NATIONAL Storytelling Week begins on Friday, and children and families across the UK are being encouraged to celebrate the power of storytelling by sharing stories, tales and myths with one another.

The National Literacy Trust, which has a hub based in Bradford, is offering advice to families on the best ways to read to their children, and how simple acts like reading together can improve their life chances.

A spokesman for the Trust says: “For parents, the simple act of regularly sharing a story with your child can have an enormous impact on their vocabulary, readiness for school, and even their chances of getting a job later in life.”

The Trust is working with families across Bradford through its Early Words Together at Two programme, encouraging them to share stories with their children every day.

Sheena Patel, Bradford-based parent of two-year-old Indiya, said: “Prior to the sessions, story times wouldn’t last for more than two minutes and would usually be a battle keeping Indiya interacted.

“Since these sessions, we are now able to sit down and read through a book together. She will point out different shapes, colours and items and sometimes fills in the missing words in a sentence. I find her role-playing with her teddy bears different aspects of story’s and nursery rhymes.

“I also found it interesting to learn about the different types of activities we can do with involve reading skills like pointing out what signs and labels say when we’re out and about. Before bed time, we will talk about her day and she often recalls items and numbers she has seen.”

Natalie Turner, nursery practitioner from Lady Castle Nursery, said: “As part of the Early Words Together at Two programme, we run sessions each week for parents to attend with their children. The session we ran for families focused on sharing stories was really successful. We worked with parents to help them understand the benefits that sharing stories with their children can have, and give them lots of guidance and tips to make storytime engaging and fun.”

Isabella Ricordo from Lady Castle added: “Listening to stories and rhymes develops a child’s vocabulary and helps them read later on - so no matter how young a child is, having their parent read stories to them has huge benefits. Parents in Bradford who have taken part in Early Words Together at Two have told us that they’re now reading with their children every day, which is wonderful to hear.”?

The Trust’s early years team has come up with some tips to share stories with your child:

1. Have a set story time every day and only read for as long as your child is interested – research shows that just ten minutes a day makes a huge difference.

2. Make sure there are no distractions from TV and phones for story time – turn off the TV and put phones away while you spend time with your child.

3. Tell the story through pictures in the book, or make up your own story, rhyme or song. You don’t always have to read every word in the book.

4. Visit the library for free books. There are usually also story and rhyme activities for children to join. And most libraries won’t charge for overdue children’s books or for wear and tear.

5. If you have a young child, point and talk about objects in stories and objects out and about. Gestures can increase your baby’s understanding and actually support later vocabulary development.

6. Talk and read stories about things your child is interested in– you can find stories on anything from dinosaurs to diggers.

7. For parents of four and five-year-olds, try writing a story together or talk about things that happened yesterday or will happen next week. Talking about things in the past and future uses more words and encourages your child to talk in longer sentences.

8. Encourage your child to write and make marks with chalk, a paintbrush or with their hands in playdough. They can draw their favourite character from a story, or write their own story.

9. Read and write stories yourself and let your child see you doing it. This encourages your child’s interest because they like copying you.

10. Narrate everything you do – be your own voice over – and make space to listen to your child too!

For more tips on reading to your baby and young child, visit the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Life website at