Conversations with Children around Books

Conversations with Children around Books

Today is National Read Across America Day, and over at General Store, we’ve launched a new Kids Book Club in partnership with Farfaria and Kids’ Books for a Better World!

As we talk about books and reading to your children, we thought we’d ask our Early Childhood Director Becky Gartman to weigh in, and she created a three-part blog series about having conversations around books with your child.

This week, she focuses mainly on what might happen before we read a book. Take a look, and happy reading!!

— Deborah

Book Talk: Conversations with Children around Books
Part 1: Getting Ready to Explore
By Rebecca Gartman

We love to read books at Work and Play!  Hearing stories, learning new ideas, and coming together are such valuable experiences!  And did you know that your children are already benefiting from the reading that you do at home together?  They are beginning the process of becoming readers (understanding that the pictures tell a story or give meaning, as well as learning how pages turn and how a whole book works) even at preschool age!  Children learn so much through the modeling and sharing of reading that adults provide.  We wanted to share some of our strategies with you, so that you can encourage your young readers (babies, toddlers, and kindergartners alike!) as you enjoy storytime together!

Throughout the year, children in our program are learning how to take care of books. (We are gentle with books because we take care of our materials for ourselves and one another.  We turn the pages with care, enjoy the story, and put the book back when we’re finished so we know where to find it).  When we begin a story, sometimes we like to jump right in! That’s okay- books can be exciting, soothing, adventurous, and many things in between!  Once in awhile, though, there might be times that we pause to preview or take a peek at the cover first. This gets our brains ready for the story and supports vocabulary and language development.  The pause might be as simple as pointing to something we see (I see a bear!) or making a prediction (I wonder what will happen to this bear?)  Older children might like to do a sneak peek, sometimes called a picture walk, before reading.  When we look ahead to the clues in the pictures throughout the book, it can give us a chance to make connections with context clues before we even begin to look at the words!

Through this process, know that your child might be most comfortable picking up a book, taking a quick peek, then putting it away.  He or she could be ready to sit for a story that you read for only 3 to 5 minutes.  Or, your young reader might be ready to stop and study the pictures and dig in a little deeper.  All of these are beautiful steps of the journey!  Enjoy!

Rebecca Gartman
becky@workandplaynj.com