Here are some ideas for reading books with your preschool child. Consider time, place, and how.
• As to time and place, grab odd moments to give both yourself and your child the pleasure of a reading break. Always keep a couple of books in the car. If you’re waiting a few minutes while someone is running an errand, that’s plenty of time to read a funny verse or look at a short illustrated book together.
• Reading or storytelling are natural activities for calming down at beginnings of afternoon rests or at bed time.
• As to what you do when you look at or read a book, encourage participation, discuss what you find in the illustrations; this increases the child’s power of observation, as well as his or her vocabulary.
• If there is a refrain or repeated phrase, such as the little bear’s “Who has been eating my porridge?” you can pause and let your child say the words.
Peter Neumeyer is a professor of English at San Diego State University and highly recognized in the field of children’s literature. He is the author, editor, or translator of 10 books and over 100 articles. His articles and reviews appear regularly in Mother and Parents’ Choice. In 1994, he published The Annotated Charlotte’s Web, and he is currently assembling his second collection of poetry.