Reading with, Not to, Your Child
By Thomas Weck
Reading a book to your child is a great way to help your child learn. Sometimes, though, simply reading the words on the page may not be stimulating enough. Some of the time your child might be perfectly content to sit and listen; on other days, he may not be able to keep one foot still! Do not fret. Your child can get his learning and keep his energy at a high level, too! The trick is to read with your child.
Start with the old standby–reading. Once the story has begun to unfold, ask your child some questions before moving onto the next page. Use questions that will encourage interaction.
* Point to some of the pictures on the page and see if your child can describe what the illustrations show. Is the main character revealed on the first page? Can you tell where the story takes place? Is it daytime or nighttime as the story begins? Do you think it will be the same at the end of the story? (And no peeking ahead is allowed!)
* Have your child try to reason how a picture on the page relates to the story. For example, you could ask, "Why does the candle droop?" Could it be that it is because it has been burning for a long time?
* Identify specific words used in the story as a teachable moment. Are some words written in a different way from the rest of the words? Are some bigger? Smaller? In a different color? Ask your child to guess why. Have your child say the special words in the story in the way he thinks the author intended for them to be read. Talk about how the words could be said differently to express a different emotion.
Are you getting a sense for how easy reading interactively can be? By reading in this way, your child is part of the reading time, too! Enjoy watching your child’s excitement as he/she figures out the answers to your questions and comes up with unique ways to add to or change the story. Encourage your child to ask questions of you too. Prompt your child to come up with the questions for you by announcing, "on the next page, it is Daddy’s turn to answer YOUR questions." The possibilities are endless for ways that you can read interactively with your child.
If it isn’t naptime or bedtime, have your child act out part of the story, or make up a song or dance to retell the story to you after you have finished.
If your child has a lot of stuffed animals and they are the same type as in the story, let the teddy bear dance around or climb up the pillows and let the dog bark, etc.
Try to come up with new ways every time you read a book.
Thomas Weck is the author/creator of the *Lima Bear Stories. Originally made-up bedtime stories he told his four children, the Lima Bear tales resurfaced when Weck’s son Peter had children. Peter remembered the stories and wanted to have his father write them down so that he could share them with his children. Father and son took it one step further and created Lima Bear Press to produce the stories as books that children everywhere can enjoy. The first three titles in this award-winning series were released in 2011: The Megasaurus, How Back-Back Got His Name, and The Cave Monster. The books are not only fun and funny with great illustrations, they also have an underlying message such as such as tolerance, honesty, courage, etc. Additionally, each book has an Extend the Learning and an Activity section at the end where children can become active participants in the story experience. More books in the series will be released in 2012. Learn more at LimaBearPress.com.
In conjunction with the Wakela’s World Disclosure Statement,this is a guest post. The opinions and views are not necessarily those of Wakela’s World.