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How to Continue Storytime at Home – Practitioners Tips for Parents

You have probably spent the best part of the year telling your parents how important storytime is for their child’s development and literacy skills. So what happens when the six week break comes? Here we share some top tips on how to continue storytime at home, for practitioners to share with parents. 

Longer nights, holidays and warmer weather all mean that our normal routines can change slightly over the summer holidays. Even if your nursery setting is open over the summer, you may have children who are taking some time out to go on holiday. Perhaps you have teacher parents in your setting who take their children out of nursery over the summer?

Either way, things are going to be slightly different to normal and for children this can be fun but may also feel a little unusual. Keeping storytime alive not only promotes language development in early childhood, it also supports routines and builds relationships as parents share books with their children. 

The importance of storytime. 

Storytime is such a lovely part of the day that parents get to share with their children. We all lead busy lives but making time to sit down with a favourite picture book, reading aloud with their child, is such a cemented part of a families routine it is important to not let this slide over the summer. 

Remind parents/guardians of children in your setting of the importance of storytime as a way to gently encourage the continuation of reading with their little ones. 

Just SOME of the benefits of storytime are:

1) It promotes language development in early childhood. 

2) Strengthens relationships as families bond over reading a book together. It provides the opportunity to spend quality time without any other distractions. 

3) Helps to build routines and creates a relaxed space and environment for both children and their parents. 

3) Helps children’s imaginations to grow and blossom. They will use this within their play which in turn will develop their personal, social and emotional skills.  

4) Storytime and reading together is particularly beneficial in supporting multilingualism within your setting for your EAL students. This will also support the home links between practitioner and parents. 

To find out ways to encourage a love of reading in the early years, read thisprevious blog post. 

How to continue storytime at home – tips for parents. 

We know now the importance of storytime, but what top tips can you be offering parents for them to try at home?

1) Create an inviting reading space/reading corner in the home. Having a specific place to sit and read together will make storytime feel all that more special. The space needs to feel cosy and away from other distractions such as the tv or kitchen area (where snacks are kept!). Remind parents that they don’t need to have a big house with lots of rooms to create the perfect reading corner. Simply add some comfy cushions or chairs, perhaps some bright posters on the walls or a lamp on a table will be enough for a cosy space to read together. 

2) Take books away on holiday with you. If there are families in your setting who have holidays booked, remind them to leave space for books in the suitcase. Reading doesn’t have to stop just because they are going away, and reading in a new environment may even bring a different perspective to storytime. And with that in mind…

3) Mix up where storytime happens! The comfy, cosy reading corner you created is great but if the weather is warm enough head outside. Bring the cushions with you if you prefer or find a tree stump or box to sit on. Lay down a picnic blanket with a pile of picture books to read together, letting the child select which one they prefer. Parents could even offer themed books based on their surroundings: ones about nature, den building or being in the woods, for example. Get the child to bring along a favourite teddy to read to as well. 

4) Introduce new books for the summer holidays. Keep the book shelves interesting by adding new books in time for the summer holidays. Suggest parents could raid a second hand book shop or start up a book swap with other parents. Children will have their favourite books that they love to read over and over again, but introducing some new books every now and again will be exciting for them too. Perhaps you could even offer some of your early years resources to parents who may be struggling to buy new books this summer. 

5) Where possible stick to the bedtime routine even if the timings are different. We all like to stay up a little bit later during the summer months as we make the most of the extended daylight. So while a later bedtime is okay every now and again, by still sticking to the routine of bath, book, bed, will help children get to bed and keep the familiar routine even when on holiday. 

6) Encourage parents to make time for some down time on those busy days. Having lots of days out is great but children really need some down time too. Use this opportunity to sit together and read a book.  

Polylino  encourages shared reading at home. 

Polylino is a multilingual digital picture book service for nurseries and primary schools to use with children aged 0-7 years old. This digital solution hosts a wide range of picture books which can be read aloud or listened to in English. Many of the books can also be listened to in over fifty different languages. 

We have partnered with publishers and literature experts in the UK to provide hundreds of high-quality picture books on your smart device or computer which are fully aligned with the EYFS and KS1 curriculum.

While Polylino isn’t available for parents/guardians to purchase and use at home, education providers can select our home access option which allows pupils to use Polylino to support their learning journey at home.

For further reading, you may enjoy this post from Penguin books on5 Ways To Keep Storytime Fun. 

This blog post is full of inspiration for you to share with the parents in your setting on how to continue storytime at home. Share with your team so you are all offering the same advice to support parents/guardians as they continue their reading journey together with their children.