Sharing Children's Literature
Most of your shared reading experiences with your child will involve simply picking up a book and reading it to him or her. Be sure to select a comfortable place at a time when there are no competing activities. Consider establishing a routine time for reading (such as bedtime), but do not restrict yourself to this time. Take advantage of other opportunities throughout the day. One afternoon, one of the author's children stood on a swivel chair to reach something from a shelf. His aunt who was with him at the time stopped what she was doing and quickly grabbed the humorous book Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman to read. (In the story, Officer Buckle offers safety tips, one of which is "Never stand on a swivel chair.") This book and his aunt's playful yet pointed reading of it on this occasion left a lasting impression about safety and about books.
While reading to your child, be sure to pursue any invitations your child extends to discuss what is being read. Do not view questions and comments as interruptions that are to be shushed; view them as signs of your child's involvement in the book and as opportunities to respond to your child's interests and expand his or her knowledge. Ask thought-provoking questions. Occasionally elaborate on concepts and on word meanings. Sometimes draw attention to print features.
Take your cues from your child on how much time to spend reading. Some young children will sit and listen for long periods, others for briefer periods that you will want to work slowly to extend. Pay attention to which books interest your child. Observe your child's nonverbal responses to the nature and duration of your conversations about books. If he or she squirms or appears not to be paying attention, perhaps you are talking too much and should get back to reading!
We hope that you will read several books to your child every day, share books of every genre, and reread favorites as many times as your child requests over the years. You can enhance the reading experience occasionally by planning for three phases of reading: before reading, during reading, and after reading. In other words, there are activities you might engage in before you actually begin reading the book. These prereading activities will arouse your child's curiosity or help your child see connections between what he or she already knows and what he or she is about to hear. They help to set the stage for reading. Then, there are things that you can do during the actual reading experience that will increase comprehension, focus your child's attention, and promote enjoyment and participation in the reading experience. Finally, there are activities you can engage in that will extend the learning experience after you have closed the cover of the book. We follow this before reading-during reading-after reading model in the activities section of this book.
Any activity you engage in should be done with your child in mind. When your son or daughter enters school, you want him or her not only to be ready to participate in school reading instruction but also to be eager to enter the world of books. Developing children who can but will not read is an outcome no one desires. .
© ______ 2000, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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