Making the Grade
Lloyd Barber is a retired early childhood educator who most recently taught kindergarten at Kingsley Elementary in Evanston. He was awarded a Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award in 1999.
Tips for parents
Young children are ready to become critical thinkers and problem solvers regardless of their age. Reading aloud to your child can enhance these goals by using the following suggestions:
• Discuss the cover of the book before reading. Look at the pictures on the cover, the colors used, the shapes included, etc. Discuss these items with your child and mention how they may be related to the content of the story and/or picture book. Ask if there are objects around the home similar to shapes found on the cover. Before opening the book is a perfect time to discuss predictions about story content, theme, setting, etc.
• While you are reading, stop occasionally and question your child about what might happen in the story, the feelings the characters are expressing, similar stories you’ve read together, etc. Again, relate the story to objects at home of similar color, texture, shape. See if your child can predict what might happen in another part of the story. For more mature children, this is the perfect time to discuss synonyms and/or antonyms of words included in the story and to recall other books with similar themes and to discuss how this book is similar or different from other books by the same author.
• Most importantly, read with your child every day.