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What happens next? If the story is a good one with great characters, you will want to know.
When you read a story with your child, stop along the way and talk about what might happen next. Maybe there is more than one way the story can go? By talking about what happens next you will be firing up your child's imagination. Then read on and see if you guessed correctly, or if you invented a better ending.
All this will help your child understand the content of the story and how stories are shaped. The Irish Primary School Curriculum for Infants calls this becoming an "active listener".
Encourage your child to listen and to re-tell stories. Ask them "what happened next?".
Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within a single activity and helps to build the foundation for language development. From stories your child learns many things such as how to listen and concentrate, new words and understand why things happen. They also learn to put ideas in order, develop their memory skills, notice how spoken words relate to words on the page and learn how to predict. Reading gives your child a chance to develop their own opinions, build visual skills and learn how to handle books.
Your child might like to read a section of the newspaper or a magazine – the sports, fashion or cooking sections - depending on their interests. They might like to read a short piece from a newspaper and underline facts with a pen and opinion with a pencil. You can then talk about the difference between fact and opinion (there are good examples in sports writing). Encourage your child to read instructions for mending bikes, building models and playing new games.
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