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Present a story book to a child and you will be amazed at the variety of stories they can create from the pictures. When children read, or are read too, they hear more than mere words. They move into the magical world of the Story Book becoming a character or identifying with the situation and story.
Through the rhythm and rhyme found in many of these books, children experience the sounds of a languages. The repetition (for example, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”), allows children to join in by saying some of the words of the story, even before they are able to read. And through the partnership between the words on the page and the colourful pictures, children make meaning from what is being read to them and learn to enjoy stories.
There is also that essential human quality of empathy. Story books help children to begin learning how to step into someone else’s shoes and to see life from a different perspective. So, story books may be entertaining and magical but actually they are absolutely essential.