Choose a good storybook and start a love of reading

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

We all know that reading is good for young learners in terms of developing and improving their literacy and cognitive ability. Did you know that picking a good storybook also helps you with your parenting?  

Here’s why:

  • Reading with your child is bondingIt’s one of the best activities to do with your child. It allows you to spend quality time together, and gives your child the opportunity to have your undivided attention – something that they would definitely prefer to all the toys and electronic devices in the world.
  • Books visualise abstract conceptsValues such as kindness, respect, politeness, and honesty are abstract. Children’s books are usually colourful and well illustrated, which bring all these values to life in a story context. Books visualise the message for you, and make concepts easier to understand.
  • Gives you room to ask questionsReading is not just about telling the story. Ask open-ended questions about the story as these encourage children to think, and gives them a chance to express their feelings. You might be surprised how much they have picked up and what they come up with!  

I once developed a short course based on a book with a colleague, and we found it very effective to talk about “discipline” with our K3 students.

The book was called Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham. The language used in the story was simple and direct. It was about how different animals wanted to go on a boat trip with Mr Gumpy. He told them to behave but they didn’t listen, and the boat tipped over in the end.  

Here are some questions you might ask your child:

  1. Was it right for the animals to do that?
  2. How would you feel if you were Mr Gump?
  3. Why did the boat tip? Was it dangerous?  
  4. What should the animals do?  
  5. When your teacher asks you and your friends to behave, what do you do?  

Mr Gumpy’s Outing won the Kate Greenaway Medal (UK) and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (US). John Burningham has also written many other good children’s books – check them out and enjoy!

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