Book Central – Sharing a Shell

No doubt you’ve heard the message “read books with your child” but what they don’t tell you is what books to read and how to read them. Did you know it’s actually these two things – the what and how – that makes the difference to your child’s development?

We know from research that children who are not read to have poorer understanding of language, their vocabularies are smaller and their thinking skills are less advanced. And this means they go on to have trouble learning to read themselves. So, reading the right books in the right way to your child is critical to their development.

To help you out we’re going to answer the what and how or book reading with one fantastic book and our top three tips to make sure the way you’re reading is improving your child’s listening, talking and thinking skills.


Sharing a Shell – Julia Donaldson

What’s it about?

This story is about a little hermit crab who doesn’t want to share his shiny new shell. However, circumstances may change Crab’s mind as new dangers occur. Will Crab accept a blobby purple anemone and a fuzzy bristle worm?

This book is suitable for children aged 3 years+. The story is easy to follow and prompts the children to consider themes of friendship and sharing. The clever rhymes and bright illustrations will keep children engaged. Repetition of phrases in the book will also allow children to read along as they become familiar with the story.


Our top 3 tips

  1. Look at the illustrations as you are reading.

The illustrations in the book are a useful way for children to comprehend the story and start to link pictures to words. They will be able to draw on emotions depicted on faces and what they can see in the foreground and background to help inform what they are reading. By showing children the illustrations and pages in the book, you are also modelling how a book is to be read, how it should be held, what direction they read in and when to turn pages.

  1. Ask questions about the story.

Asking questions about what you are reading is a great way to ensure children are comprehending the story. You can ask them questions about what they can see, what might happen next, how characters are feeling and why they might be feeling that. These questions promote predicting and inferencing skills and keep the child engaged in the story.

  1. Use rhyme and repetition.

This book is full of rhyme and repetition which can be emphasised with expression and character voices to make the story exciting.  Rhyme will help in the development of phonological awareness skills as children can start to recognise and identify words that have the same sounds. Once the child is familiar with the story, pausing and allowing the child to finish the repetitive sentences will keep them engaged and excited as they are able to help tell the story.


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