Story Hour

One of the most pleasant times you can have with your children is "Story Hour." Whether you read them a story, or tell them a story, the effect is the same: Children love stories! You'll have their complete, undivided attention during Story Hour. They'll sit spellbound, caught up in the tale and when one story is finished, they'll beg for another.

You might choose to tell stories, or read stories, or alternate between both. It doesn't matter if you don't have an extensive repertoire of tales to tell, kids don't mind at all hearing the same ones over and over again. In fact, they'll usually ask for a repeat performance of a special favorite and be just as caught up in it as they were the first time you told it.

Children also love being read a story. There are so very many wonderful books available for you to choose from for Story Hour! Your public library will have a great variety of books for youngsters of all ages. Taking the kids to the library with you, and letting each child choose a book or two for Story Hour, is a marvelous way to get them interested in reading! Introducing your kids to the joys of reading and the limitless world of imagination in books is a priceless gift! Studies have shown that children who learn to love and appreciate books and reading at an early age score higher on IQ tests and do better in school than children who don't.

Choose a comfortable, quiet spot for Story Hour. Make sure it's one free of a lot of distractions. Take care to read slowly enough so that the children can keep up with the story line. Speak clearly and distinctly. It's nice if you can sort of "act out" the different characters in the story by altering your voice to suit each one, but not necessary. If you feel inclined to do this, though, know that kids thoroughly enjoy it!

When your children are very young, it is best to begin with simple, short stories and books so that they can follow along from beginning to end without difficulty. Remember that young children have fairly short attention spans, so you don't want to try and keep them interested in too long a story for Story Hour. As they get older, you might begin reading longer books, a chapter or two during each Story Hour. If you do this, it's best to try to make time every day for a while for Story Hour, so that they can easily remember what happened in the previous chapters and not get confused about what is going on in the story.

Another good idea for Story Hour as your children get a little older is to let each child have a turn reading or telling a story. This is huge fun and gives them a chance to practice their storytelling skills and reading out loud.

Story Hour doesn't have to last a whole 60 minutes. Even a half hour makes a nice change from television or video games or toys! It's educational, it's fun and it creates a special bond between you and your children that none of you will ever forget!

Here is an excerpt from an old and much loved poem by Strickland Gilliam, entitled "The Reading Mother":

"You may have tangible wealth untold:
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you will never be---
I had a mother who read to me."