- Posted by spectrum
- On August 10, 2021
Let’s talk about shared book reading!
Reading is important for a child’s language development. From the age of nine months old, infants usually start to show an interest in books with sounds, textures and brightly coloured pictures. Research has shown that the more frequently children are read to, the greater their development in language and literacy skills. If you’re not reading with your child, try to incorporate it into your routines at least three times a week (why not make a bedtime book a daily routine?).
But it’s not only important how frequently children are read to, but also how they are read to.
What is it?
Shared book reading is just an adult and a child having a conversation about a book. Instead of just reading the words on the pages, also talk about the pictures or talk about the story. Shared book reading encourages the child to become more of the storyteller rather than just the listener.
Should I do this with my child?
Yes! Shared book reading can be done with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners. Just modify the amount of language you use during shared book reading.
The best thing about shared book reading is that you can do it with any picture book. Research shows that shared book reading is effective in developing a child’s:
• Understanding and use of new words
• Understanding of different questions
• Early literacy skills
How do I do shared book reading?
If you’re not sure how or where to start, below are some strategies you can try. You may already be using some of them without even realising!
• Ask your child who, what, where questions (e.g. “What’s that?” or “Where is the bear?”)
• Ask your child open-ended questions (e.g. “What’s happening here?”)
• Ask your child questions to recall things that happened in the book (e.g. “Can you remember what happened to the little dog in the story?”)
• Prompt your child to fill in words with sentence completion prompts (e.g. “Then he saw a…”)
• Use distancing prompts – this is asking your child questions to recall real-life experiences related to the book (e.g. “He’s at the beach. Can you remember what we did when we went to the beach?”)
• Respond to what your child says about the pictures (e.g. “Yes, a bird!” or “No, that’s not a dog, it’s a bird!”)
• Expand your child’s responses (e.g. “Cat” -> “Yes, a big cat!”)
• Make comments about what you see (e.g. “A frog!” or “The frog is hopping!”)
• Follow your child’s interests – if your child is more interested in talking about a specific picture on the page, follow their lead and talk about it with them
• Model responses if your child seems to have trouble telling you what they see and what’s happening in the story
• Praise your child for talking about or attempting to talk about the pictures – you can give general praise (e.g. “Good talking!”) and specific praise (e.g. “Great job telling me about the truck!”)
• And of course, don’t forget to have fun! Like with anything, children will pay more attention and learn more if they enjoy it.
Some of these strategies are a little more challenging than others, such as the open-ended questions, recall questions and questions relating to their own personal experiences. These might be more appropriate for children around the age of four and five.
Read and re-read books at home with your little one using these shared book reading strategies today!