Learning at Home: Reading
Reading opens doors to new and exciting worlds. Hearing and seeing letters and words help babies learn language! Toddlers relish the time spent reading together with you. And when older kids read, they unleash the power of their imagination! Everyone benefits from a good book! Read together every day as part of your family’s routine. Consider the ideas in this bundle as places to start.
– Reading Together –
Reading aloud together every day helps children become readers and writers. Consider these strategies for before, during, and after reading a story together.
Talk about books before you read them.
- Put two books in front of children and say, “Let’s choose a book!” Then kids can point to or reach for their choice.
- Look at the front cover together. Ask, “What do you think the book will be about?” For younger children, point and say what you think.
Look for ways to make the words and pictures come to life!
- Ask children to help turn the pages (babies can’t turn pages on their own, but at 18 months they might begin to try).
- Try using different voices for each character and act out scenes with gestures or body movements. Read in a sing-song voice.
- Let children chime in with the last word of a familiar line. “The cat in the…(hat)!”
- Run your finger under the words as you read to help kids understand there’s a difference between words and pictures. Don’t worry about pointing out each individual word—it’s important for children to hear the rhythm of language, too.
- Point to and comment on pictures. Ask, “What’s happening on this page?”
Now it’s the perfect time to talk about the story and let children share what they remember.
- Ask questions that invite children to think about why certain characters did something or felt a certain way. “Let’s go back to this page where Peter looked mad. Why was he mad? What did he decide to do?”
- Encourage children to share their favorite parts of the story (describing them or acting them out).
- Connect the story to kids’ lives (“Have you ever felt the same way as this bunny?”).
– Let’s Make Up a Story –
- Together with children, watch as Rosita and her abuela make up their own version of a Mexican folktale about Luna Rabbit—a bunny who lives on the moon.
- Create a new story together about Luna Rabbit, like Rosita and her abuela did. Think of a beginning, a middle, and an end to the story; a problem that Luna Rabbit might have in the story; and a solution to the problem. You might add science facts (such as the concepts of full, half, or crescent moon), new vocabulary words (such as crater), and math concepts (perhaps Luna Rabbit needs to count carrots!).
- Record the story on paper. Talk about what children imagine Luna Rabbit looks like and then describe how you picture Luna. Point out how everyone imagines things a different way. Then invite children to illustrate the story.
– Book Buddies –
Launch Book Buddies
Fun, shared experiences introduce kids to the pleasure that reading and writing can bring over a lifetime. Together with kids, read how Bert and Ernie make their own book. Then create some “together tales” of your own. You might follow the steps in the story to help kids create their very own book, too.