Written By: Gerda Muller
Consider the cover with your child before beginning the story. For very young children, take this opportunity to point to the different elements on the cover and tell your little one what you see. For example, say “Look! There is a little boy and a little girl. They are walking in the rain with an umbrella. And look at all of those leaves, apples and berries!” If your child is verbal, ask simple questions to get him/her engaged like “What do you see? What is this?”
Of course, you’ll notice that this is a wordless book. At first, it might seem confusing, but in fact, wordless books can be incredibly powerful. For the youngest children, it is fun to simply point out what you see on each page, or make up a story to go with the images. As children grown up, wordless books can inspire their imaginations, giving them the opportunity to “read” to you, and to create new stories.
As You Read
Wordless books are a great opportunity for you to build your child’s vocabulary, giving you the freedom to narrate as you please and focus on any aspects of the illustration that interest you and your child. Give everything a name and create your own plot line, which can change each time you read the story! As you are naming objects in the book, say them slowly and encourage your child to follow suit and repeat the word with you. For example, when the little boy is grooming his dog, point to the picture and say, “The little boy is drying his dog. Can you say ‘dog’?” As your child gets older and begins to acquire more vocabulary words, give him/her the opportunity to tell you what s/he sees and what s/he think is happening in the story.
Add movement and gestures to your reading! This adds to the non-verbal communication between you and your child, and keeps the book fun and engaging. The excitement of young readers is greatly influenced by the enthusiasm of the grownup reader, so have fun! For example, when the little boy is eating his food at the table as his mother ladles out blueberry jam, pretend to be eating out of a bowl and enjoying the same treat as the little boy.
Asking questions is a helpful way to encourage your child to think about what s/he has just experienced. Regardless of understanding, ask about the story and what the children did during those autumn days and then answer the questions yourself. Questions might include:
Did you like the story?
Can you show me your favorite picture?
What do you like to do in Autumn?
Activity: Apple Stamping Craft
Adapted from Mama Papa Bubba
Supplies: Large sheet of paper, apples, paper plates or a large tray, green, orange, red and yellow paint
- Help your child get in the Autumn spirit with this fun and hands-on apple stamping activity!
- Cut your apples in half from top to bottom. Then pour out a good amount of each color of paint onto a tray or paper plate.
- Spread out a large sheet of paper and let your child have at it! You can simply have him/her stamp as they please or draw a large tree and have him/her stamp the apples onto the tree. Either way your child will have a blast creating a beautiful Autumn masterpiece that you can hang up on display when it’s all dry!