Picture books are wonderful and bring stories to life. However when we read to children we should slowly and gently tune them into the fact that we are reading the words, not the pictures. Here are some tips…
- Read the title, the author, and illustrator.
- Ask your child what he or she thinks the book may be about.
- Explain what some of the bigger words mean as you go along.
- If it’s a rhyming story talk about how some of the words rhyme, for example, “cat and hat are rhyming words”.
- Run your finger under the words as you read.
- Before you turn the page, ask your child to predict what may happen next.
- After you have finished the story, ask your child what was his or her favourite part of the story.
Parents always ask “won’t doing all of that interrupt the flow of the story?”
Children don’t mind, because they love the attention from you. We read this way at playgroup during story time and the children enjoy engaging with the text and with me as the reader. Of course, as children love repetition, there’s plenty of time to read the story again with no stopping.
With very young children, the best way to get them ready for reading is to do lots of reading aloud to them, lots of singing and rhyming, lots of drawing and writing, and lots of talking and listening. Parents who aren’t comfortable reading and writing can do singing, rhyming, drawing, talking and listening. Make up silly songs and rhymes, and don’t worry that you are not the best singer in the world – they don’t employ opera singers on PlaySchool!