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.