Prior to beginning a new book, generate your child’s curiosity by reading the title and looking at the cover illustration together. Share ideas about what the story may be about, the kinds of characters that may be in the story, and where the story may take place. Then, when the story ends, you and your child can compare and contrast the ideas you had before reading and what you know after reading.
Take the Time
Take the time to stop the reading of the book, to talk about what's happening, and to enjoy the pictures.
Follow Child’s Cues
During reading, let your child’s questions and observations guide any discussion that takes place. Your child’s natural curiosity related to a story’s plot, words, and pictures provides organic “teachable moments” when specific reading strategies and skills can be addressed based on your child’s personal development as an emerging reader. These sorts of interactions increase the likelihood that particular story elements, letter sounds, letter combinations, and words will be recognized when they appear in new texts.
Enunciate Clearly and Read at a Steady Pace
As you read stories aloud, keep your pace at a rate that is not too fast or too slow. Enunciate the words clearly and if the text is minimal, point to each word as you read it. Emphasize the beginning and ending sounds of words slightly to help your child connect the words you are saying with the written words on the page.
Read with Feeling
As you read stories to your child, use intonations and expressions that reflect the tone, humor, or emotion of the text. This will encourage your child to connect to the written word with the whole body, not just the eyes and ears. In this way, reading becomes a holistic experience that captures the mind, the imagination, and the pleasure that comes from being “wrapped up” in a book.
Share Your Passion for Reading
As you share books with your child, make references to your personal enjoyment of reading. For example, if you like a particular rhyme or illustration, comment on it and ask if your child has his or her own particular favorite. Maybe you like to make the sound of a particular letter such as “s” or say a particularly fun word such as “puddle.” Share your preferences and your child will follow suit and discover his or her own favorite letters, words, pictures and rhymes.
Make Real-World Connections
Help your child relate a story to his or her own experiences in the world. For example, if the most recent story read contains fish characters, point out fish on packaging, signs, or clothing during trips outside of the home and have your child name the colors or special features of the fish. Your child may even want to dictate, illustrate, or write his or her own book with fish characters based on the colors, patterns, and types of fish seen out and about in the world.
Extend on the Story
Use our extension worksheets and printables for each Twiggle Book. Children can color a coloring page from the story, write or dictate their own extension of the story, or practice writing some letters or words from the story.
Often during reading, children will point out letters, sounds, or words they recognize. Use these occasions to invent games where particular words, letters, and sounds become the focus of a story “scavenger hunt.” Your child may want to look for the letter m, words that begin with m, animal words, or sight words such as “the,” “a,” or “and.” Let your child be the guide according to his or her comfort level with the reading process..
Bring Characters to Life
Twiggle Books feature several engaging characters that show up in several of the stories. Talk about the story characters as if they are special friends. Connect the characters’ experiences in stories to your child’s experiences in similar situations. Ask questions such as “I wonder what Twiggi and Lily are doing right now?” or make statements such as “Twiggi and Lily would love this zucchini bread we just made!"
Define Difficult Vocabulary
If you come across a word in a story that your child may not yet comprehend, be sure to explain what it means so that your child can remain engaged with the plot. Make learning the difficult vocabulary word exciting by prefacing its introduction with an expression such as “Oh my, this is a big word, but I bet if I explain it, you can understand what it means.” Your child will take pride in learning the meanings of more complex words.
Make Connections Between Words
Many of the Twiggle Books contain vocabulary words that go together thematically, such as animal words, color words, or location words. Take opportunities to transfer categories of words that appear in stories to life experiences. For example, if a particular story contains a set of animal words, visit the zoo or a farm and look for the same set of words on signs and exhibits. This will reinforce your child’s acquisition of word recognition skills.