Friday, November 14, 2014

The Benefits of Reading Aloud

At the Bank Street College of Education lately, we've been talking a lot about what we hope a parent and young child will gain from the experience of reading aloud together. Bears in Beds by Shirley Parenteau, illustrated by David Walker, provides a strong launch point for a positive experience.

from Bears in Beds 

Here are three main ways to connect with the toddler in your life through sharing a book (and this one in particular):

  1. Closeness. Sit close together with the child either on your lap or with your arm around him or her, so the child both feels secure and also keeps the focus on the book.
  2. Prediction. Read the title, author's and artist's names on the cover. You might start by asking, "What do you think the book will be about?" Or my favorite, "What do you see?" There are no wrong answers. Your response to whatever the child answers might be, "Let's see!" 
  3. Interaction. In this book, there are different elements you can ask your toddler to focus on. There are five bears; you might count them together. Size and color are two other elements that come into play (Big Brown Bear, Yellow Bear, etc.). The bears read a story together. "Do you know what it is?" you might ask your child. And finally, some of the sounds in the night frighten the bears. You could ask, "What can you do if you get scared?"

Reading together is an opportunity for closeness and conversation, to send your child to sleep with a sense of comfort and safety.

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