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TinyEYE.com-Reading With Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

TinyEYE.com-Reading With Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

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Marnee Brick of TinyEYE.com talks about reading with babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers.
Marnee Brick of TinyEYE.com talks about reading with babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers.

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Published by: TinyEYE Therapy Services on Apr 07, 2009
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Online Speech Therapy Telepractice

Tips for Reading with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
Tips for Reading with Babies and Toddlers
• • • •

Reading times can be brief (5-10 minutes), but should be done many times during the day, such as at lunch, naptime, and bedtime. Store books where toddlers can access them. Repeat favorite books again and again. Prop up books in the crib or on a blanket. Create a warm pleasant social experience that supports the attitude that reading feels good! Read to one child at a time or to a very small group so that each child can interact with you and the book. It is not necessary to read the book from cover to cover, or word for word. Use clear, simple language. Let the children hold the book, turn the pages, look through the holes, and lift the flaps. Babies may be interested in holding and chewing the book. Toddlers are very interested in the mechanics of the books such as opening and shutting the pages and making things appear and disappear like “peek-a-boo.” Take your time so that children can look at the pictures and ponder the information. Allow children to come and go. Do not force a child to stay with you until you finish the book. Be attentive to the sounds the baby makes. Repeat their sounds. Name the pictures that the baby points to or looks at in the book “ball!” Talk about each picture and comment on the actions and feelings. Act excited when they use a word. Repeat or interpret what they are trying to communicate, such as “Yes, Ball!” or “Yes, that looks like your ball”.

• • •

• • • • •

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Change your voice (volume, pitch and tone) as you read the story or talk about the pictures. Be expressive. Talk as the characters would talk, make sound effects, and make expressions with your face and hands. Make sounds for the pictures, such as “moo”, “choo choo”, and “tweet”!. Ask the toddlers to point to familiar pictures. Relate the book to the toddlers by asking related questions, such as “Where’s your toes?” or making related comments, such as “Aiden’s Toes!”. Incorporate props, real objects, and body parts! Answer their questions about the book. Children may ask the same questions over and over. They need to hear the answers over and over to understand and learn. Encourage children to “read” the book to you. They will use their own words. You could point to a picture and say, “Tell me about this part.” Get excited about the pictures – Say “Look!” as you point to a picture. Respond enthusiastically when the children point or use their (babble) words. Pause and let children fill in familiar words and phrases. “Run run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me – I’m the _____!” For older toddlers, ask questions that require making predictions and thinking: “Can you find the blue bird in the tree?” “Where do you think they are going?” “What do you think is going to happen next?” “That little boy looks sad. Why do you think he is crying?”

• •

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Quiz
1. When reading to toddlers, you should expect the children to sit with you for the entire book. True or False? Answer: False Babies and toddlers have short attention spans. You should not expect the children to sit with you for the entire book. They may be interested for a couple of minutes, then be off to their next adventure! Focus on quality of reading time, rather than quantity of reading time. In the learning environment, help kids to sit and focus for a story by having adult reading buddies who can hold the children or surround them in a small space at circle time. If there are no extra helpers, give the children a teddy bear to hold and sit them close together around you, facing you and a wall. Choose very short books and keep it interesting by using an animated voice and facial expressions. Request the children’s feedback or participation, even if passive, such as “WOW – Do you see this big tractor?– VROOM VROOM!” If a child gets up to walk away, reach out your arm to invite the child to sit with you. Ask the child to turn the page with you or give him a prop to hold his interest. If still no luck, keep reading to the other children as long as the wonderer is in a safe place where you can see him or her. If your goal is to relax the children before naptime, use a lower pitch and a slower voice. End your story time with a big group yawn. With consistency, the children will learn what to expect at story time and that it is ‘the place to be!’ Be open to sitting down with your toddler when he or she brings a book to you.

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2. When a baby or toddler squeals, babbles, or uses a word when looking at a book, you should… a. Copy the sounds or words and interpret what the child is trying to communicate. b. Ask the child to stay quiet while you read the story. c. Correct the child by telling them “That is not a ba, it’s a ball” Answer: a When a baby or toddler squeals, babbles, or uses a word when looking at a book, you should copy the sounds or words and interpret what the child is trying to communicate. Imitating babies and toddlers will help them to learn to imitate your speech. It is also a form of turn taking, which is important to a good conversation. Finally, who doesn’t want to feel heard? Responding back to the baby or toddler is a feel good thing! A good way to advance the babies’ vocabulary knowledge is to interpret what they say. For example, if a baby squeals in delight at a colorful balloon or if a toddler calls it “ba!” you can say to them “BALLOON!! Feel free to repeat yourself – children benefit from multiple repetitions when they are learning.

