Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reading Tip in Practice: Enjoy A Book Your Way!

Today I'm sharing a reading tip and how we use it!

Reading Tip

Books don’t have to be read cover to cover to be enjoyed. Use the book the way you want to.

In Practice

Sometimes it’s nice to know age guidelines or “recommendations” for books. But, I don’t always follow age guidelines, to be honest.

Let me tell you why (or read more from a previous post as to why age guidelines don't matter as much as you think). If you look up the children's book Art & Max by David Wiesner on Amazon you'll see it is recommended for kids ages 4 and up, but guess what? Baby bookworm LOVED and LEARNED from the book, and she's only 2. I’m happy I didn’t know the recommended age guideline before we checked it out of the library!

Sure, it’s nice to enjoy a book from front to back, and to use age guidelines as a guide. But, books don’t have to be read this way. Kids can learn from “easy” books, or challenging books if you use them the way you want to and get creative. How many times have we been stuck in a Dr’s office with no “suitable” books? LOTS.

Don’t miss a learning opportunity.

Here are some ways we have enjoyed and learned from just about any book.

  • Forget the plot, talk about the pictures (if included)
  • Count the pages (if it’s a long book – estimate!)
  • Identify particular words or letters on the pages
  • Make up your own story based on the title
  • Pick a word on the page and ask your child what it means
  • Identify parts of the book: the title page, author’s name, illustrator’s name, table of contents, glossary (if included), spine, back page, author’s biography, or dedication  
  • Select a word or picture from the book and think of a word that rhymes with it
  • Name as many colors as you can in the book (even books without pictures have colors, right?)
  • Make up your own search and find game (use pictures or words)
  • Find the longest word on a page, and the shortest
  • Pick an action word and ask your child to reenact it
  • Name other books that you know on a similar topic
  • Predict what the book is about from the cover page (No picture? What does the title suggest about the book?)
  • Identify the main character in the book
  • Name three things you like about the book (even without having read it cover to cover)
  • Identify the first word in the book, and the last
  • Identify the beginning of the book, the middle, and the end
  • Point out the punctuation and talk about what it means
  • Read a bit of dialogue from the book (if included) in a funny voice
  • Count the number of words on a page (if there are too many words – estimate!)

What if your child is still developing language skills and can’t respond to your questions?  That’s OK! He or she will still enjoy hearing YOU talk.

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite way to learn from a book without reading it cover to cover? I’ll add it to my list!


  1. This is an excellent post. There are so many ways to learn from any book (and any play experience ;) We love acting out our favorite books.

  2. Thanks Joyce for stopping by! Yes, I actually get tired of "reading" the same book over and over, so these things help to mix it up a little!


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