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Reading aloud

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By Alex T Smithwriter and illustrator

Writer and illustrator, Alex T Smith, provides some creative ideas for making stories and reading magical for children

Teacher reading aloud to her class © Sean Locke/istockphoto.com

It goes without saying that stories, and the art of telling them, is vastly important for a child’s development. If you can spark a child’s interest in books when they are young, they will (finger’s crossed!) embark on a lifetime lost between the covers of hundreds of books – reading and adventuring in imaginary worlds, time travelling and interacting with the host of extraordinary characters literature has to offer.

My love of reading and books didn’t just come from home. My teachers at primary school played a big part in it, too. I used to love storytime at the end of the day and thinking back to it now, it was a wonderfully calming moment after the frenzy of activity involved in finding your bag and coat and putting your chairs on the tables to help the cleaners. I was also the odd child who would enjoy sitting in assembly listening to our headmaster read stories and cautionary tales from a little book he kept in his suit pocket.

Now it’s me who is telling the stories when I visit schools and I find reading to groups of children a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I always find that children bring fresh eyes to any story and for someone who spends most of their days cooped up in a tiny studio inventing imaginary worlds and images, their input, for me, is extremely valuable.

Here are my top tips for reading aloud to children…

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