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Reading to Preschoolers

Reading to Preschoolers Saturday, November 6, 1993 4:45:37 PM Homeschool IdeaExchange Item From: Jason(Ripp) Rippetoe Subject: Reading to Preschoolers To: Homeschool IdeaExchange

While I believe the term “preschooler” isn’t an accurate one for those not yet beginning there “formal” education, the years between birth and around four years of age are among the most important in a child’s life. It is during this time that there are many foundations laid that will affect the child throughout life.

In a home that chooses to educate the children at home one of the best ways to make that task easier is to have lkids that love to read. If a child loves reading, doors are opened like you wouldn’t believe. So it behooves you to take some time to make sure that your child is among that crowd.

Though there are few guarantees in education, one of the best ways to grow a reader is to read to them before they are able to read themselves. This introduces them to the fact that symbols on paper have special meanings that can be deciphered and can reveal wonderful stories and information. A child’s natural curiosity in unravelling these symbols on the paper do much to encourage a love of reading.

So, now that I’ve ranted a bit, here are a few suggestions to involving a preschooler with telling the story when reading to him.

  1. Stop every now and again and let the child supply the next word or phrase. One of daughter’s favorite books has a line that goes “At home I wear shoes and suspenders.” When reading, we stop after “wear” and “and” so that she can jump in with “shoes” and “suspenders.” She guards her portion of the story closely and will bring things to a screeching halt if you step on one of her lines.
  2. Let the child be the “chorus”. The same book says several times throughout, “By the sea.” This is also Sarah’s part. As we read along, she chimes in at the right time.
  3. Replace the true wording with a nonsense word or phrase and let the child correct you. Kids love to catch grown-ups being sly. Of course, this is only going to work with a story that a child has heard repeatedly and knows by heart. Try it!
  4. Ask the child to tell what happens next. A well placed “And then what happened?” allows the child to be a participant in telling the story in their own words.
  5. Encourage the child to relate the story to his own life. Ask who-what-when-where-how questions; like “The girl in this story is sad…do you ever get sad?”
  6. Let the child explain why something happened in the story. Sneaky way to check comprehension.
  7. Substitute the child’s name for one of the characters in the story and tell them to pretend the story is happening to them.
  8. Ask the child what they would have done in a similar situation.
  9. Let the child tell the story from the pictures. My daughter loves this one and the extent of what she remembers is amazing to me.
  10. If you’ve got several children, have them act out the story.

Try to make story time special in some way… a snuggle-up-and-read time done daily is of more worth than a once-in-a-while-halfway-reading-while-watching-TV time. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.