A recent report from the National Literacy Trust indicates that during the pandemic only 53% of parents were reading at home to their children daily, compared to two-thirds in 2019. Against this backdrop, we consider the value of National Share-a-Story month (NSSM) and the role that the classroom can play in developing children’s love of stories and reading enjoyment.
Each year the Federation of Children’s Book Groups (FCGB) works with different organisations to celebrate the benefits of reading, the power of storytelling and story sharing, choosing a theme and creating reading resources and opportunities. This year, the theme is ‘belonging’ and aims to highlight stories that help children find their place.
Why should we share stories in the classroom?
The power of sharing a story and the importance of reading should not be underestimated. There are so many benefits children can gain from the experience.
- By reading with children, you become a reading role model.
- You provide them with an opportunity to model their reading on others. They learn to use tone, phrasing, and intonation.
- Reading together as a class creates a community and encourages book-babble.
- Discussing how a story made them feel and what they hope might happen, helps children develop understanding and empathy.
- Reading a higher-level text aloud to children helps them increase their vocabulary.
- Sharing a book will introduce them to new authors or books they might not otherwise encounter.
- A shared story can provide opportunities to discuss topics and themes, in a safe classroom environment.
How can we get involved?
Visit National Share-a-Story Month website for resources, activities and competitions or try one of the following in school this May:
- Start a book club during lunch or after school.
- Set aside 10 minutes at the end of each day for a class read (time the cliff-hanger right and they will not want you to stop when the bell rings.)
- Shadow book awards, get teachers reading the shortlist alongside the pupils.
- An after-school bedtime story club complete with soft toys and hot chocolate.
- Choose a class read that links to the topics you are learning that term. Find out more about borrowing a class set of books from our Education Resource Service
Our recommendations for the theme ‘belonging‘
The Suitcase by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
A heart-warming story of a creature who arrives carrying a suitcase. When the other animals are told that his whole life and home is inside, they get curious and work together to give him a special welcome present. This picture book provides a perfect starting point to discuss migration and the struggles faced by refugees with young children.
Belonging by Jeannie Baker
This wordless picture book explores the view from a window as it changes over the years. The family in the house grow and the city develops around them. Over time we see the community learn how to care for the land around them as they help nature fight back against the concrete. In the words of the author ‘By understanding the land on which we live and by caring for it we can choose between just having a place to live or belonging to a living home.’
The Secret Sunshine Project by Benjamin Dean
Set against a background of London Pride, this story explores grief, love and family as two sisters lose their father and are sent away from their happy lives to stay with their grandparents in the countryside. A plan to bring Pride to the countryside is met with resistance and conflict. A wonderful upper key stage 2 read that explores themes of LGBTQ+ while tackling the challenges of acceptance and feeling like you belong.