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Insight or Perspective: How do you introduce a story to a child?

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By Eleni Elefterias

Some children love story books and have a natural affinity with them from birth. But for others it is hard to focus. Ever wondered why your child loves having stories read to them at school but at home they fidget and doesn’t listen?

The trick is to unravel the story instead of starting to read it immediately. This is also part of teacher’s strategy for use in a classroom.

So, whether you have one child or more this is an easy way to make reading time an enjoyable family activity.

Give your child a choice of which book cover they like. For about 5 minutes ask your child to look at the cover and try and guess what the book is about. If it is about animals such as Aesop’s story of ‘The lion and the mouse’, ask the child if they know the animal on the cover? What is their favourite animal? Have a discussion about animals, which they like and which they don’t like. Which would make good pets and which not? What are wild animals as apposed to domesticated ones. Talk about the colours on the cover. Are there red tigers and blue elephants? 

Then once the topic is understood, turn the page and read the title page pointing to the words so that the pre-reading child can begin to associate the text with meaning. Show each picture on the page and ask the child to point out the characters and say the actions as you read the story slowly.

Pause to allow the child to have a good look. Allow them to touch and feel the page. Ask questions like what do you think is going to happen next? Or Where did that lion come from? What happened to the mouse? Do you think the mouse will eat the lion? 

Children will love to hear the same story multiple times. Eventually they will be able to point out or even read certain words or even whole sentences in Greek. 

*Eleni Elefterias-Kostakidis is a teacher of Modern Greek, a University lecturer and the author of the bilingual children’s book ‘My Grandma is a Musician – Η γιαγιά μου είναι μουσικός’ 

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