Book Central – Reading the Right Books the Right Way

No doubt you’ve heard the message “read books with your child” and you know reading with children is important but what they don’t tell you is what books to read and how to read them.  Did you know it’s actually these two things – the what and how – that makes the difference to your child’s development?

 

We know from research that children who are not read to have poorer understanding of language, their vocabularies are smaller and their thinking skills are less advanced.  And this means they go on to have trouble learning to read themselves.  Clearly reading the right books in the right way to your child is critical to their development.

 

So, to help you out we’re going to answer the what and how of book reading with one fantastic book and our top three tips to make sure the way you’re reading it is improving your child’s listening, talking and thinking skills.

 

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

What’s it about?

This is a story about Pig, a pug who finds it difficult to share with his friend Trevor.  He is quite rude and refuses to share even with Trevor’s repeated polite requests.  He gathers his toys up in a pile until something unexpected happens.  The question is has Pig learnt his lesson?

An ability to truly understand this story line should begin around 4 years of age when children learn that their wants and thoughts are different to others.  We call this ‘theory of mind’.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it with younger children!  It just means you shouldn’t expect them to fully understand the plot as their thinking skills probably aren’t developed enough yet.

 

Our top 3 tips

  1. Add expression when you’re reading.

Adding character voices is a great way of engaging your child in the story.  When Pig flips his wig you do just that when you’re reading what Pig says!  You can also add interest by using a louder voice when words are in capital letters or bold font.

  1. Talk about feelings and putting yourself in another person’s shoes.

Questions like “how would you feel if your friend didn’t share with you?” or “how would I feel if you spoke rudely to me?” will increase your child’s emotional knowledge and develop their theory of mind.

  1. Point out new words and explain what they mean

If you come across a word you don’t think your child knows, for example in this book they use ‘swine’, take a moment to point it out and explain it by linking it back to words they do know.  You may say “Swine. Well that’s an interesting word.  Swine is another word for pig.  I could say there is a swine on the farm! Can you use the word swine?”

 

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