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Tips for Reading with Preschoolers
Before You Read ….Look at the Cover!

Read the title of the book
o o

Use your finger to point to each word. Comment on the words, such as the length of the title, (Oh that is a long word…Cin-der-e-lla) or the starting sound (Hey – “Brown Bear starts with buh just like Bobby’s name…buh Bobby!) Casually use literacy words while talking about the book, such as letter; sentence; spell; illustrator; author; alphabet; lines…Also, talk about book handling words, such as “Oh it is upside down!”

o

Point to the name of the author and the illustrator to tell them who made up the story and who drew the pictures, just like they do when they make their own books! Comment on the picture. Ask for guesses about what the book is about. Tell them who or what the story is about, in general, and where the story happens (main character and setting). “This story is about a little mouse who moved to a big city.” Briefly review background information that will help the children better understand the story concepts or key vocabulary. Elicit past knowledge of child’s personal experiences related to the book’s central message. A book about apples might remind them of a trip to the apple orchard or eating yummy apple pie. Find a purpose for listening. Encourage the children to find an answer to a question. For Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the children can talk about whether or not they ever woke up in someone else’s bed and then listen to the story to find out where Goldilocks wakes up! Demonstrate your own pleasure at reading. “This is one of my favorite books because it is about a dog and I have a dog at my house.”

• • •

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During the Reading … Interact! • Your own comments, questions, and reactions during the story can positively impact the children’s comprehension and engagement in the story, as well as their love of literacy. Reading times can be brief (5-10 minutes), but should be done many times during the day, such as at lunch, naptime, and bedtime. Comment and Ask Questions to:
o


Label pictures, describe action, and locate objects in the picture. Examples: “This is a crib.” “What’s the puppy doing?” Improve Story Awareness. o Prompt children for specific words “The doggie ate the ___” o Ask the children to repeat text back “Say - Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” o Ask for specific answers “What did the doggie eat?” o Incorporate Background Knowledge to Make it Meaningful and Familiar o Incorporate children’s experiences “What do you put on your pizza at home?” o Encourage children to enact story events “Show me how you yawn” o Ask children to make simple judgments about the story events “Do you think the doggie is naughty?” o Imagine o Speculate about or predict events in the story “What’s going to happen next?” o Image alternatives or solutions “What if the mother had come home sooner?” o Take a character’s perspective “How does Tommy feel about that?”

o

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Elaborate or re-phrase the text to help the child understand the language and critical story components. It is not necessary to always read word for word. Talk about the pictures in a clear, simple way. Read with expression and get excited! Wonder out loud what will happen next. Talk as the characters would talk, make sound effects, make expressions with your face and hands. Take your time so that children can look at the pictures and ponder the information. Once children are familiar with a predictable story, pause at key places so the children can pipe up with the word(s). Respond to children’s questions at anytime to ensure they understand what is happening in the story. This can be done in a quick, casual way before continuing with the story. If questions are interrupting the story, try “Let’s wait and see” or “We’ll talk about that at the end of the story”. Remember to keep answering questions that the children ask over and over because children learn from hearing information over and over. Incorporate props or real objects to make the story less abstract and to let the children explore the story not only by hearing the words and seeing the pictures, but by experiencing it in some way.

After Reading…Discuss! Keeping in mind the children’s attention spans, briefly discuss the book using a strategy below, then offer a hands-on activity or play-time with access to props related to the book so children can feel inspired by the story. With consistency, children will learn the “script” for story time, meaning they will begin to understand how we think and talk about books during story time, and how we can experience them even when the story is finished.

Re-tell the key parts of the story, talk about what happened first, then what happened next, and finally how the story ended. “First this happened, then that, and last that!” Encourage them to re-tell the story. Given them prompts, such as “First, Polly……., Then…..Last…..”. Review the essential elements of the story. Discuss characters, events, places, problems, solutions, and feelings from the book. You could ask questions, such as:
o o o o o

“Who was the star of this book?” (character) “Where did she play?” (setting) “Why was she sad?” (exploring character’s point of view) “What was her problem?” (problem) “How did she fix her problem?” (solution)

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o o o

“What happened last?” (sequencing/resolution) “How do you think she felt then?” (Reaction) Then, sum up the book - “This story is about a little girl name Sarah who had a lemonade stand. She was sad. The problem was that she had no customers. So she went to the park and handed out coupons to all the children. Then so many people came for lemonade that she used up all the lemonade in town! She was happy.”

