I’m so excited to have my first guest blogger on Stay At Home Educator be Becky from This Reading Mama. Becky is a homeschooling mother with a masters degree in elementary reading education. Her blog is full of wonderful ideas about how to use hands on activities to encourage the love of learning within her children. When I first stumbled upon This Reading Mama, it immediately became the latest addition to my bookmarks page, and is now a blog I refer to with incredible frequency. I know you will enjoy it as much as I have!
Sitting down to read a book to my two and a half year old looks nothing like reading a book to my older child. My 1st grade child will sit and listen to every word I read, even letting me know if I skip a word (or paragraph…ahem). My preschooler, on the other hand, will turn the pages before the first sentence comes out of my mouth. But if I take the time to talk through the pictures, we have the most delightful conversations. And guess what? I’m totally fine with that because I can use the pictures to model comprehension, even with my two year old.
Using Picture Books to Model Comprehension
Just recently, we “read” Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk by Dav Pilkey. These little books really are cute. He has a whole series!
Based on this picture alone, here’s what we discussed*:
- Why does the woman have a big brush in her hand?
- Why do you think the woman is giving the dogs a bath?
- Do you think big dog likes the bath? Why not?
- How do you think the woman feels about giving the dogs a bath?
- Why is the woman’s dress so muddy?
- What is going to happen next?
Using Magazine Photos to Model Comprehension
Looking at pictures isn’t limited to picture books at home. You can do this anywhere with all kinds of texts. Waiting at the doctor’s office? Find a magazine lying on a nearby table and go for it!
- Who do you think these girls are? Do they know each other? Friends? Sisters? Cousins?
- How do you think they feel about each other?
- What are they doing?
- What do you think they are saying to each other?
- Who do you think is the oldest girl?
- What do you think they are fighting about? What happened before they started arguing?
- What do you think will happen next?
- Who are the people in the picture?
- What happened before the picture was taken?
- Why do you think they gave the dog a bath?
- How do you think the people feel?
- Why are their eyes closed?
- Where do you think the mom and boy are? At home? At the grocery store, etc.?
- What time of year do you think that it is?
- What do you think will happen next?
Using Wordless Books to Model Comprehension
I love using wordless picture books with preschoolers because they can let their imaginations fly, paving the way for some great discussions (and comprehension)!
Wordless Book Title Suggestions:
- Trainstop< /em> by Barbara Lehman
- Truck by Donald Crews
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
- Do You Want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle
- Tuesday by David Wiesner
- Chalk by Bill Thomson
- Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins
- Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins (partially wordless)
- Good Night, Gorilla (partially wordless)
The exciting part about talking through pictures with your preschooler is that you are laying a solid foundation for helping her comprehend text on her own as she grows as a reader. Your child gets to experience firsthand that books are meant to be enjoyed and understood. You’re also teaching some very important comprehension strategies, such as1. Inferring: setting (when and where), inferring emotions, situations (What happened before this picture?) 2. Making Connections: How would you feel if that happened to you? What would you do in this situation? (text-to-self connections work best for preschoolers) 3. Predicting: What do you think will happen next? What makes you think that? 4. Visualizing: Make pictures and talk about the pictures in your head as you make connections, infer, and predict. 5. Asking Questions: I wonder why…? or other questions like this are used by good readers
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Becky Spence is a homeschooling mama to four little blessings (ages 7, 4, 2, & 9 months). She is passionate about teaching, specifically literacy. She is the author of This Reading Mama, where she shares reading and writing activities as well as free literacy curricula and printables. You can also join This Reading Mama via Facebook , Twitter, or Pinterest.
I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction