Monday, July 21, 2014

Take a (Picture) Walk

It might be time to lose the words—for now anyway. 

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the pictures of a book. Take your time. The idea behind a picture walk is that you go through a book’s illustrations before reading it in order to get an idea of what is included in the book.

The discussion may be engaging enough that you don’t get around to actually reading the book—in that sitting. Have your child tell you what she sees. Ask her what is happening and listen to what she see says. Once you actually read the book, you can compare what you both predicted the book to be about to what it actually turned out to be.

Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Just What the Doctor Ordered . . .

Read aloud to your very young children--from birth.

Today, the American Academy of Pediatric announced that its policy will be to have doctors, during regular check-ups, recommend to parents that they begin reading aloud to their infants. Research has shown that children who are read to, talked to, and sung to, develop larger vocabularies and enjoy more success in school than children who do not have the same kind of exposure. The pediatricians' group thinks that early reading may just help head off remediation down the road.

So curl up with a good book that has lively rhythms and rhymes. Read aloud to your infant, knowing that you are doing great things for your baby's development. And enjoy the time together! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Beyond the Bedtime Story

I just saw an interesting post on Facebook. Reach Out and Read, a wonderful literacy organization posted a picture of a father and his young son poring over a book of maps. They were preparing for the upcoming World Cup soccer competition, talking about the many nations from around the world that will be represented for the games in Brazil.

I love the idea of changing up your reading routine. Besides books, feel free to read just about anything your child is interested in. Is your preschooler attracted to numbers? Read a train schedule. Look at a seed catalog to admire the varieties of flowers and vegetables that are pictured.  Look at some old family photos.

The idea is to make your routines pleasant and something to look forward to. There is no need to limit yourself to books. The sky is the limit! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Run, Don't Walk!

So the official (or is it unofficial?) start of summer is here! That means summer reading lists . . . for you and for your preschooler.

Make your first stop the nearest public library. Find out what kinds of programs are available for your young child. Children's librarians are trained to engage children; they pick out appropriate books and have lots of ideas for how get to get your child enthusiastic about reading.

Pick up the schedule for story hours, craft hours, movies, and other programs geared to your child's developmental level and interests. They are likely to be free. It is a no-brainer. Run, don't walk, to your local library!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Love Letters?

I am not so focused on teaching reading skills per se. My main interest in early literacy is for parents to encourage their young children to love books and reading.

However, if while reading a story together, you notice that your preschooler shows curiosity about the actual letters on a page, encourage her interest. Say aloud the sounds that the letter makes. Name some words that begin with the letter. Then, point out more examples of the letter in print--in other books, magazines, on street signs, and so on.

Show her how the same letter appears in different sizes and fonts and in uppercase well as lowercase. Demonstrate how you print the letter on paper, where it lives on a keyboard, and let your preschooler try her hand at writing the letter.

Then, if your preschooler seems to lose interest in this discussion, drop it immediately, and get back to your story!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Use Your Words!

Vocabulary knowledge is key to being a reader. Help your preschooler learn to love words.

Label things as you go through your day. "Oh, look at that enormous skyscraper!" Talk about what things are called. Use great (and multi-syllabic) adjective to describes what you are seeing together.  Encourage your child to do the same. Don't feel stuck on using kid words--be extravagantly expressive!

Besides naming things, use words to describe feelings. "Oh man, I am feeling a little weary right now. Let's rest for a bit and then continue." Or "I am sad today. I am missing Jenny a lot." Demonstrating that words can communicate feelings is so important for your child so he can learn how to express what he is experiencing.

Words are so powerful--in reading and in communicating. Help your preschooler learn to use and enjoy them!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How Much Do Books Matter for Kids?

Take a look at this interesting piece, and wonderful infographic from First Book. It speaks to the positive effects of being a reader, and confirms the importance of surrounding our children with BOOKS!

Seek out books. Be creative. As warmer weather appears to be here to stay, there are new opportunities to pick up books for great prices. Check out yard sales where many people like to recycle books their own children have outgrown. Public libraries also have annual sales that provide books for sale at crazy  low prices. (And as a side benefit, the sale proceeds can help the library purchase new books. So it is a win-win situation for all.)

Your child can never have too many BOOKS!


There are all kinds of readers. Some—like my daughter and me—are never without a book to read for pleasure. Others—like my son—are careful, analytical, and curious readers who read primarily to seek information from the page.

No matter what kind of reader your child becomes, you can help him or her get started. After all, you are your child’s first teacher. And, best of all, you can have some fun in the process.

Please feel free to share your own ideas. Tell me about ways you've enjoyed reading with your child.