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Pedagogy

The power of children's books

If you find me in a bookshop, I’ll be most likely in the children's books department. I really love children's books, as they are very valuable, from picture books to exciting teen books... These books often contain an underlying message, take you to new worlds and stimulate the imagination. What’s more, children's books also contribute to language development! In this blog I’ll talk you through the power of the children's book.

The ugly duckling

Children's books always contain an underlying message. Think, for example, of The Ugly Duckling that was bullied because it was ‘different’. In the end it turned out to be a beautiful swan! Or think of The most beautiful fish of the sea, which eventually learns that it’s more important to have friends than to be the most beautiful fish. Children's books often have a deeper meaning. This message teaches children something. Besides, you can also use the story to discuss a subject, if, for example, you want to talk about a difficult situation with your child.  

And then what?

Children's books can be used to discuss a topic, or to delve into one, but strong stories also stimulate imagination and creativity! Last Wednesday the Children’s Book Week started and runs until Sunday 11 October. This year's theme is ‘And then what’? A lot of attention is paid to books that will take you back in time. That brings up the other attractiveness of (children's) books: they take you to a new world. Children can set off on adventures with dinosaurs, go horseback riding with knights or take a look at the last century. How did grandma and grandpa live when they were little?

Such exciting and visual stories enhance children's reading pleasure. And that, in turn, has a positive effect on the learning process at school. Moreover, reading gives children peace of mind. All in all, children's books have many advantages, including a beautiful, underlying message, a tool to process or learn something or a motive to start a conversation with your child. Books stimulate your imagination and creativity and can bring you fun, peace and, at the same time, excitement and adventure.   

Language development

In addition to all these advantages, children's books also contribute to language development. Research has proven the effect of a rich language environment on children's language development. A rich language environment means a lot of talking, listening and reading aloud. It’s best to start reading aloud to very young children. You can find suitable books for every age. Besides books, it’s important that you name a lot, look at and listen and respond to your child, no matter how young he or she is.

Reading aloud has not only positive effects on young children though. Perhaps you can still remember what it was like when your teacher in group 8 read aloud an exciting book? How different was this compared to reading your book yourself? Even if children have long been able to read independently, reading aloud, among other things, continues to contribute to language development. Books contain words you are less likely to hear or use in normal situations. Because you read out loud the words in a certain context, children will be able to understand them better.

Native language

When you speak another language, it’s more effective to read out loud in your own mother tongue. More fluent reading and speaking will have a better effect on your child's language development, because better vocabulary and understanding of words in one language make it easier to learn words in another language.

Creative with language and stories

At the child care centre, we pay attention to language and reading every day. A few tips to make reading (aloud) more fun and creative for children:

  • Put a basket with advertising leaflets and old magazines within reach. Children can browse through them themselves without having to worry about messing them up. While browsing, you can name what your child sees or reads, but also what your child does, browsing or stacking them, for instance. This immediately contributes to the fine and gross motor skills!   
  • Extend the story with an additional activity! After reading The most beautiful fish of the sea, you can, for example, colour, paint or craft a fish together. Have you read about history? Suggest playing dress-up or perform a play. After reading a picture book about vehicles with your baby, you can sing songs about vehicles,  such as ‘Helikopter, Helikopter’ or ‘De wielen van de bus’. In this way, you'll contribute to your child's different developmental areas. 
  • For new books you can go to the bookstore, but you can also go to the thrift shop or the library. At the library a child can often become a member for free, or with a discount. A regular visit to the library will also ensure that your child will enjoy reading more. He can now choose the books himself!

Finally, reading aloud is also having a great time together. It contributes to the safe bond you have with each other, which can turn it, above all, into a moment of real fun!

We wish you a lot of fun reading together!

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