Creating Enthusiasm for Books Beyond Reading

reading3Many parents know that reading to a child for just fifteen minutes a day builds strong pre-literacy skills.  Study after study provides resounding evidence that reading aloud to even the youngest children (including and especially pre-verbal babies) lays the groundwork for a strong sense of language mastery.

In the article “Setting the stage for a lifetime in love with language,” Professor Janette Pelletier of the University of Toronto states

“Oral language sets the stage for literacy when children are encouraged to pay attention to the sounds of language – rhythm, rhyme, syllables, sounds within words, letter-sounds and, of course, vocabulary.”

We also know that young children learn best through concrete approaches to learning as they have not yet developed the cognition skills needed to fully grasp abstract concepts.  (Read more on Piaget’s theory on cognitive development here.)

How can parents make the reading experience more concrete?

Here are a few fun and simple ideas:

* Grab an old sock or a paper lunch bag and create a puppet character based on a child’s favorite  book
* Encourage a preschooler or older child to paint or draw a scene from a book
* Use objects around the house to create a touchable, lovable version of a book character.  This might end up being a baby’s preferred snuggle buddy or a preschooler’s first sewing project.  (Perhaps you’ll find inspiration in sweet book buddy creations like Tillie the Turtle from the sharyn’screations shop at etsy.)
* Find aspects of book’s setting that can be touched, smelled, tasted, seen, or listened to.  Little ones can dig their hands into a bucket of sand to understand what a beach would feel like or a whiff of vanilla extract might help them experience how a bakery might smell.
* Explore the tastes of a book by recreating the food featured in a favorite story.  The  Children’s Literature theme week for Muffin Tin Monday (hosted by Her Cup Overfloweth) showcases some brilliant examples of this idea.   The Very Hungry Caterpillar version created by The Masked Mommy provides sumptuous inspiration for creating an edible version of a child’s favorite book.

What are some other ways to make the reading experience more concrete and tangible for our little ones?

Photo by apdk

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  1. Kate and I act out her stories and build upon them. Usually just the simple question, “What happens next?” will create a whole new fun storyline.

    When she was little I made up tunes and sang some of her books to her instead of reading them and she loved that, even though I have the worst singing voice ever. 😉

    I think it’s important to note if you want a kid that loves to read you have to actively read to them and especially NOT turn on the tv.

    Julia Janzen’s last blog post..I Think I Want Chickens….God help me.

  2. It’s fun to look at the book’s cover BEFORE reading and have the child guess what the story is about and/or what might happen inside…

    Jamie’s last blog post..Am I Living with a Preschooler or a Teenager?

  3. We had several kids over for a Storytime at my house. We read a few of our favorite books about friendship and then did some activities to go along with them. We read Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems, Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt, and Fox Makes Friends by Adam Relf. Our favorite friendship game was a twist on Musical Chairs. We put pillows out on the floor. The kids all danced around until the music stopped. Each time, we’d take one pillow out, but no kids had to leave the game. Instead, they had to share. By the end of the game, all the kids have to pile onto the same pillow.

    Emily’s last blog post..Here am I; send me.

  4. This is a great post! I heart literacy in a big way! And thanks for mentioning Her Cup Overflowwth and Muffin Tin Mondays!

    Michelle at Her Cup Overfloweth’s last blog post..How to Create Your Own Muffin Tin Meal Theme

  5. These are great ideas, Megan! My daughter loves to create book sequels in her head. As in, she’ll tell me a story that’s she come up with about Madeline, or George and Martha, or Charlotte and Wilbur. I ask her questions, and her imagination takes off as she continues the story. Recently, she told me a story about how Frog and Toad went scuba diving with one of her dolls.

    Tsh’s last blog post..Spring Cleaning: Day Nine

  6. Thanks for linking 🙂

    The Masked Mommy’s last blog post..Muffin Tin Monday- Very Hungry Caterpillar Style!


  1. […] Creating enthusiasm for books beyond reading (via Simple […]

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