Written By: Sara Gillingham
Illustrated By: Stephen Krensky
Consider the cover with your child before beginning the story. Say something like, “Look, there is a little girl in a yellow dress! What is she doing in this picture?” This will allow your child to make a connection between him/herself and the book you are about to read. If your child is very young, point to the little girl on the cover and tell him/her about what you see by saying things like, “This little girl is painting a picture. She is painting with lots of colors like red, orange, yellow and green.”
As You Read
Help your child point to unfamiliar or interesting illustrations. Tell him/her the word for the object and encourage them to repeat it back to you or associate the sound with the object. For example, when you come to the part in the story when the little girl is bouncing the ball, say something like, “Look, it’s a ball! Can you say ‘ball’?” For children who are verbal, try asking simple questions like, “Can you find a red flower?” or “What is in her drawing?” Be sure to get excited and applause when your child engages with you and the book!
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. Data tells us that one of the most important factors for getting kids excited about reading is the excitement of the grownup reader. For example, when the little girl says that she knows that snow is cold, you can shiver and pretend to warm yourself up.
Asking questions is a helpful way to encourage your child to think about what s/he has just experienced so regardless of understanding, ask about the story and what the little girl knows. Questions might include:
Show me your favorite picture.
Did you like the story?
Do you know a lot like the little girl?
Activity: What Does Your Child Know?
This is an easy game to get your little one active and thinking about all of the things that they know. For very little ones, you can help them do the things that they know how to do. For example, you can say, “You know how to clap! Let’s clap our hands! You also know how to kick so let’s kick those legs!” For children that are verbal, ask “Do you know how to jump? Can you show me? Do you know how old you are? How old?” These questions will get your child engaged and make further connections with the story.