Narrative skills means being able to describe things and events and tell stories.
Here are 4 simple steps to help your child develop narrative skills:
1. Tell your child stories.
2. Ask your child to tell you about something that happened today.
3. Read books together. Stories help children understand that things happen in order first, next, last.
4. Read a book that you have read before. Switch what you do - you be the listener and let your child tell you the story.
Remember that being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read.
For babies and toddlers - be sure to talk to your child about what you are doing. Encourage your toddler to tell you about things. Listen patiently and ask questions.
Talking with children develops comprehension skills that will help them understand what they read.
For preschool-age children:
*Listen to your child carefully when he talks.
*Ask your child to tell you about something that happened. Let him tell you about a picture he drew.
*Share books together.
*Ask "what" questions. Point to a picture and say, "What's that?" or "What is happening here?"
*Add to what your child says. If your child says, "big truck" then you say, "Yes, a big red fire truck."
*Ask open-ended questions like, "What do you think is happeneing in this picture?"
*Help your child relate what is happening in the story to her own experience, for example, "What happened when we went on a picnic?"
I will end with some great advice on how to read-aloud from a great author.
Mem Fox’s Ten Read Aloud Commandments
1. Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.
2. Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.
3. Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don’t be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.
4. Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners.
5. Read the stories that the kids love, over and over and over again, and always read in the same ‘tune’ for each book: i.e. with the same intonations on each page, each time.
6. Let children hear lots of language by talking to them constantly about the pictures, or anything else connected to the book; or sing any old song that you can remember; or say nursery rhymes in a bouncy way; or be noisy together doing clapping games.
7. Look for rhyme, rhythm or repetition in books for young children, and make sure the books are really short.
8. Play games with the things that you and the child can see on the page, such as letting kids finish rhymes, and finding the letters that start the child’s name and yours, remembering that it’s never work, it’s always a fabulous game.
9. Never ever teach reading, or get tense around books.
10. Please read aloud every day, mums and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.