I am guilty of rushing through story time in bed X3 with each of my 3 children. The routine of putting kids to bed can sometimes feel like that last 3.2 miles of a marathon. You are past exhausted and just need to make it to that finish line.
However, it is worth it to take that additional Power Bar and make this time quality reading time. You can really make a difference in how your child understands what they read and what is read to them. You will be amazed by the conversations and takeaways your child may share from a given book. Books can be so much more than words on a page. The opportunity is there if you choose to take it.
Below are some great ways to open the doors to your child’s imagination while and after reading books.
1. Think big picture- Ask your child to share what they liked or disliked about any story and to support their claims with details from the story and their experiences. My children love to ask me, “why” this is always my opportunity to ask them and they love it!
2. Story components- Most stories have characters, a setting, events, plot, problems, a moral/lesson or a resolution. Ask your child to recall some of these asking them to share how they know through illustrations and names. Discuss the morals/lessons/problems and resolutions asking them if they have ever heard or been in similar situations and if the characters made good choices, bad, indifferent and why.
3. Interesting and new vocabulary- Stop while reading and discuss difficult vocabulary. Ask your child if they know what a difficult word may mean. Ask your child to look at the paragraph surrounding a difficult word to help them understand it. Provide a definition and ask them to predict why the author used it instead of a more familiar word. Take the time to discuss synonyms for difficult words and if they might work and why?
4. Background- Many stories share different cultures, customs, eras and specific historical references. Spend time discussing the background behind a story to help your child delve deeper into the story.
5. Model- Show your child good reading habits. Join a book club. Include reading and sharing time as a family. Set some fiction reading goals for yourself.
Our children are watching our reading habits and what they see us do does make a difference.