Friday, October 9, 2015

I have books for my little one; now what do I do?

When you read to your child, do you just read, or do you allow yourself to get a bit silly? Using a few books that were donated to our NICU book project, here are some things you can do with books in addition to simply reading them to your child.

Dino Parade is a fun board book by Thom Wiley and illustrated by Benji Davies. Instead of having pages, this cute book opens out into a dinosaur parade. 

On this page, you can ask your child about the colors of the dinosaurs. Ask if they dinosaurs look happy or what your child thinks the dinosaurs may be thinking.

Again, you can talk about colors. You can count the dinosaurs, and ask, "How many dinosaurs are flying. How many are blue, how many are red, etc. Then, count with them.

One side of the parade has words, and the other side has the names of the dinosaurs. You can also talk about the instruments the dinosaurs are playing. Books are a great way to build your child's vocabulary. You can teach your child about accordions, trumpets and horns, and drums.

Laura Numeroff If You Give A _______ series are great for teaching children how to predict. Remember that a prediction doesn't have to be correct, but it gets your child thinking about what may happen based on what has already happened. Felicia Bond does a great job on the cute illustrations in this series.

How Does Sleep Come by Jeanne C. Blackmore and illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles has amazing pictures. This is a gentle book just perfect for bedtime. You can ask about the different animals in this book and the sounds they make. There are many pages where you can count items on the page.

If you don't live by water, these pages are a great way to introduce your child to new vocabulary words and build their background knowledge. Many of my students were not read to, so they lack knowing what a lighthouse is or what the purpose of a buoy is. Your child can find these items on the page, and you can talk about the importance of both items.
This page with beautiful butterflies is a great page to introduce butterfly kisses to your child. Get a bit silly, and let them feel your lashes on their cheek, and then let them give you butterfly kisses. Reading should be a time of love, laughter, and without your child even knowing it, they are learning.
 How many white flowers does this page have, how many yellow?

 These shape books are not stories, but they are still so much fun.

A child who can speak, can feel like they can read as they identify the pictures on the page. Put your finger under the word and ask, "What does this word say?" This allows them to know that the words have meaning. Of course you can also talk about colors used.

When reading this book, you could stop at each shape and go on a treasure hunt or an outdoor field trip and try to find the shapes in the environment.  You can ask, "Do you like to eat pizza?" (or cake, cucumbers, or oranges). You can talk about the word circles and that it starts with a C. "Let's look for other words on this page that start with a C."

Make sure that reading is fun. If your child struggles to sit through a story, that is okay. Read a page or two if that is all they have attention for. The attention span will come. Bedtime is a great time to read, but it certainly doesn't have to be the only time you read to your child. Allow this to be a wind down, snuggle, bonding time with your child.

Ready, set, Read!


  1. How does sleep come makes me cry. The little sleeping face at the end of the book just reminds me of arias sleeping face and how it's growing and changing despite my efforts to pause her life. Such a cute book!

    1. I need to go to Seagull Book and get one for me. It is a beautiful book.