Shared book reading
Shared book reading.. it sounds pretty simple, right?
The key thing is that it's not 'Parent reading the book to the child while child listens quietly".
We want to take the conversation 'off the page' through discussions, conversations, asking and answering questions and relating the book to our own lives.
What are the benefits of shared book reading? Children learn many pre-literacy skills during shared book reading (you can read more about that here), but more importantly it rapidly builds their language.
Even listening to the sound of your voice, the way we talk, change our tone and when we pause are all the little things that children are observing.
Here's some ideas to try to make the most of your shared book reading:
Make a mistake and wait for the child's reaction
Talk about things that are the 'same' or 'different' and how they are ("Here's another tiger! But this one is smaller. This one is bigger")
Find something in the room that is like the picture or object in the book ("You have a teddy too. You like to cuddle your teddy, just like this girl does")
Turn the page and WAIT. Wait and see what gets your child's attention, and talk about that. Wait and see what your child can tell you about the story, before you jump in and tell them
Talk about who, what, where, why, how and what would you do if... This helps children to learn how to answer a range of questions, but also gets them thinking beyond the page. How would you feel if you thought a monster was under your bed? Why is the tiger looking for food?
Most importantly, keep book reading fun. Some families find that in order for the child to participate in books, they can't read any words at all! That's okay, there's plenty of conversations that can still be had, with lots of language opportunities.