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