The next time you sit down to read a book with your child take a “picture walk” first. Look at the cover and talk about what the book might be about and who wrote it. Then, open the book and “tell the story” just using the pictures. Don’t read the words until you have gone through and talked about all the pictures. Be sure to allow your child to tell his version. Don’t correct her, because there is no right or wrong answer. Be sure to ask your child open ended questions like, “Who do you think will win the race?”. Don’t ask simple yes or no questions like, “Do you think the frog will win?”. Yes or no questions do not invite conversation. If you have trouble “reading” without words, try a wordless picture book first.
The real fun is then reading the story and finding out if your predictions were correct. Below are some titles that are good for taking a “Picture Walk”.
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Snow Rabbit Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons [board book] by Il Sung Na
Children love to talk and be heard especially with the person who is most important in their lives, you. Talking with your child helps him learn key language and vocabulary skills. These skills will help your child succeed in school. You have multiple chances to talk throughout the day. Talk to your baby during diaper changes, feedings, and bath times. Talk with older toddlers as you prepare meals, do the laundry or other tasks. Explain what you are doing. You can even talk in the car, the doctor’s office and at the grocery store.
Reading books also provides opportunities to talk with your child. Before you begin to read a book to your child, take a “picture walk”. Look at the cover and have your child try to guess what the book will be about. Talk about the author and illustrator of the book. Open the book and look at just the pictures. Allow your child to tell you what she thinks is happening in the story. Ask open ended questions like: “How do you think the bear feels right now?” Be sure to give your child plenty of time to respond and accept all responses. Now read the story and see if she was right!
If you are not sure what books are appropriate for the age of your child, come into your local library and we can point you in the right direction. Below are a few titles to get you started.
Splendid Friend, Indeed
Bear Wants More