At the library, we often talk about the five early literacy practices: reading, writing, singing, playing, and talking. When children practice these activities, they develop early literacy skills that will help prepare them for when they learn to read and write in school. Today, we’re focusing on a form of talking: sharing family stories.
What are Family Stories?
Family stories are simply stories about events that happened to you or someone else in your family. For example, think of something funny that happened while you were out and about this week, on a past vacation, or during your childhood. It could be the story about how your parents met, or about when you brought home a new family pet. They can be brand-new stories or stories that you have shared over and over again.
Just like any time you talk with your child, storytelling is a way to share new vocabulary words and introduce new ideas. Especially with little ones, storytelling is a collaborative process which includes turn-taking and maybe a child asking for help, then repeating what their grownup says. This is a perfect time to try out new words! For example, when a toddler mentions that they went to the park, the parent might elaborate: “Yes, that’s right, we went to the park. We played for a while, didn’t we? On the slide, the swings, and digging in the sand. Do you remember what we saw on the way home?” When the parent adds extra details, they are adding new words, extending the interaction, and modeling how to tell elaborative stories. When parents tell stories with rich detail, their children are more likely to do the same.
Give It a Try
- Keep an eye out for anything funny or silly that happens during your day. Make a note of it so you can share it with your little ones at the supper table or at bedtime.
- At holidays, reminisce about past holidays, traditions, and recipes.
- After reading a bedtime story to your little one, try sharing one story about when you were a child. Children love hearing stories about their parents’ past!