Sunday, January 31, 2010

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Sometimes you might feel as if you just need something new to read to your preschooler. One source of recommendations is your own network of friends. You have shared ideas for foods that are toddler-friendly, names of babysitters, a great new tumbling class, or sales on maternity clothes. It might pay to ask what your friends are reading to their children. Just the way you share ideas for books or movies you think your friends would enjoy, try sharing your favorite kid titles.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ham It Up

When you read to your preschooler, don’t be afraid to make a little noise. Growl. Bark. Add sound effects--a knock on the door or a siren. Sing a line or two. He still likes your singing voice so take advantage of that and have some fun with it. By injecting some variation into your reading-aloud voice you are showing your preschooler that reading is active and fun. He may join in, adding his own effects that become part of your routine whenever you read a particular book. Together you can make this set of sounds your signature version of the book.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Difference in Taste

You’ve just sat down with your favorite book from your own childhood. You cannot wait to read it to your preschooler. But he hates it. He won’t sit still. He tells you it’s stupid. So what do you do? Drop it. Read one of his favorites instead. Your child is expressing his opinion, and that is just fine. He is developing his own tastes in what he reads. You’ve probably already noticed that the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. Your treasured book that evokes such warm feelings in you is just the latest example. So be it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Book?

Say you are introducing a new book to your child. Read the title. Point out the names of the author and illustrator. Look at the art on the cover. Ask your child to describe what she sees. Ask whether the title and the picture on the cover tell her what the book may be about. See if she can explain what she is predicting. You are used to your preschooler’s why? questions. Turn the tables. Probe gently to see if she can tell you how she arrived at her predictions. Then dive right in and read to find out what this book is all about.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Defining Moments 2

Help your preschooler know the terms for different parts of a book. For example, explain that the covers of a book protect the pages inside. And there is a front cover as well as a back cover. Some covers are hard and some are soft. Let her feel the difference. Point out the spine of a book and tell her how it is like her spine, or backbone. It keeps the pages in line--the way her spine keeps her bones in line and helps her stand up straight. Show her that a book’s spine also has words on it. The author’s and illustrator’s name may be printed on the spine. When a book is standing on a shelf, the words on the spine can help a reader recognize and find it. All of this seemingly simple information can help your young child know her way around a book.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Defining Moments 1

Take a moment to introduce your preschooler to some of the features of books. He may not know simple things that you take for granted. Point out the author’s name. Use the word “author,” as well as “writer.” Explain that this is the name of the person who wrote the book. Do the same for the illustrator, or artist. If possible, locate photographs of the author and illustrator inside the book or on the back cover. Having a photo to look at gives your child a way to make a connection between the book in his hands and the idea that real people had something to do with creating it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Check It Out

Have you introduced your preschooler to your local library? If not, this might be the ideal time to do that--especially if wintry weather is keeping you indoors. Look around the children’s area and you will probably see other parents and caretakers with young children. Your child will see other children reading and being read to. (Peer pressure exists even during these tender preschool years!) Many libraries have comfortable spaces made for reading and enjoying books in a relaxed fashion. And libraries are free. What an easy and inexpensive way to get out of the house and spend a pleasant morning or afternoon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Make It a Habit

Young children do best when they know what to expect. They learn from having regular routines. So make Reading Time a habit. Pick a regular time and place to read together with your young child. It might be in a favorite rocking chair, or on a bed. It might be right before bedtime--or not. Try to figure out the place and time that works best for your schedule and your child's. And then--like brushing teeth or bath time--make it a regular time of the day. Every day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hold on to the Holidays

As you begin to get back into life after the winter holidays, consider creating a holiday memory book with your preschooler. You can create it collage-style. Pull together some photos taken of times spent with family and friends. Maybe add a few greeting cards--especially those with photographs of people she knows. And let your preschooler dictate her memories of the season. She may want to draw her own pictures to illustrate her memories. After you have read the book together and reminisced about the recent happy times, put the book away--maybe along with any seasonal decorations you like to use each year. Next year, when you are celebrating again, it will be fun for your preschooler to remember way, way back, a long year ago in the past. And it will be so interesting to notice the difference in your preschooler’s abilities to tell a story. What a difference a year makes!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


It is a brand new year--and a new decade as well. Resolve to make this the year you and your child have the most fun ever, reading books, spending time together, and learning about each other.

My resolution? I plan to share my ideas for ways to make the most of the time you spend reading with your young child. I hope that you will share your ideas, your questions, and maybe even your photos, too.

Make some great memories and lots of fun.

Happy 2010!

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.