by Donya Vike
Reading and enjoying a good story can look a little different for everyone! Through early exposure to books, children become familiar with patterns of reading in their own language. Exposure to books can be done in many ways to suit the needs and interests of the child.
One effective way is through play, which allows children to explore, connect to their world, and develop their imagination and creativity. Using play as a means to make a story come “alive” is a great way to engage young children with books.
This opportunity allows both the adult and child to access their creativity and engage with one another and a story in a meaningful way.
Playing with a story can be as simple or as complex as one desires and success can be seen in a range of ways.
Some examples of successful interaction with a story would include but are not limited to: the child making eye contact with the adult telling the story, touching the book, looking at the pictures (even if for just a few seconds) or beginning to interact with or lead the play connected to the story.
Always have the book nearby for reference when “playing” with the story.
Four simple ways to tell or retell a story in an interactive and playful way, include: Representing characters from the story with objects from around the house
Recreating the setting of the story using play dough, felt pieces, a simple painted background made by the kids or other mediums to allow opportunities to “play with” the narrative
Dramatizing the story using your voice to tell the story, making it loud, soft, squeaky, low or using your facial expressions to tell the story and emphasize a character, emotion, setting or mood
Being resourceful and using your real-life setting indoors or outdoors and whatever it has to offer you and your child.
Exposure to books and reading does not have to be a “one-size-fits-all” experience! Be creative and make reading with your child a unique and special experience!
Donya Vike is a Literacy Facilitator and early years educator with Cariboo-Chilcotin Partners for Literacy
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