There are many ways to use books and the more ways you can interact with your kids and books together the better!
Here are a few of our suggestions; please leave your ideas on the blog so we can add your ideas to our list of activities.
1. Have book hunts looking for specific themes, categories of things, emotions, etc. in the picture book (i.e. - find things that are yellow such as the sun, a flower, a raincoat, a school bus, etc.) Another example would be to point to targeted objects such as a ball, a bug, or someone who is sad). Besides labeling the target item you can say things like, “found a….”, “flowers are yellow”, “more bugs!”, “big bug”, “a bug that flies”, “buzzzzz”, “he’s happy”, “she’s happy”, and “they are happy here”. You are building with your child attention to detail, observation skills and grouping.
2. Play “copy or charades”; look for action words/verbs to mimic. “He’s kicking; let’s practice kicking”, “They’re having fun swimming, here’s how I swim! Can you swim?” This is a great way to build usable vocabulary.
3. Ask your child to take turns as you read. “Turn the page”, “My turn”, or “find your favorite food, here’s mine”. You’re building turn-taking skills for play and conversation.
4. Pick a character to play. The parent model could say, “I think she would say, It’s raining. Time to go inside!” The parent could ask the child, ”What is he going to say? The child would respond, “It’s raining, let’s jump in the puddles – SPLASH!” Your child becomes the voice of the character.
5. Read the book to your child using the words printed and have your child point to certain targeted words (i.e. the character’s name, the word ball, raincoat). This encourages print literacy. As they get older have them read the targeted words as you read the rest of the story.
With children 4+ count items as you go. For example, “ how many cars are in the book?”, “how many butterflies?” You can count items on each page as well. Building quantity and number awareness.
Use books in different ways to build comprehension, sequencing, vocabulary and verbal expression.