To celebrate National Share-A-Story Month and the power of stories we have launched our campaign #ToddlerTales which focusses on the children benefitting from a Story Starters volunteer. #ToddlerTales enables children to tell their stories through our Story Starter volunteers and lets us find out what the children enjoy the most about the sessions.  

On a weekly basis, our Story Starters provide children in local early years’ settings (e.g. nurseries) one-to-one support and encouragement to develop their language and communication skills and help them start school ready to read.

Find out more about Story Starters here

The Story Starters children reactions to the reading sessions with their volunteer differ from child to child. Our volunteer, Heleema, explains that she loves the reaction of the children as they are often waiting for her to read for them, which is very encouraging. It has been mentioned by several of our volunteers that the children tend to link the stories from the books they are experiencing with situations in their own life.

Story Starter volunteer, Isobel, explains that one of the children she supports loves to relate the stories to his own life experiences, the fact that he is talking about his experiences is wonderful for developing his language skills. Penny continues: “I love it when the children relate a part of the stories to incidents in their own lives. One time a child recalled going to 'Chiquitos' restaurant with her Mum as we read Stanley's Café. Another told me of his friend who lived in a block of flats (but at the bottom) when we read My world, your world.” Another one of our volunteers adds: “The children are beginning to connect the stories with their own experiences, for example when we read Dear Zoo, the child I support said ‘we have a dog at home, he poos in the room!’”

Introducing children to books in their early years is extremely valuable, especially when they are able to connect a book to their real life experiences. This creates a great opportunity to discuss real life experiences and use this as a springboard to have discussion on real life topics (Source: CommunityPlayThings).

Amy Lewis, Programme Development and Training Manager at Beanstalk says:

“Linking things that children see and hear about in books to experiences they have had in their own life builds a bridge between books and the real world. For example if you are reading a book that features farm animals you could ask the children if they’ve been to a farm park, this will help them bring to mind the sights, sounds and smells(!) of the farm animals which helps children to gain more meaning from the words or the pictures. It also gives them an opportunity to practise their narrative and conversational skills with you.” This is valuable knowledge to have next time you are reading with a child, and you would like to talk about more real life topics that the child might have experienced themselves. 

Find out more about Story Starters here