The Importance of Sharing Stories

Vocabulary and Stories

Let’s consider the language within the stories we are sharing at home.  How can we enrich children’s language choices and help to close the word gap?

Can we look at the illustrations and talk about what we can see within the pictures.  

The illustrations in books offer us a portal into the story and make great language rich conversations.  We can discuss the story, the characters and what they are doing.  We can look at what is happening in the pictures and model language to children to aid their language development.

“In the best picture books illustration and text work closely together to create meanings. Children are naturally drawn to the illustrations in a picture book and are frequently far more observant than an adult reader.” CLPE - Power of Pictures

Does the story we are reading make us think of other stories or places?

What books do you know that are themed around seasides or underwater? What stories have themes of forests or woods? How does one story lead us into another? 

When reading and sharing stories what words could we switch? 


Rather than “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one…” What could we say instead?
“We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a gigantic one.” 

Try switching a different word or think about how you are travelling when going to find the bear, are you crawling, leaping, shuffling, plodding, racing…..

How are we looking at the vocabulary in the story and thinking about what the different words mean?  Can we use those words in multiple contexts?


In ‘Mr Wolf’s Pancakes’ by Jan Fearnley: “One day, Mr Wolf was feeling hungry.  He fancied some pancakes.”

  • Fancied means a desire for something.  Mr Wolf really wants those pancakes, he desires them.  He really fancies eating some pancakes.
  • When you really want something you fancy it.  What do you fancy eating? It was so hot the other day that I really fancied a delicious cold ice lolly.

In ‘The Princess and the Pig’ by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene: “It was a hot day and the farmer stopped to rest in the shade of the great castle.  Far, far above him, on a high balcony, a queen was inspecting her new baby daughter.”

  • Inspecting means looking at something very closely.  The queen was looking at her baby daughter very closely, she was inspecting her.
  • When I was having a picnic the other day I was inspecting the grass to see if I could spot a ladybird.  I often inspect my shoes to check that they haven’t got mud on them before I go into the house so I don’t get mud all over my carpet.

How can we use the words and phrases from well loved literature and take them into a range of contexts? 

Example: powerpoint slides with some well known phrases from books