More Than Just Books: Getting Beyond the Bedtime Story
There’s a famous saying, “It’s the little things that count,” that rings true with reading as
well as in other areas of life. The small things you do each day can help excite and
develop your reader. While there is no magic formula, there are research proven
activities that can advance your emerging reader. Fortunately, these contemporary
suggestions seem more like play than work!
Explore the library for more than just books. They possess a rich collection of books,
but many offer children’s story time, puppet and magic shows, and craft activities.
Familiarize your child with your library, the process of checking out books, and try some
Discover a series of books that your child really adores. Read every book in the series
and then read them again! Your librarian may be able to suggest a similar series once
you and your child are ready to move on. If the books are truly beloved, they may be
worth purchasing in hardcover. Don’t you enjoy sharing your childhood favorites?
Listen to some audio books. These are excellent for long car trips and can be a nice
break from movies. Children are able to listen to books above their reading level while
still maintaining comprehension. It enables them to hear and evaluate more complex
stories and build vocabulary. It builds listening skills and what parent doesn’t want a
Encourage your budding author to write and illustrate books at home. This can be as
simple as a few pages stapled together. Shape books and pop-up books can add an
additional element of fun. Art supplies and stickers are a fun addition to those
Subscribe to a great children’s magazine. Your child will anxiously await the next issue
of Highlights, Ladybug, Boy’s Life, or American Girl. My children race to the mailbox
each day to see if an issue has come. Then, they spend hours devouring every page.
It can be worth the cost!
Play with electronic reading tools every now and then. Kindles, Leap Pads, and touch
to read books can expose your child to reading in those situations where they need to
be quietly entertained. These e-tools can come in handy in a waiting room, or at the
sidelines of big brother’s baseball game. Judicious use can prepare your child to read
books as well as use current technology.
Bring stories alive with reader’s theater. Turn puppets, Barbies, Little People, or Lego
figurines into story characters. Your child may enjoy dressing up as a character in the
book as well. Whether the production becomes a puppet show or a play, rereading
aloud builds fluency and comprehension in a deceptively fun way.
Laugh aloud at the Sunday comics! Sharing a favorite comic strip with your child can be
a great topic of conversation at the Sunday morning breakfast table. It not only teaches
children that reading is fun, but how to infer meaning from text that is not literal.
Point out environmental print while taking a walk, driving around town, or while in a
store. An “I Spy” game may reveal how much your child already recognizes about the
world that surrounds. Introduce unfamiliar signs, logos, and labels as you encounter
Add road signs to car and train sets, or empty packaging to the play kitchen.
In using a variety of these strategies, your child is more likely to become an enthusiastic
reader. Alleviating boredom and exposing your child to a wide variety of reading
materials, games, and literacy-building activities is certainly a blueprint for success!
After all, reading in the world around us involves more than just books.
Julie Rebboah has been a professional educator since 1998. She has been an Early Reading Intervention instructor, an English language development teacher, and a private tutor. Julie wrote Magic Letters; The Keys to the World of Words and Magic Words; Discovering the Adventure of Reading out of a need to provide materials to support and extend learning in her diverse classroom. http://www.lightningbuglearning.com