The illustrations in picture books are often times what attract kids to them. So, it makes sense that when listening to you read a story, your child will primarily focus on the pictures. And, when she’s not looking at the pictures, she’s probably watching you as you read—especially if you’re an animated reader. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with looking at the illustrations and your amusing facial expressions, looking at the print on the page can really help your child learn valuable information about letters, sounds, and words. Here are some tips for helping your child notice the text:
-Simply run your finger under the words as you read them. This will help your child see the relationship between the spoken and written words. If you don’t want to do this for the entire book, you can just point out parts, like when a character is speaking.
-Talk about the different parts of the book when you read it. On the cover, point out the title, author, and illustrator and describe what they are. As you read, show your child where you begin—on the left side, at the top—and how you move from there.
-Point out different letters that you see. Your child will get excited to find ones that she knows, like the first letter of her name, and it is a good way to teach her ones with which she’s less familiar. In addition, you can talk about lowercase and uppercase letters and show how they look different in the book.
Doing all of this will contribute to your child’s print awareness and can have a big impact on her future reading success. Hopefully she’ll soon begin to notice that there are, in fact, words on the pages of her books!