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After you and your child finish reading a story together, close the book, and ask, "What do you think happens next?" or "What happens the next day?"
This kind of thinking helps your child in a few ways. It encourages your child to use what he or she already knows about a character or a situation and run with it—to spin some educated guesses based on that information. That is also called making inferences, which a skill your child will use in school and in life.
For now, unburdened by finding right answers, your child is simply stretching his or her imagination, and engaging in some original storytelling. Enjoy it together!
What I think . . .
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.
Madeline Boskey, Ph.D.