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Sweet like Chocolate: Encouraging a taste for reading


Tuesday 26 July 2016

When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. Mem Fox
 As an avid reader I just love these words of wisdom from Mem Fox, a leading Australian author of books for children. There is nothing to beat the pleasure of curling up with a good book, whatever age you are. And this love of reading is learned from the earliest stage in a child’s life.

In the baby room, there can be few experiences as nurturing as sitting in a comfy chair alone with your key person or with another baby or two, looking at the pictures in a nice book, hearing the words read and touching the pages to feel what they are like. Are the words soft or loud, are the pictures soothing or busy, are the pages made of smooth paper or textured fabric, how does it taste in your mouth?

And for children over one, in the toddler room, there’s the pleasure of having a quiet corner to browse, to turn the pages, to study what is in the pictures and photos and then have an educator sit with you and give words to the pictures and help you make the story. Or you can have the fun of having an exciting story read to you and your friends and maybe doing the actions to go with the words, or singing a song that is in the book. How much fun is that!

When children go to Preschool it’s lovely to have a cosy space with nice books and stories where you can go to chill out, to look at books with friends or to read with an adult. Take a look at some of the ways our members have created reading spaces in their settings here.


It’s great when there are books that reflect whatever is interesting you at the time and books that reflect you and your family. Even better if there’s a CD player with headphones, so you can listen to favourite stories and read along with the book. And better again if you can hear a favourite story in your home language recorded by someone special at home! And sometimes, just sometimes, it can be great to listen to a story read by the educator in a really big group, where everyone can hear and everyone can see the pictures, especially if it’s a story that everyone likes and the educator makes it really fun to listen to! Looking at books or being read to outside is an even richer experience. Sitting on grass, on a few cushions, a cosy seat, or even a tyre adds more flavour to the chocolate!

Do you have a dedicated reading area in your setting? Do you have any examples of how you have encouraged reading in your service? What are your favourite memories of reading to children or even being read to yourself when you were younger? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please do comment and share below!

2 comments Comments

2 Responses

  1. Sharon O'Neill says:

    In acknowledgement of the technological generation we introduced a multimedia library to our setting. Books and stories are available in many formats hard copy books, CD player with story Cd’s, iPad with story apps, pen books which read stories in a variety of languages, story baskets and of course puppets. The introduction of multimedia has meant that children are exposed much more to books/stories as in general children move between mediums.

  2. Maire Corbett says:

    Really lovely ideas Sharon, thanks for sharing. Puppets and other props in particular can really make stories come alive!

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