Tell-a-story books – why offer children wordless books?
Tell-a-Story books are a set of six wordless books, recently published by Phonic Books Ltd. Here are some answers to questions that may be asked.
Why should children be telling stories?
Early Years professionals are reporting that a growing number of children are entering Reception with poor language skills. This is holding back their progress in literacy. These children may come from disadvantaged backgrounds or may have English as an additional language. Some may have a language disability. Studies show that children with poor language are at a disadvantage when they learn to read.
We should also be telling stories so that children develop knowledge of different genres of narrative and a love of reading and books.
Learning to tell a story develops the child’s communication skills and confidence.
Why wordless books?
Wordless books allow the child and adult freedom to tell a story using their own language without needing to stick to the language used in a book with a text.
How do poor language skills affect learning to read?
It is now accepted that the process of reading is a combination of decoding and comprehension. Studies show that children who experience a great deal of speaking and listening with an adult, in their early years, have a better chance of becoming good readers (except in the cases of children with a language based disability). They will already have a good vocabulary and grammatical sentence structures before they learn to decode words on the page. They will be able to recognise the words they decode and comprehend the sentences they have read. Once the child has decoded a word, he/she needs to attach meaning to it. If the word is not stored in his/her vocabulary, he/she may not be able to comprehend the text. Using and understanding different grammatical structures e.g. – the past tense – will also aid comprehension. This is why it is so important for children to hear and model language before they come to school.
How do Tell-a-Story books develop language skills?
Tell-a -Story books develop language in a number of ways:
Vocabulary – they offer an opportunity for the child to learn and use vocabulary needed in everyday, familiar situations and to explore emotions.
Sequencing – they encourage the child to think about what might happen next in the story.
Retelling the story – they allow the child to practise and rehearse telling the story using the vocabulary and grammatical structures necessary for telling a story e.g. using the past tense correctly.
Special features in Tell-a-Story books
Questions at the back of the book offer the child and adult ways to explore and discuss the story. These guiding questions are a helpful tool to elicit more complex language. They include closed and open questions and those that develop inferential meaning and comprehension.
When should a child be using the Tell-a-Story books?
Tell-a-Story books can be used before the introduction of reading with Nursery children or during the early stages of learning to read. They can be used alongside decodable books which encourage beginner readers to read independently by decoding graphemes on the page. They should be used in tandem with picture books which develop language and vocabulary.
For more information on Tell-a-Story books, visit www.phonicbooks.co.uk (exact page) or contact Phonic Books on 01666 833543.
To see our decodable books for beginner and catch-up readers, visit www.phonicbooks.co.uk