Exploring books together!

Do you struggle with finding the “right” book to read with your child?

  • There is no “one size fits all” for children’s books
  • There is no “right” or “wrong” book

But there are a few things you might wish to consider when choosing a book that is at the appropriate level for your child’s abilities.

  • You need to consider their interest
    -  Make sure it is something that they enjoy
    -  It could be something that is related to what you have just done or experienced, e.g., a holiday, taking a trip to the park, etc.
  • Check that the book matches their understanding
    -  Their level of understanding may not be at the same level as their chronological age
  • Make sure the book is at a comfortable length so that they can maintain attention
    -  Longer does not always mean better
    -  You can always talk about the pictures in a shorter book that might generate more language rather than stick to the printed text
  • Be aware of the picture/ word ratio
    -  Children might get discouraged from engaging in a book with lots of words
    -  Interactive books might make it more fun and children may want to engage more with books this way, such as touch and feel book (e.g. “That’s not my car”) and lift-the-flap book (e.g. “Spot Goes to School”).

Remember it is important to first get your child(ren) to enjoy looking and flipping through books!

How do we make reading fun for our children?

  • We can use props to engage 
    -  Reading does not have to be just looking at the words, we can use items, toys or props that represent parts of the book to engage a child
  • Be dramatic!
    -  Children love it when adults are silly, so use your funny voices, your exaggerated facial expressions and vary your tones to capture their attention
    -  Different characters may have different voices. Ask your child to pretend to be a character!
  • Simplify the text if needed, and highlight the keywords
    -  Sometimes books have too many words for your child; feel free to make it easier and shorter; 
    -  Clarify and use simple definitions to talk about new words that they might not know
  • Reduce your questions and make more comments!
    -  Imagine if you are just enjoying a movie or a TV show and someone next to you keeps asking you, “Who is that?”, “What are they doing”, “What colour is his cup?”. You would feel a little overwhelmed or annoyed at the person asking you the questions and might want to disengage from the activity. 
    -  Therefore, be mindful of how many questions you ask your child during story reading time, remember, it’s not a test!
  • Talk about the pictures
    -  Talk about the trees in the background, describe the weather in the story, connect it with real-life experiences, e.g., “Oh no, it is raining. The bunny has no umbrella! Remember, when we didn’t have an umbrella yesterday”. 
  • Position yourself where you and the child can both see the book and also see each other's face
    -  This can help you observe what your child is looking at

Hopefully, these tips can help you with thinking about the types of books you are looking for and give you some ideas to be mindful of when you next sit down with your child and enjoy a book together!