The Incredible Years® Blog

Building Blocks for Reading with CARE with Preschoolers

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Written by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.

Welcome to our final installment of “Reading with CARE” for Preschoolers! We hope you have found this series useful when considering different ways to read with your young children.

Building Blocks for Reading with CARE with Preschoolers

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c_blockComment and describe objects, colors, numbers, sizes, letters, emotions, and actions of pictures in books. Talk about the pictures in your native language while you point to the pictures, or run your finger under the lines of the words as you read them.  Take turns interacting and let your child turn the pages and be the story teller by encouraging and listening to him/her talk about the pictures or retell memorized stories

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a_blockAsk  open-ended questions and explore book together. Ask questions that show you are interested in the child’s thoughts and ideas.  E.g. “What do you think will happen next?” “What’s interesting about this page?”   Avoid asking too many questions or your child will think you are testing him.  To keep a balance you can intersperse open-ended questions with descriptive comments.  E.g. “I see a red car and one, two, three, four trees.  Oh, there’s a little mouse.  What do you see?”  When you do ask questions, don’t “test” your child about facts (e.g., “what color is this?” “what shape is this?”).  Questions with right or wrong answers put the child on the spot and may cause anxiety or resistance.

Examples of open ended questions:

“What do you see on this page?” (observing and reporting)

“What’s happening here?” (story telling)

“What is that a picture of?” (promoting academic skills)

“I wonder how she is feeling now?” (exploring feelings)

“What is going to happen next?” (predicting)

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r_blockRespond and listen attentively with smiles, encouragement, praise and delight to your child’s thinking and responses. Follow your child’s lead and empower his or her confidence.

“Good thinking, that is a tall giraffe.”

“You really thinking hard about that.”

“Wow, you know a lot about trains.”

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e_blockExpand on your what your child says. You can expand by adding a new word or similar word to what your child says or by reminding her of a personal experience or event in her life that is similar to the story in the book.

“Yes, I agree he is feeling excited, and he might be a little scared as well.”

“Yes, it is horse; it’s also called a mare because it’s female.”

“Yes, that boy is going to the park. Do you remember going to the park with grandma?”

You can also expand by encouraging your child to write his own stories, or dictate them to you and write them down.

“That’s awesome. You are learning your letters and are learning to read and are going to be ready for school.”

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You can expand by encouraging your child to problem solve solutions to the story plot and act out their ideas with puppets.

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Reminder to:

• Read in a quiet place, turn off any competing noises such as TV, stereo, radio or computer. Even the phone should be turned off during this time.

• Avoid commands and criticisms when children are reading.

• Allow children to reread stories as often as they wish. This is a pre-reading skill and leads to mastery and confidence.

• Read to children every day and allow them to see you reading.

• Offer a variety of books such as folk tales, poems, informational books, fantasy, fables and adventure stories.

• Involve siblings and grandparents in reading to your child in their language.

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~The Incredible Years Team

Content of this blog ©The Incredible Years®

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