What brings parents and children from all over the city to Chandler Public Libraries? Storytime! High Five is a great addition to Storytimes at Chandler Public Library, and introduces five key concepts in early literacy: Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play. But there's more to say about Early Literacy! Read on for tips on how to to encourage reading, even if your child doesn't want to sit and listen to you read.
As you prepare your 0- to 5-year-old for the challenging task of learning to read, the most obvious thing to do is to spend time reading books with them. But what do you do when your child isn't interested in sitting down and listening to you read a book? First, you don't give up hope. Second, you definitely don't give up on books. Third, you get creative! In fact, you don’t have to read the book at all.
Luckily, there are lots of different ways to encourage interaction between your child and books. Interactions that are fun and exciting will help every child create a love of reading. For instance, try opening the book Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown to a random page and start talking about the first animal you see. “Look at this cute pig. This is a baby pig. Baby pigs are called piglets.” Whether your child is a talker or a pre-talker, be sure to leave room for their response. Talking about what you see in the book might create enough interest for them to request a reading. If your child gets antsy a few pages in, simply try flipping through the pages and finding something else to discuss.
Or try singing! Singing always grabs a child’s attention. Using Big Red Barn, surprise your child by beginning to sing, “I went to visit the farm today, and met a…” then look through the book and ask your child, “What animal should we meet today?” When your child points out an animal continue the song, “We met a dog along the way, and what do you think that dog did say? Ruff, ruff, ruff!” Continue singing, taking turns choosing the animals to add to your song.
A dialogic reading is a wonderful alternative to a straight read through. Dialogic readings are fun and easy, since you are simply chatting your way through the book with your child. You don’t read the text on each page, but instead, ask your child open-ended questions about the pictures. Try questions that require more than a yes or a no answer: What? Who? Where? When? Why? For example, you might open Big Red Barn and ask, “Who do you think lives in that big red barn?” And when you get to the next page with the picture of the cute little pig sitting in the grass, ask, “Why do you think the pig is smiling? What is going to happen next?” Mem Fox and Eric Carle also have a number of books perfect for dialogic readings!
Allow your child to determine how long you continue with each of these activities. When it comes to spending time with your child and books, your main concern should be quality, not quantity. So aim for 15 minutes each day spent interacting with books and, as always, keep it fun!