We are counting down the days to International Book Giving Day, so I thought it would be inspirational to list at least 5 ways I have enjoyed books with my own children and with the children I taught in classrooms. Day 5 is Friday, so here's the first of my list of 5's as we count down to International Book Giving Day.
Babies and Toddlers love it when you show them the illustrations and provide simple labels as you point to the pictures and identify them. For example: Ball. Red Ball. Bounce, Bounce.
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This is a fabulous book! It has a cardboard red ball attached to a red ribbon that you can use as a prop. The words are lyrically similar to the way a ball sounds as it "bounces" from page to page. The babies in my classroom loved it when we read this one! Toddlers would also enjoy the rhythmic words. They will want to bounce like the ball as you read about the adventures of the energetic baby in this book.
Keep a bag with special "props" to enhance your story time for the week. Pick 2 or 3 special reads and fill a bag with items to pull out throughout each book. Puppets are perfect for this technique. I worked for Primrose Schools where we used a set of puppets that identified with specific character traits such as loyalty, friendship, and fairness. These puppets were regular guests during circle time and story time. There was even a Bookworm who helped introduce each story and its author. You might consider using a special stuffed animal or puppet to announce your story time.
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Sing the story! You can make up a tune to accompany the text. It doesn't matter if you are on key or if your pitch is all over the place. Making the story a musical number is magical to young children. They may even have an increased attention span. A favorite book of mine that is perfect for this technique is "Ten on the Sled." Given the recent abundance of snow in most parts of the country, this selection is timely and loads of fun. (I used the tune: There were 5 in the bed and the little one said, "Roll over, Roll over." Most of you probably remember some version of this song.)
Ten on the Sled [Kim Norman, Liza Woodruff] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Author Kim Norman
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Use sign language to enhance the reading experience. There are many resources available to quickly learn a few basic signs and customize your story telling. You can also choose to make up some of your own gestures that children will enjoy. Showing them a way to use movement to tell a story is a great way to keep everyone engaged and interested in the moment.
Books in a Basket Activity - Gather a selection of "Child Friendly" books with sturdy covers. Place them in an attractive basket and place them near your child's other toys. Watch what happens. Even the tiniest of infants will crawl to the basket to explore its contents. You know that your reading time is a success when babies and toddlers begin to imitate holding a book, turning pages, and mimicking sounds that symbolize the way you read to them. They may even begin to point to pictures then hold the book out to you to participate in labeling items and actions. Baby will at some point invite you to participate by reaching for you, showing you a favorite book, or dumping the basket onto the floor. This is your cue to sit down with baby and share story time. You can expand this activity by putting books in/out of basket, stacking them into a tower, counting them, and turn taking to teach the art of sharing.
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The Gift of Literature is Priceless!