Looking for all Articles by Hannah Sycamore?

Tips for parents sharing picture books at home

Language: English
Genre: Family, Wellbeing
Age group: 3-5, 6-8, Children
Audience: Families

Last updated: 10 October 2023

A mum and little boy reading a picture book together on a bed

In November during Book Week Scotland, every Primary 1 pupils is gifted the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag, and every Primary 2 and Primary 3 pupil receive the Read, Write, Count bags. These bags contain free books to read and enjoy at home.

Here are some tips for sharing these picture books, to help you make the most out of the books and the wonderful stories they contain!

Make time to share a story every day

You can enjoy books at any time of the day. Work them in to your everyday routine. Some stories are gentle and calming, such as The Dragon Who Didn't Like Fire in the Primary 3 bag or The Worry Tiger in the Primary 3 bag, making it a great choice for bedtime. Others are more exciting and adventurous, like Penelope Snoop, Ace Detective in the Bookbug Primary 1 bag or Where Has All the Cake Gone? in the Primary 2 bag, and so would be better suited to when your child is awake and active. 

Keep books within easy reach

Try leaving your child's books on the lower shelves of a bookcase or in baskets or plastic tubs on the floor. They can bring you their book when they're ready for a story or choose to explore books on their own.

Let your child choose

Children will often be more excited and engaged with a story if they have been involved in choosing what to read. Sharing a book of their choice also lets them know that you value their opinion. If you have books from previous Bookbug and Read, Write, Count bags, make sure they are all available to choose.

Look at the pictures

Before you start, spend time together looking at the cover, ask your child about the cover and what they think the story might be about. You can also chat about the pictures on each page and encourage your child to tell the story based on the pictures. 

Bring the story to life

Why not have a go together at bringing the story to life? Talk to your child about how they think the different characters might speak, and make up sound effects and noises together. You can try changing your tone of voice or your facial expression to suit the emotion of the character in the story. If a character is really happy, then smile and use a happy voice. This helps your child to connect to the different emotions in the story. You could add actions, repeat phrases or even copy what a character is doing. Join in together to bring the story to life!

Talk about the story

After you've read the book, ask your child what they thought about it. Encourage children to tell you why they did or did not like about a book. Talk about what happened in the story, how a character might have been feeling or what they think might happen next. This will help to deepen your child's understanding of the story.

Share your own favourite stories

Your Bookbug Primary 1 Bag and Read, Write, Count bag might spark memories of what you enjoyed reading as a child, or your favourite picture book. Visit your local library (or scourer your bookshelves or the attic) to see if you can find your favourite picture book. It's really special to share your own favourites picture book with your child. Don't forget to say why you like the story so much, and share your memories of reading it. 

Read it again!

Your child may ask for the same book again and again. Each time you share it, they're learning or noticing something new. Reread your Bookbug Primary 1 Bag and Read, Write, Count books as much as you like! Re-reading is a great way to develop vocabulary and understanding of the story, but also an incredibly enjoyable bonding experience.