The Joy of Sharing Stories

Published on: 13 May 2020

The BookTrust Storytime Prize is now in its second year. Set up in association with the CILIP Youth Libraries Group the prize celebrates and promotes the best books for sharing with children.

The Storytime Prize 2020 shortlisted books

So why is it important to read with children?

Research has shown various advantages, not least that children who share reading become strong readers and thus do better at school (OU 2008). But that misses out on the whole pleasure and enjoyment we can get from sharing books with our children – no matter their age! The pleasure of snuggling on a cosy seat, with a toddler whilst an adult reads the words and the child follows the story and points out all the illustrations. The wonderful conversations, often along odd byways, that can be explored as your child notices the illustration is not just mirroring the text but is sometimes offering an alternative point of view.

With children of different ages in the family we can share books all together – there are so many books that appeal across the ages – where some will be being read aloud to and others may be following the reading themselves – but then the rich discussions that follow make for a relaxed and enriched family time experience – full of discovery and fun. If the children have chosen the book in the first place they will be much more motivated to read it, or listen to it, than if it is just given to them.

I have many fond memories of reading with my girls – almost anywhere in the house – they are 3 years different in age and we read lots of different things from our local library, as well as the personal treasures that each child had – and their choices were often quite different, but by making reading a fun activity to be done (often with snack in hand and a favourite drink) the sharing became as much fun as the story. They also had bedtime stories – usually read by Dad – and I would sit on the stairs to listen to those too – he was great at doing all the voices!

Books for young children are so plentiful nowadays – how on earth do you choose?

And how do you keep track of what's being published? So many good books could slip through the net – but there are a couple of really good ways to keep up to date – one, of course, is to keep an eye on the BookTrust Bookfinder as well as recommendations in their Great Books Guides.

Beside this many publishers, authors and illustrators use Twitter and Instagram to talk about their new books and any events they may be taking part in – follow a few favourites. An online magazine like Books for Keeps can also be a huge help in reviewing new publications (arranged by age groups) – check them out. Some newspapers also include a small number of book reviews for children and young people's books, always worth a read. Often though browsing, either the shelves of your local library or the local bookshop, can be a real treat as your children find their latest favourite to treasure.

Tricia Adams

From being a read to child I have become a reading adult. I know I chose my career (librarian) as I wanted to be near books!

It turns out it was a really good career for me – and I still love reading and being read to even now! So, by being a judge for this wonderful prize I feel that I can 'do my bit' in helping other people's children find their future favourite books. The books you cherish as a small child are the ones that will stay with you forever, they will be the foundation of your escapes into reading, as well as the basis of your education. Do read to and with your child – it's more important than almost anything else for their mental health, empathy and character development.

BookTrust HomeTime

Looking for something fun as a family? Enjoy storytime with our free online books and videos, play games, win prizes, test your knowledge in our book-themed quizzes, or even learn how to draw some of your favourite characters.

Go to the HomeTime hub