Ask Prof Mike: Growing out of picture books, reading to three children at once, and different ways of telling a story...

Published on: 05 June 2022

Every month, Writer in Residence Michael Rosen will answer your burning questions about encouraging strong reading habits in children.

My son is 5. Should we be leaving picture books behind now and progressing onto story books?

No. Picture books often have quite deep meanings that become more and more clear as children get older. They might start to see that they are often full of 'symbols' - that the story represents something bigger than itself. Also there is great comfort in reading books that are 'easy'. There is no virtue in books being hard. Reading should be for fun not as bad-tasting medicine.

How can I get my three kids to listen when I read a book a bedtime? They’re different ages and it’s hard to involve them all at once.

Ah! That's a hard one. You can try the democratic principle! They each choose their story (or part of a story) IN TURNS!

Can you give us some tips about how to read one book in different ways?

This is where you can practise doing voices. Remember: words on the page can be read with different volume (loud or quiet), more or less sing-song, in different accents, at different speeds. You can add a huskiness to your voice. You can pretend to be people on the TV or other people in the family. You can add things like lisps, or nasal qualities or whatever. You could say, 'who am I today?' and pretend to be Grandad - or whoever.

More tips from Prof Mike: Encouraging talking, reading confidence as an adult, and reading the same stories over and over again...

Have you got a question for Prof Mike? Let us know on Twitter or via email.

Meet our latest Writer in Residence

Every six months, BookTrust appoints a new Writer in Residence to write blogs, run competitions and give us their own unique perspective on the world of children's books. Our current Writer in Residence is Rashmi Sirdeshpande.

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