Ask the children to explore the story by sharing how they might feel if they were in that story, explaining why something might have happened or why someone might have said something, and creating different endings or extending endings, such as what would happen in version II. Ask for their feedback about the story, such as their favorite part, the silliest part, the part they would change if they could write the book again. All ideas are good ideas! Help the child make connections between events in the story and their own lives; or make connections with another book read previously. When children relate to a story, they understand more and attend better. Provide follow-up activities that relate to the book. Examples include: • • • • • • retelling the story through flannel board materials, making their own book or class book about the story, taking home their home-made book to “read” to their parents, creating a picture time-line of events from the book, providing puppets for retelling of the story, and providing props and play areas from the story so that children can dramatize the story. How fun it would be to replay the story on a pirate ship, in the Three Bear’s house, or even by a volcano in Dinosaur Land!

Try choosing a book of the week that you will read and explore once a day. This will give the children more time to learn the story sequence, to talk about the book in different ways, and to further experience the story during related classroom activities. Leave the book and others where the children can see it so they can “read” it again with a friend or on their own.

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Quiz
1. Before reading the book… a. talk about the cover of the book including the pictures and the words b. ask for guesses about what the book is about c. provide the children with any background information they will need to understand the story d. all of the above Answer: d Before reading the book, talk about the cover of the book including the pictures and the words. The pictures provide valuable information about the story and help the children to predict what the story is about. Asking for guesses can make the story more meaningful and interesting to hear because the children find a sense of purpose to reading to determine if they have guessed right. Talking about the title, such as how many “claps” (syllables) and what the title might predict about the story, helps children to learn to think about words (syllables) and to use words to think about ideas (predictions)! Provide the children with any background information they will need to understand the story. For example, if the story is about a “farm”, briefly discuss what we might find on a farm. It is okay to walk through the book ahead of time to show pictures, such as a tractor and a barn. This will give the children the vocabulary knowledge to better enjoy the story during the reading. Children learn more easily when they have previous knowledge of the subject.

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2. It is important to read the story word for word without stopping. True or false? Answer: False It is not essential to read the story word for word. It is more important to modify the language to suit the listener’s understanding and to better match the pictures. Keep your language relatively direct and simple for the younger preschoolers. For an older group, you may want to elaborate on the text to provide a more advance language model or more information. The key is to pick appropriate books for the developmental level of the children. If children of many ages are listening to the story, try to provide two different models – first on a basic level for the wee children (“The chicken is sleeping”) then pause and add a more detailed model for the older children (“The little chicken is sleeping under the hen house”). The repetition will only help to improve every one’s familiarity and connection with the story. Pausing during the story is useful for many reasons. A slower pace allows the children to soak up the pictures, which is necessary for the young children to really comprehend the story. Pausing to respond to children’s questions ensure that they understand what is happening in the story. Asking a question is a useful self-help tool as children grow since they learn that requesting clarification can improve their success and reduce their frustration. Finally, pausing to comment or ask a question of the children helps to keep them engaged and thinking about the story. While incorporating all of this pausing, continue to be focused on maintaining the flow of the story in a timely manner to accommodate varying attention spans and to ensure that the children retain the story’s sequence of events. At times, you may need to quickly reiterate what you have read so far.

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3. When you are done reading the book …. a. Put it away for safe keeping. b. Review the essential elements of the story. Discuss characters, events, places, problems, solutions, and feelings from the book. c. Go immediately onto your next scheduled activity to keep the flow going. Answer: b When you are done reading the book, review the essential elements of the story. Discuss characters, events, places, problems, solutions, and feelings from the book. Keep this brief and continue to use facial expressions, gestures, and interesting voice characteristics that suit the story. Talking about the story gives the children another chance to understand the vocabulary and the story sequence. Also, it helps them to think about a story in parts and again as a whole, which promotes thought formulation and organization for talking about experiences and ideas. This is valuable for language development and for learning to create their own stories. Finally, it provides them with the early knowledge of the elements of story, which will soon assist them in school when this skill is necessary. To further this knowledge, make it concrete and meaningful. Try acting out a story with the class. They need to pick the place, the people, and a focus that has a beginning and an end. It could be anything from a made up idea - “Nap Time for Kitty” to re-living a known story -“Three Little Pigs”. The children have to power to create!

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