How we read to children is just as important as what we read to them. How we read can make a big difference in their attention, their comprehension, and their interest. We use several methods for reading books during storytime. One of the easiest methods is Hear and Say Reading (or Dialogic Reading).
Simply take your cues from your child. Find a book he/she is interested in. The book should have a simple story, clear illustrations, pictures of familiar things, illustrations with action and detail, and shorter in length.
The child takes the lead when it comes to reading the book. You will be talking about the pictures–not reading the words. This will help build oral language and comprehension. Once you do it a few times, it may even become part of your everyday conversations with your child–no book required!
- Start by asking simple what questions. (What do you see on this page? What else do you see? What is happening?)*
Build on your child’s answers. (Child: I see an elephant. Parent: That is a large elephant!)
Follow your child’s words with simple questions. (What is the elephant doing? Why does the elephant have a sad face?)
Repeat. (Child: I see an elephant. Parent: That is a large, gray elephant! What color is the elephant? Child: Gray.)
Help your child as needed.
PRAISE your child’s answers and observations.
Follow your child’s interest.
*Once you have started asking simple what questions, transition into open-ended questions that require more than a one-word answer.
Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Alex. You’ll find Miss Alex sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at a couple of our branches.
This week, I am thankful to be a children’s librarian. I got to get hoarse reading Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich-Smith to a group of 49 kids and get peaceful reading Julie Flett’s Wild Berries to a smaller group. I chose these activities to promote literacy around Thanksgiving because, as Debbie Reese suggests (2014), “for very young kids, I’d stay away from historical contexts and focus on Native people of the present.” There are links below to a few interesting reads if you want to explore this topic further. Since I am thankful for this opportunity to share my own post and for your attention as well, I will keep the rest short and sweet.
During my November school visits, I was also blown away by how enthusiastically the kids practiced how to write thank you cards, and I was happy to crack a “Thank You” card joke similar to this quote. Laughing with the kids was a fantastic mood-booster in this time of sniffles and shorter days.
As we did in my storytimes, I also found it was great to focus on shared small joys like crunching on leaves as we walk outside or play pretend. I am sharing my story time handout on fall and winter as well, in case you feel like singing and reading, too. You are always invited to our library and our programs and always welcome to share your feedback and ideas.
Constant creativity and encouragement are so important when working with kids. Thank you to my colleagues and students and to the parents, teachers, and others who may be reading for your infectious openness, curiosity, and support. I am going to follow this blog’s title and “laugh, play, read” all fall and winter, listen to my kids, look for gifts and resources from others, and share my own. Thank you.
- Horn, C. and Diebel, T. (2017). “A wynk, a blynk, and a nod to books about Thanksgiving and Autumn” [Blog post]. Kent County Public Library. Retrieved from https://www.kentonlibrary.org/2017/a-wynk-a-blynk-and-a-nod-to-books-about-thanksgiving-and-autumn
- “Mindfully reading children’s books about Thanksgiving with kids” [Blog post]. Sturdy for Common Things. Retrieved from http://www.sturdyforcommonthings.com/2016/11/mindfully-reading-books-about-thanksgiving-with-kids/
- Reese, Debbie. (2014). “Oyate’s list of thanksgiving books to avoid” [Blog post]. American Indians in Children’s Literature. Retrieved from https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2014/11/oyates-list-of-thanksgiving-books-to.html
Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book BunnyBear by Andrea J. Loney.
BunnyBear may be a bear on the outside, but he doesn’t act like other bears. He loves to pick and eat strawberries, hop around, and enjoy life in a calm manner.
Bears don’t understand him, and bunnies are afraid of him. Bunnybear wants to be accepted by the other bunnies, but he feels left out. One day he meets Grizzlybun, a little bunny with a lot of confidence. She loves to stomp her paws, growl, and make sure she’s noticed. Grizzlybun quickly teaches Bunnybear it’s best to be oneself, as long as they’re true to who they are on the inside.
You can find BunnyBear along with other great titles about acceptance and being yourself at your favorite Stark County District Library! Make sure you tell your librarian how you liked the book.
Writing is a very important skill for children to master. Writing involves creativity, comprehension, fine motor skills, sometimes the ability to follow directions, reading, and so much more. Writing is one of the five early literacy practices helping prepare children for school.
Here is a simple activity you can do with your child to incorporate writing into your day.
- Crayons, Markers, or other item for coloring
- A favorite book
For my example, we read the story Orange Bear Apple Pear by Emily Gravett. It is a simple story with four words: orange, bear, apple, pear. The author uses the words in fun ways through her illustrations.
After we read the story, I asked my group of children to think of four words. They could use any four words. When they had a little trouble thinking of words, I asked them to name their favorite color, fruit, and animal.
We moved to the table. I gave them each a large piece of paper, and I told them to use their four words to write a story and draw a picture to go with it.
The most important part of this activity was letting the children be creative and work on their own. The hardest part of this activity was letting the children be creative and work on their own. Yes, you read that correctly. As adults, we have a tendency to want to make our children’s work perfect or help them the entire way. For this project, it’s important to let them figure it out on their own. Let them sound out the words and “kid spell.” Let them draw an animal the way they “see” it.
We did this with a mixture of age groups from 3 to 8 years old.
This mixes a little bit of process art (letting them create on their own) with a little bit of product art (there’s a specific end result with a few instructions). You will be surprised what your child comes up with!