Sunday, December 3, 2017

Take a (Picture) Walk

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. 

Try it with your child. During this "walk," concentrate only on the pictures, without actually reading the words. You might start by describing what you see or let your child begin. 

Lose the words . . . for now. 

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the pictures of a book. Take your time. The discussing 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.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

At Home . . . Away

Keep a set of books at a grandparent’s house or other places where your child visits. 

“Same place, same books” can make reading an important part of the visit. It may be a set of books that are always read there—and nowhere else.  Those “away” books provide a sense of familiarity to your child,  and the books become part of that unique experience. It is a way for your child to experience new routines in a place besides home . .  . 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Laughing Out Loud

For some children, humor is the key to hooking them into reading. A silly book allows them to let go and laugh.  

Keep in mind that humor for preschooler may not even seem so funny to you. But appreciate it for what it offers your child. (If you get in a silly mood, you might even have a good time . . .) Some writers for this age group can really zero in on what gets to a preschooler, and their writing strikes the right chord.

Humor is also a good way to engage you child in a discussion about a topic or issue. If your child is dealing with a sibling or school issue, or even a falling-down or food-aversion period, laughing at a character going through something similar can put it in perspective and give your child some release.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Author, Author!

Have your preschooler pen the next great American memoir. A favorite book for preschoolers to write is a record of an outing or excursion. It is a way to make a lasting memento and and be able to relive an event that is meaningful. Think family vacation this summer . . . 

Get fancy or keep it simple. You can staple together some pieces of paper or index cards, or buy a blank book, or use a commercial service. Encourage your child to write and illustrate her own books. You provide the raw materials, but let your preschooler dictate the contents—literally and figuratively.

The book can be wordless—let her tell her tale with pictures. She is getting a taste of what goes into planning what goes on the page of a book, recalling a sequence, and communicating something that is important and memorable for her.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Become an Expert!

Have you noticed a topic or theme that your child is passionate about? It might be princesses or earth movers or dinosaurs. Start a little “collection.” Go to the library or purchase books on this “topic.” (If you elect to buy books, keep the books about that topic together on a shelf. It is a way to encourage the idea of organizing things that go together.)

Your child is discovering that reading can open doors to learning more and more about his or her interests. Becoming an expert will make him or her feel excited about learning and also provide a purpose for your reading together. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What's Next?

Here is a way to help your child build comprehension skills  . . . and use imagination.

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.