I thought I would sing the praises of my local libraries again. Libraries provide our children with so many different choices that build motivation to read. I would dare any child to walk into a library and NOT want to walk out with a book. IMPOSSIBLE, I tell you!
"ABC Letters in the Library" - Lobster Press on BeThereBedtimeStories.com
Most libraries have a plethora of social activities for everyone from toddlers to retirees. These include storytime, book club, featured speakers, puzzles, playthings, aquariums, listening stations, computers loaded with educational software and more! My children and I have taken advantage of many of these offerings.
My girls are now in school and get to visit their school libraries every week to check books out. However, I am still taking advantage of my local library’s offerings. Currently, my local library is providing me with books on CD in order for me to listen to novels on my way home each day. As a reading specialist at a middle school, I wanted to be familiar with the literature selections that each grade level chooses to study and so far I have found every single one at my local library on CD. I love my local libraries!!!
I was stuck at a car wash today. The sun has re-appeared in our corner of the world and I discovered I could not see out of any of my windows so it was time. Stuck is probably the wrong word because a nice little moment happened. Realizing I was not alone (my four year old was with me) I reached for her preschool folder to help keep us occupied. Inside were two books that she was reading in class and she asked to read them to me. Suddenly I was no longer in a car wash line, but blissfully listening to my proud little four year old take over. The stage was hers. She couldn’t wait to read to me. She didn’t stop at just the two books. She then showed me what she did on her worksheet packet where they were graphing candy hearts and the heart maze she completed on another worksheet. Wow! Who was this forthcoming four-year-old??
This made me realize the many distractions at home that prevent this from happening (with the exception of bedtime when she is only attempting to put off the inevitable). This is my preschooler who can hardly seem to recall what they had for snack each day, much less tell me about what they read today in class. Taking the basic skill of reading and re-packaging it does wonders in showing what your young one can do. Our new ‘package’ was being inside a car, waiting in line.
When my daughters send a Be There Bedtime Story to an aunt, uncle, grandparent or buddy down the street they get to practice their reading in a slightly un-conventional way. It allows them to show what they know using a different medium rather than conventional books (not that there is anything wrong with conventional books!). Reading a story online using a webcam just ‘repackages’ one of the most entertaining past-times we have and gives it a fresh new spin.
I also learned that I really do need to keep my car cleaner. I can’t wait to go back to the car wash. I hope there is a line…
Are you looking for ways to encourage your young child to read? Would you like to instill in your toddler a love of books? With your help, toddlers and preschoolers can get a head start on the road to reading, even if they cannot yet read themselves. Here are a few suggestions help get you started from : – www.essortment.com
· First, and foremost, read aloud to your child, no matter how young. Infants love to hear their parent’s voice. Reading to your child not only provides a valuable learning experience, but it can become a treasured family activity. Be There Bedtime Stories adds an entirely new dimension to reading aloud. After recording a story for a loved one, they will have it to look at for years to come.
· Be a role model. Parents can set a good example by showing that they enjoy and benefit from reading at home.
· Make regular visits to your local library, and be sure to elicit the help of the children’s librarian. There are a number of library resources available to help you choose books, such as reading lists and lists of award-winning books.
The rewards you will reap are priceless.
For a moment, imagine what it would be like to literally, only see the words on a page and no picture in your mind to go with it. This is the reality for many of our early readers. We have to help jump-start that movie for them going on in their head. Visualizing can be referred to as the motion picture of the mind. Without using these images in your mind reading can be a blank slate.
One outstanding resource for parents is a book called The Seven Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmerman and Chryse Hutchins. This book suggests some signs that your child is not visualizing. They include:
- Lack of interest in reading
- Inability to put into his/her own words a description of what he/she’s reading or what you have read to them.
- Lack of interest about whether the story is finished or not
- Inability to describe characters, setting or what is happening in the story
Talk with your child about the “movie playing in your mind” and ask them directly about it.
Do you see it?
What do you see?
What does it look like?
What does he/she look like?
What does it sound like?
Visualizing is yet another strategy that is found in classrooms across the country. As adults we may take for granted everyone can get that picture going. Now we know that good readers do this early and continually for best reading comprehension.
Remind your child that when the movie in their mind stops or begins to fade, they should stop and go back and re-read to get it back. We do this as adults all the time and they will do it for the rest of their lives too!
One example of using visualizing with picture books involves the Be There Bedtime selection called Penelope and the Monsters. In the story Penelope is not happy about having to go to bed. On one page it says: “’There are no such things as monsters. Now go to sleep’. Penelope’s father turned out the light and closed the door behind him.”
At this point you could stop and ask your child if they can see Penelope sitting in her bed in the dark. You could even ask them what expression she may have on her face. Just as if you were sitting bedside with a book in your lap, a webcam recording offers the same opportunity to pause before you turn the page and ask the child some questions about what is not there in the illustration on the computer screen. Kids love to interact with video! Rest assured, what might feel like awkward silence as you are reading your story out loud and recording into cyberspace will feel very interactive and magical at the moment it is delivered to the child.
Visualizing can then lead to making connections (text to self) as then you can ask, “how do you feel when you are in a dark room at bedtime?” This is giving your young reader the opportunity to engage fully with the text.
Until next week, happy reading!
One of the easiest ways to make more of your reading time is to use the reading strategy of Making Connections. This is a strategy used in many classrooms across the country and it is very simple to do. Basically there are three types of connections a child could make while reading any book; text to self, text to text, or text to world. It is easy to make these connections! The following are examples I have made with my girls while reading some books from the Be There Bedtime Bookstore.
Text to Self connection: In the book Blackberry Banquet by Terry Pierce, there are many animals enjoying the tasty treat of blackberries. One of my daughters LOVES blackberries, a passion she does not share with myself. I said “Wow, these animals sure love those blackberries just like you do! Do you remember how much you love to eat blackberries in the summer?”
Text to Text Connection: In the book Penelope and the Humongous Burp by Sheri Radford, I compared two characters from two different books when I said to my daughters, “Penelope reminds me of Junie B. Jones. She is a hilarious character, isn’t she!”
Text to World Connection: In the book A Day in the Salt Marsh by Kevin Kurtz, the crabs running in the sand reminded me a a recent vacation we took. I said, “Seeing those fiddler crabs reminds me of when we saw that crab crawling across the beach in Galveston last year! Do you remember that?”
Making connections helps readers to comprehend text more fully. The reward lies in the fact that soon your young reader will be making their own connections naturally and easily. This will make reading more engaging and entertaining for them. If your young reader is making connections, their reading comprehension will be stronger for it!
I have no doubt that you have already made connections many times before with your child. Now you know how valuable it is for their reading comprehension! Model this powerful reading strategy often for your young reader and be on the lookout for them doing it back for you!