RichREADER, PoorREADER: Does how you read to your child really matter?

We all know that reading books is important for our child but do we know why?  If we truly understood the benefits of read alouds, would we change the way we read?

Little Birdie Book Boxes provide RichREADING activity cards in every box to accompany their carefully-selected, quality picture books.  These cards provide a key focus for parents to think about when they are reading the book.  These small changes in HOW you read will give your child an ‘educational edge’ and make your read alouds RICH and your child’s future RICH in opportunities.  Here’s how:

1. The best things about books

Books introduce our children to new worlds, helping their minds to grow and develop. Books and pictures are concrete, always there be to read again and again unlike speech which ‘disappears’ as soon as we are finished talking. Stories and words in books come back to us the same way each time we read a book. This repetition makes learning new words and ideas easier for your child.  So read their favourite story again and again…you are doing your child a solid.

Sneak Peek:  Little Birdie Book Boxes give you access to our very own YouTube channel that allows your child to read along to their new favourite picture books being read aloud by ‘yours truly’.  You can thank us later 🙂

But how can we go beyond just reading the story over and over again so much so that we can we can recite it in our sleep?

2. Not your everyday conversation

The ability to use language to think and learn is developed through the pre-school years and is fundamental to literacy and success at school. We want to foster more complex kinds of language children need to learn about the world e.g., to compare and contrast two things, to pretend and imagine, to provide explanations and descriptions. Your child will start to learn this type of language long before they actually start school and quality picture books provide the perfect platform to start these conversations.

3. Turn book reading into a conversation

Books are a rich source of language for thinking and learning. To build this type of language, we want to encourage the children take turns to contribute their thoughts and ideas throughout the reading. It involves an ongoing conversation – stopping, asking, listening, responding, explaining and commenting.

Studies show that children who participate frequently in extended conversations with adults have better language and literacy outcomes.

4. Ask, don’t test

Testing questions are not useful because they are usually too simple to be cognitively stimulating. Questions like, “What colour is that?” “What is this?” (a familiar object) or “What is he doing?” (when it’s obvious) are testing questions. Your child may answer these questions correctly but they are learning little from them, and often these questions end the conversation.

5. Balance comments and questions

If we are asking too many questions throughout our book reading, it becomes an unbalanced conversation. We all know those people who make us feel as though we are in an interview answering twenty questions – it is unnatural.  Over questioning during book reading limits the opportunities for your child to learn from you.

If adults use more abstract and sophisticated language in their conversations with children, children will raise the level of their language.

BE A RICH READER

Our RichREADING activity cards give you information about the language for thinking and learning and a comprehension skill is targeted in each book box. We provide you with facts and practical tips for how to extend comprehension for your child.  Every box includes specific examples of comments and questions to try during your read alouds.

Out 6 month memberships are great for building a home library or purchase a gift box for a special someone on our SHOP page today.

We know you are reading aloud to your child everyday, why not get more bang for your buck, and become a RichREADER today!

Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies

References:
Weitzman, E. & Greenberg, J. (2010). ABC and Beyond: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings. The Hanen Centre: Toronto.

Tips for helping your beginning reader

Many four year olds start to show an interest in reading. Once they have figured out that the little squiggles on the page mean something (i.e. having print awareness), their curiosity grows and they may tell you “I want to read”.  Then what? You may want to start whipping out sight word flashcards or sign your children up to reading apps like ‘Reading Eggs’. But here are three things any parent can do that will boost their child’s readiness for reading and set them up for literacy success in years to come. All three tips are based what research tells us are the foundational skills in reading, demonstrated by the Reading Rope (Stanovich, 1982).

Continue reading “Tips for helping your beginning reader”

4 year olds in the eyes of a speech pathologist

Four year olds are fascinating! A year that’s full of building on old skills while picking up brand-new ones at breakneck speed. Four is typically a lively, energetic, and sociable year. Confident about basics like speaking, running, drawing, and building things, your child is ready to use these skills to the fullest. Even more reserved  four year olds tend to enjoy the company of adults and children of all ages. Everybody seems fascinating now, from the postman to cousins to random new faces on the playground. But what do speech pathologist’s look for in a four year old? Continue reading “4 year olds in the eyes of a speech pathologist”

StoryPLAY: The story behind every story

If I asked, “What makes the Harry Potter series, Pride and Prejudice, 1984 such great books?”, most people would mention the well-developed characters, the vivid descriptions of the time and place or the fascinating storylines. Are these the core elements that make a story great? Is there a story behind every great story?

Continue reading “StoryPLAY: The story behind every story”