This is just a quick share of something that has really worked for us.
We wanted to develop children’s love of story and build that breadth of language that children have. We found that a number of our youngest children were not being read to at home and in-particular were not being read bedtime stories. We found that children were not seeing the joyous side of reading. Reading at home had become a trawl through a phonics related book (this was very much our fault).
For many these books were uninspiring and we realised they missed the essence of reading together, they missed the joy of talking and discussing a story, they missed the rhythms and patterns of great stories, they missed the prediction, the anticipation, the moments of revelation, they missed the creativity of language. (That’s not to say children don’t practice their reading at home as well.)
Because of that we set up the bedtime library for our youngest children. (it now goes all the way into year 2).
Essentially it’s a library of great children’s books (mainly picturebooks) to read and share at bedtime. The quality of the books is important.
It’s about putting great books in the hands of parents and children and helping them share them together. Let me say that it’s not about the children reading them to their parent, it’s about the parents reading them to their children. We have also run workshops with parents to help them, for some of our parents this is daunting that is why we always focus it on them and their child. Ultimately, it’s about a parent snuggling with their child and sharing a great book. It’s about creating bedtime routines, structures and special time.
It’s not rocket science. Children borrow the books for a week and then change it. Reading and rereading the same story is part of it, sometimes children don’t want to bring it back they love the book they have so much.
It takes a little investment to get the books, (my charity shop trawling has really helped with this) and we’ve found that we have to not be precious, if a book doesn’t come back, that doesn’t mean they child doesn’t get another one.
That’s it really…it really is that simple. We have a 95% uptake with our Reception children which is just fantastic and Year 1s and 2s are equally as keen.
Reading is so much more than decoding, it’s important we don’t lose sight of that.
(Now if somebody would like to offer us some books or money to expand it that would be great ;-))
Here is a list…that might help.