to the development of social skills of sharing, turn taking and co-operating with others.
Children begin to learn that they have to take other people's needs and wishes into account.
Story time can also provide children and adults with the opportunity to build and maintain relationships.
If a cosy and comfortable environment is provided it offers a sense of closeness and intimacy for the children and adults involved.
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