Reading to children is beneficial, no matter how you do it! But some storytelling techniques are more effective than others for building literacy skills. Since you are already reading regularly to your kids, why not make the most of it?
If you’re ready to make your read-alouds more interactive try out these 3 tips for boosting storytime:
1. Cue the Puppets
How to do it: Narrate the story or voice some characters with multiple puppets or just a single puppet. Some books will even prompt you to play peek-a-boo with puppets!
The benefits: Extends children’s attention span at storytime. Promotes relationship-building interactions.
Tip: Encourage children to play with the puppets after reading. This can help them process and practice concepts from the story. Pretend play with puppets also develops abstract thinking skills.
2. Ask the Right Kind of Questions
How to do it: Ask open-ended questions. The best kind of questions require children to think about why something happened or predict what might happen next. (“Why do you think the girl is sad?” “What do you think will happen next?”)
The benefits: Provides important practice with expressing ideas verbally. Fosters reading comprehension.
Tip: Although asking questions with one correct answer (“Where’s the cat?”) can increase engagement with a story, as children grow, open-ended questions are better for developing reading comprehension. As a guide, ask questions that start with “what”, “how”, “why”, and “when.”
3. Let Your Little Ones “Read” to You!
How to do it: Pause when reading a familiar book or a rhyming story and allow children to fill in the blanks. (“There was a mouse who lived in a…”)
The benefits: Gives children confidence as “readers.” Helps them build the connection between spoken language and printed words.
Tip: Yes, you should read that book again – sorry! Barefoot Books Editor-in-Chief, Tessa Strickland explains:
“Be generous about requests to read the same story multiple times. Not only does this mean your child’s capacity to listen and memorize is growing in leaps and bounds; it also means that the story is helping her to make sense of the mass of confusing comings and goings that make up her world. It may well be that the story turns on an important emotional issue or life lesson and that committing it to memory and soaking up the images is helping her to relate this issue to her own experience. Of course, it also means that she wants your company a little longer.”
These are a few things you can do during storytime to enrich the experience. Need ideas for what to do AFTER storytime? Stay tuned for later this summer for our Summer Reading Program.
Your partner in literacy,
Stefanie Paige Grossman, M.S.Ed
Early Childhood Education / Infant & Parent Development Expert
Global Program Director, Barefoot Books
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