“Mom, I’ll probably pick just one more. Okay?” my son says to me as we rock in the rocker at bedtime. I agree and he reaches for one of the current favorites, “Duck in the Truck,” by Jez Alborough. It is a hilarious book about a duck who gets his truck stuck in the muck, and how his friends help him get it out. The rhyming make it as fun to read as it is to hear, and the illustrations are downright adorable. This is the second book in the line-up of two bedtime stories. Not that every book is not followed by “I’ll probably just pick one more” (which my 2-year-old adds probably onto most phrases…) but I continue with my limit as two. I could read to him for hours, but as he starts to rub his eyes and tug on his hair, it is best I maintain my limit.
We also read books randomly throughout the day. He comes over to me, curls up in my lap, and asks me to read to him. We tell stories about pirates, and farms and going to school. Anything from rabbits to dinosaurs and tractors or trucks - anything goes.
But like most children, he likes to read the same books again and again. Why do they do this? It isn’t to annoy you or test you to see how many times they can get you to read it. How many of you out there have Goodnight Moon memorized? Children enjoy the predictability of a familiar story. When the recurrent phrase comes along in the story stop reading and let your child fill it in. You will be surprised at how much they have it memorized!
Letting your child “read” with you builds confidence and helps them make the connection that the words on the page are attached to the phrases. Whether it is a new book or the same old book, again and again, stop and talk about the pictures. Ask open ended questions like, “Why do you think the tractor got stuck?” Making predictions and answering questions helps develop comprehension.
Sometimes I ask my son to put himself in the story. “What would you do if your truck was stuck in the muck?” To this he looks at me and says, “Get it out mommy!” For a peek into the book “Duck in the Truck” go to www.ErinWithUsborne.com