Talking with very young children

TalkingVocabulary is built when talking directly to a child.  Once a child begins to talk, give her or him an opportunity to talk to you.

Research shows that conversations that deepen a topic are very beneficial to children just learning how to talk (Developing narrative structure, edited by A. McCabe and C. Peterson.  1991)
David Dickinson, describes this effort to deepen a conversation as “Strive for 5″.

Speak and then wait for up to 5 seconds for the child to respond – and then the adult speaks again.  Can you keep the dialogue alive for 5 turns?

Adult –> Child –> Adult –> Child –> Adult

I don’t model this well in storytime.  I may ask children questions, but I will not wait patiently for an answer.  Please, trust what the researchers say – not what you see me do in front of a group at storytime.


March Madness Tournament for Picture Books

My last post highlighted some favorite Easy Reader books.  I encouraged adults to rediscover them and to share some of their favorites with their children.

March Madness Easy ReadersThen we thought it would be a fun idea to have a tournament where we would pit some easy reader books against each other.

We have 8 books this week, and we will reduce it to the Final 4 on Tuesday, March 31.

Please help us select the winners.  Paper ballots are in the children’s room.  You can also vote online on the children’s page of the library’s website.      ~Maureen

These are the 8 books in contention this week:

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Grownups enjoying Easy Reader books

The last several “tips” were scholarly.  There are steps that ENABLE children to read, but we must never forget that making stories enjoyable is the most important thing we can do to help children want to read.

Here are some fun Easy Reader books:

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Here are some classic Easy Reader books:

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After much repetition, children will learn some of these words.


#5 and #6 tips to ENABLE your child to read

#5  Learn Words  stop_sign

Help your child learn new words every day.  We build a baby’s vocabulary by saying the names of everyday objects.  Once a child begins to talk, we teach the names of animals and what they say; we teach colors, etc.  The more we speak with children, the more words they will learn.

Talk to your child about many things.  Ask many questions.

question#6 Encourage Questions

Help your child ask and answer questions.  Take guesses about what will happen next.  Was that character serious or just kidding?  Make up a similar story that has a different beginning, middle or end.

Enjoy books.
Notice that letters on the pages stand for words.
Apply sounds to letters.
Blend sounds together to make words.
Learn more and more words.
Encourage questions.

We do these things already.  It’s great to pause and think about the importance of all the small things in life.  And to realize how awesome are the results of all these little things…


#4 Blend Sounds

E N A B L E your child to read  Hickory-Dickory-Dock

E stands for Enjoy books
N stands for Notice words
A stands for Apply sounds

B stands for Blend sounds

Help your child hear sounds that blend to make words.

Use nursery rhymes and finger plays to introduce speech sounds.

Pronounce words emphasizing all the small sounds that blend together.

Ask what word rhymes with Cat.  And then ask what else rhymes with Cat.