How to Expand Literacy and Reading Picture Books
When You are Quarantined at Home
One of the mainstays of teaching children is reading aloud books. Why? Children are drawn to stories. They love hearing the words, and for good reason. Their brains are giant sponges, soaking up everything they hear. Children can’t get enough when it comes to hearing a book read aloud. Good books also create a loving bond between a child and the reader aloud.
When parents and teachers are armed with the knowledge that the number of words a child hears is directly attributed to his/her success in school in all academic areas, they should be reading aloud to children multiple times a day. This is the single most important thing you can do for your child.
Libraries are closed. Reading online isn’t quite the same thing. After six weeks of no school and being stuck inside, the books you have at home may feel old and dull to your child. But there are ways to bring your books to life in a different way. A new way. An exciting way.
- Use props to play a story or favorite book. Beanie Babies or Legos can be characters. Blocks can become houses. Does your child love Big Red Barn? There are probably all the animal characters in your house, in some way. Are you brave enough to use real eggs as props?
- Act out the book. An impromptu play performance is fun. Children love play-acting. Set the stage, find anything for a costume, and let your child tell and act out the book.
- Recreate the cover of a favorite book, by posing for a photo. Let your child’s creativity soar. Can s/he pull together items from home to be like the cover of a favorite book?
Think about the many different ways children learn. Some are visual and want to see the pictures. Some are auditory and want to hear the words. Some children need to have objects, plan and build. If we can use what we have at home to make books come alive in a different way for all learners, we are deepening reading aloud. We are giving children a great gift.
This video of The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
shows all the teachers doing different variations of the book.
The Aqua Room teachers picked their favorite books and used objects at home to create their favorite book covers. Can you guess what books they are?
If you have young children or grandchildren, this is really fun to do. It adds to the pleasure of picture books and reading aloud. It makes those books come alive, once again. So, pull out those old books, and recreate the cover. This idea has been done with major pieces of art, dressing up and posing. Now, children can delight in doing the same thing – with books.