MAGIC CARPET HANDBOOK (8)
Part III: Journey, Adventure & Discover with Picture Books
“Reading aloud with children is the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills for learning to read.”- Marilyn Jager Adams
1. Getting Ready to Listen
After your opening, it’s time for passengers to turn on their listening ears. Remind children of this prior to beginning each new story with simple directions or by using a story stretch. I call these short and simple activities “getting ready to listens”. Here are examples:
- Have your audience rub their listening ears to warm them up.
- Have children turn on their ears by pulling on earlobes like lightbulbs.
- Find a good story stretch about listening.
“Teaching reading is rocket science.” – Louisa Moats
2. How to Select Picture Books to Read Aloud. Choose books with:
- Big illustrations that are easy to see from a distance.
- Comedy and humor.
- Engaging interactive components. In groups, it’s very important to involve listeners in stories. Repetitive words, character’s questions and dramatic feelings provide such opportunities. Cue children to repeat parts of stories or interpret character’s feelings through their facial expressions. Naming and expressing feelings is a key component of kindergarten readiness and emotional development.
- Lots of action. Have children make sound effects that go with big actions.
- Plot hooks on the first few pages. A great read aloud will hook listeners
3. Tips on Reading Aloud
Here are some technical pointers on reading aloud to preschoolers in groups:
- Hold books open at shoulder level with one hand.
- Keep the book steady throughout the story.
- Turn pages with your other hand.
- Ask kids to help you tell the story. Direct them on how to do this before you begin.
- Show children the cover and ask them what they think the book is about.
- Pause to ask brief questions for the group to consider during the story. Questions like these don’t need verbal answers.
- Don’t take questions while reading. When kids interject questions, just move forward. If necessary, gently remind a child that it’s listening time.
- Read slowly.
- Pause and fan extraordinary illustrations (these often cross the fold).
- Honor the artists. Read the complete title, author’s name and illustrator’s name. Read the words as written.
- Ask children how books work, about a book’s parts, etc…
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” – Emilie Buchwald
A note to parents: A lap, nap or bedtime reading routine builds basic trust. Child development experts encourage two-way communication. Let children relate stories to their experiences. Reading routines provide opportunities for children to talk about their questions and concerns. Time spent reading one-on-one with a child is excellent for his or her emotional development. A reading routine is a time to be fully present for a child.
You are now free to move about the cabin. It’s time to Stretch. NEXT