seventh being released in just a few short months! I continue to teach as a visiting author to schools across the country and I also work with teachers and parents on how to teach reading and writing. In order to teach a child to read, we need to start with the basic strategies in order to decode words. Once children get these basic skills down, and in the process of learning these skills as well, we need to teach two important processes; fluency and comprehension. I recently interviewed a reading specialist in a brief 20 minute video about this same topic and she breaks it down in very basic terms for newbies to the world of teaching reading. So today I am not going to go through the basic skills of teaching to decode words and I am not focusing on fluency but on what I find to be a much harder concept for children to grasp as they get into more challenging text, comprehension. What’s reading if we don’t have the ability to remember important take aways such as theme from the book? I recommend that from the time children are preschoolers and you are reading TO them as a daily routine, you begin these conversations on comprehesion around the picture books you have chosen. Here are my top five favorites. As far as what ages I find these books appropriate for, I like to recommend picture books be used as mentor texts to launch a lesson in preschool all the way through upper elementary. Mental Images: I like to use A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon to teach visualizing. It’s important for children to develop this strategy early on, being able to picture what is happening based on the descriptions given by the author in order to enjoy reading chapter books later in their journey of reading. Start by reading this book without showing the illustrations and have children illustrate what they hear. Making Connections: There are several ways to make connections. Starting with Text-to-Self connections, a child reads a book or hears a story and relates the character and their feelings to their own life. My No, No, No Day by Rebecca Patterson is a story that we can all relate to, having a bad day! Asking Questions: Asking questions before we read a story (after taking a picture walk through the pages) during reading and after the story is over all help us to comprehend what we are reading. The Empty Pot by Demi is a story that gets us thinking and asking questions. Inferring (Making Predictions): To infer is to predict what might happen based on clues in the story, in the text or based on what we know (our prior knowledge) The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood is a great story to teach this strategy. Problem and Solution: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems is a favorite story in our household. There is a basic problem and solution for children to recognize during and after reading. Talk about different attempts that were made to solve the problem by the characters. Ask the question, have you ever had a similar problem? How did you solve it? Find out more about books I recommend over on Instagram.
Head over to Sparking in Second to see what Jen has in store for you!