1/26/2008

Reading Books

It is important that children be introduced to books as early a possible. They must be taught to respect them as well as learn to use them appropriately. I have several pop-up books that I have used for years, and they have never been ruined. And yes, they have all been put on my library shelf. Here's my rule, I always have books available. When I find a book that they really enjoy, I keep it up for a few days; making sure that they are aware that I am keeping it "out of their reach". After a few days, I take it out during free choice time and give it to one of the more careful children. Of course, they all come flocking over (no matter what age group. I do this wit toddlers on up). I instruct them to be gentle with the book, keeping a fairly close eye (not close hand) on the book. I also make sure that after free choice time, the book gets put back again "out of reach". The next day, the book "accidentally" gets left on a table for anyone to get. Then at clean up, it just "happens" to get put away o the book shelf. Invariably, one child will come over and report "Miss Jenni, you're book is over there!" To which I respond, "That's okay, I know you will all be careful with it." And they are!
Next note: As I mentioned before, I try and find a picture of the author/illustrator for every book to display. Some books have the pictures on them; I love these books! The children start to recognize their faces and begin to recognize their styles as well. I have had some older children tell me the author/illustrator for a book they have yet to be introduced to simply because of the style.
Now, how I get them to treat the books with respect, other than modeling it, is to teach them about books. At EVERY circle time, and 90% of the free play reading requests, I do the following steps: (I will use Who Hops? by Katie Davis for an example)
1. I show them the front of the book. "Today we are reading Who Hops? by Katie Davis."
2. I then explain the parts of the book: "This is the front" (rub the front cover with the flat of my hand). "This is the back of the book" (I turn the book around and rub the back with the flat of my hand). "This is the spine of the book" (I turn the book, holding it in the palm of one hand and use my pointer finger to run along the spine). "Th spine holds all the pages together." I then hold the book so the front is up again. "On the front we have the title, this tells us the name of the book. What's the name of this book?" I point to the title and wait for them to respond (Who Hops?). "Good, and the front also tells us who the author is. Who's the author of this book?" Again, I wait for a response. If the author and illustrator is the same, I explain that to them. I also tell hem "The author writes the words. The illustrator draws the pictures."
Note: as I do this through out the year, I let them fill in the blanks. This is the ...... and wait for them to tell me. And the author....writes the words.
3. I then open the book to the title page. I tell them "This is the title page. It also tells us the title, author and illustrator." I point to each one.
4. Now, I read the book. The first time through, I don't do the little questions and stuff they tell all of us to do in training. Sorry, it breaks up the story too much and I want them to enjoy the story for what it is; they will learn and learn to question through one on one readings. (I know! Rock the boat! What will we do if we don't ask them "What do you think will happened?")
5. That's it! We're done! Maybe we discuss it, maybe we don't. Depends on the book. Here's a note: Not every book needs to be discussed! Sometimes it just needs to be enjoyed!

I typically take these steps slowly at first. I usually introduce one part of the book a week until we have it all; so it takes a few weeks of a new class to get it all down. Depending on the interest of the lass, I have even introduced them to the part of the book that gives a summary so we can find out what it will be about; the author's biography; and maybe eve the copyright information. You have to know what your children are ready for, and take them a half step further!

On one more note, at nap time, I read aloud from chapter books (Charlotte's Web, Ramona Quimby, The Secret Garden, and more)!

1 comment:

Katie Davis said...

Hi Jenni,

I love how you're teaching your students to love books! If you think they'd like to ask me questions, make a list with them and email them to me. I'd be happy to answer them (no need to edit them!)

People thought it was odd that my picture books had my photo in it, but now I know it was a good idea!

Best, Katie Davis