Monday, May 27, 2013

For the Love of Books (continued) by Leanne Willetts

Last Monday, I shared the first part 'For the Love of Books' (an article of mine that was published in the Manitoba Child Care Trade magazine in 1992). You can find the first part here.

Today, I offer you the second half...

I'm no Robert Munsch, how can I even attempt to read to a baby?

Even Robert Munsch had to, and still has to, practice. Most babies are a very receptive audience. They are perfectly content to lay there and listen to you. By using Robert Munsch and other storyteller's techniques you can enhance the reading experience. Some of these techniques are:

-Point out similarities between the world of the book and his/her world. Say something like, "Mary has a green ball just like the one in the picture."
-Ask questions and allow time for him/her to respond, whether there is a verbal, non-verbal, or no response. Allowing time for the infant to respond even before such communication is likely will prepare the child to pickup on the cue. Such preparation will make it more likely that an older child will take a more active role in the reading experience. 
-Talk about and draw interest in the illustrations. If the illustration is of an animal point to the animal and comment on its name and the sound it makes.
-Use gestures. When you read the word B-I-G use your body to dramatize the word.
-Vary voice tone: from low to high; loud to soft; slow to fast.
-Use eye contact.
-Use your imagination; vary the text, expand the story, use your creativity--remember nothing is written in stone.
-Use your genuine interest in the reading experience. If you show enthusiasm for what you are reading the baby will pick up on that.

The more you practice the better you will become. However, before everything else, please remember the needs of the young audience should be paramount. The book is there for the enjoyment of the baby. If you sense an infant's attention lagging, stop and read again later. Make the reading experience as positive as possible.

How soon can I start reading to a baby?

As soon as you begin talking to a baby, you can begin to read to him/her. Research has found that an early positive exposure to the reading experience will help the child slip naturally into the habit of reading.
Next post:  Report from the Mini Conference on Vancouver Island


Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne - I have especially enjoyed this post because we are voracious readers. We haven't had a television for over 33 years because we've always read instead - out loud - as a family.

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for your comment, Laurie. My parents were both voracious readers. And it was their reading to me and discussing books at the supper table that helped transform this dyslexic from a reluctant reader to a passionate one.