Use books about things children are familiar with to increase their letter knowledge. If they are interested in the word or have a connection to it they will remember it more easily. In the book A Bed for Bear by Clive McFarland, point to the letter “B” and say its name and sound. Then let your child know that the letter “B” is the first letter in the words “bed” and “bear.” You can even help your child make the letter in the air with his or her finger. By focusing on one letter during your book sharing, you will help to increase your child’s knowledge about letters.
–Tip by Barb M., Youth Programming and Outreach Assistant
As you read Monster, Be Good! by Natalie Marshall, have your child tell the monster the phrase after you read it. Then when you are done, ask some questions like, “What would you say if someone gave you a present?” or “What do you say if you accidentally bump into someone?” When you ask your child questions, give them extra time to think and to answer you. Talking back and forth uses different parts of the brain, so it takes time for children to form their responses. This is a fun way to learn manners and narrative skills!
–Tip by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian
You can use books to help expand your child’s vocabulary. Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood has many descriptive words that your child may not have heard before. You can help your child understand the meaning by looking at the pictures as well as the word’s opposite. You don’t need to stop to explain all of the words, but you may discuss a few of them as you read by giving examples of similar words or studying the pictures for clues about the word’s meaning.
–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator
To help your child develop the early literacy skill of print awareness, try playing this fun “I Spy” game using I Spy on the Farm by Edward Gibbs. Trace the word in bold with your finger and ask children what color they see. This will help your child associate the color with its written word.
–Tip by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head
Phonological awareness involves being able to break words down into parts. In Wiggle Waggle by Jonathan London, you’ll have fun with onomatopoeia—the name for words (many times silly ones) that sound like what they describe—like CLOMP or BOING! You may stretch the sounds in some of these words, or say them quickly!
–Tip by Amy S., Youth Programming Assistant