Book Central: The Gruffalo

Reading the Right Books the Right Way

No doubt you’ve heard the message “read books with your child” 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.  So, reading the right books in the right way to your child is critical to their development.

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

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

What’s it about?

This is a story about a little mouse who takes a stroll deep into the woods. On his journey, the mouse comes across a few hungry predators and realises that he might just make a tasty snack for them if he isn’t careful. This mouse, cunning and smart, invents a terrible creature called the Gruffalo to scare off the hungry predators! Or so he thinks…

The Gruffalo is targeted for primary school-aged children who will love the crafty rhymes and humor presented in the story. This story also provides clever ways of describing the creatures in the forest which can help your child build on their descriptive vocabulary. In addition, The Gruffalo provides many opportunities for you and your child to explore and predict what might happen next. Is the Gruffalo real or imagined? Do you think the mouse will get eaten?

Our top 3 tips

1. Try to use gestures when you read.

Gestures are great for helping your child understand what is happening in the story and adds excitement to book-reading time. Pick out a word on the page to gesture along with as you read. To add more excitement, you can also match your reading tone and facial expressions with your gestures.

2. Let your child see the pictures and words in the book.

Letting your child see the pictures and words in a book helps them comprehend the story and build relationships between words and pictures. Letting them see the book when you read also exposes them to what kind of behaviours you need to have when reading a book. For example, they can see when they need to turn the page or where they need to look to read the words.

3. Find a quiet time to read with your child and limit possible distractions.

Choosing a quiet time to read books with your child shows them that you are interested in reading books with them. Limiting distractions also helps both you and your child focus on the words and the pictures, and makes for a more relaxing and positive book-reading experience.

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