Beyond Reading Aloud
Early reading books can be used to enhance children's language and literacy development in several ways.
Parents and other caregivers can ask questions about any story that will encourage the child to think about the details and begin drawing inferences. The following are examples of the types of questions that can be developed from almost any children’s book.
After hearing a story, children can also be asked to retell the story in their own words. This can be done from memory or by using the pictures as a reference. Research has repeatedly shown that retelling a story helps children to develop memory and sequencing skills and is a powerful component in fostering comprehension.
Early Reading Books Change as Children Grow and Mature
As children grow, it is important to match early reading books with their stage of development. Reading to children is recommended beginning at birth as a way of introducing patterns of language. When children can understand speech, books take on meaning. At the point where they acquire speech, children can begin to engage with books in a variety of ways.
Pretending to read is a developmental step in a child’s journey toward becoming a reader. Children often retell a story by matching the pictures to what they remember or memorizing enough of the words that it appears that they are reading. These activities should be encouraged because research by Burns, Griffin, and Snow (1999) concluded that children who pretend to read at an early age are more likely to become successful readers later.
Image courtesy of Highlights Magazine