Help Your Child “Read the Pictures”
To help your child read the pictures, start the storytelling as soon as you show the cover of the book. Look at the cover of the book together and point out what you see. Engage her by asking questions like, “I see here that there are three bears sitting at a table and it looks like they are about to eat something. I’m guessing this story is going to be about these three bears and what they are doing in their home. Can you tell me what’s going to happen on the next page?”
This helps develop literacy skills in pre–literate children, helping them build confidence. Even if they aren’t reading independently yet, they are still able to navigate a book and understand the meaning of a story.
Prompt Your Child
As you turn to the next page, ask your child to tell you the story. Children who are 3–, 4– and 5- years old may respond by telling you that they can’t read yet. Try responding by saying, “You may not be able to read the words, but you can absolutely read the pictures. Tell me what you see in the pictures, because that tells me the story.”
Encourage your child to tell you the story based on what she sees in the pictures. As she tells you what she sees, ask more questions to proling the storytelling, “What do you think is happening here? I see there is a dog hiding underneath the table. What do you think the dog is doing? Why did they leave the door open? What do you think is going to happen?”
As the story continues, your child will eventually come to the end of the book and determine an ending for the story.
Extend the Activity
The learning doesn’t have to stop when the book ends. If she says at the end of the story,“The ladybug was happy and flew away,” ask questions that can extend the activity, “What if the ladybug didn’t fly away? What if she turned around and came right back home? What would happen now?” Challenge your child to make up an alternate ending without the support of an illustration. This can help strengthen a child’s comprehension skills, creativity skills, and for older children, encourage them to draw the pictures that support their alternate ending.
Looking for more ways to incorporate literacy into your little one’s routine? Check out our book lists and these realted articles:
Encouraging Reluctant Readers: Tips to Get Your Child Excited About Books
5 Tips to Strengthen Early Literacy Skills
Reading the pictures of a book is a great way to build confidence in emerging readers. Your child can still tell a story with the pictures in the book even if she can’t pull meaning from words on the page yet.