Many parents of toddlers and preschoolers wonder, “How can I teach my child to read?” I like to shift the question a bit to: “How can I help prepare my young child to read?” While decoding, recognizing and translating symbols is an essential part to reading, developing comprehension skills is key to understanding what words really mean. Good readers don’t just name and pronounce words, they grasp the meaning and nuances behind them.
Talking, singing, rhyming and sharing stories with babies and toddlers throughout the day builds a background for reading comprehension. As the child grows, daily reading from picture books provides pleasurable learning moments, too.
And when the book is all about the child and chock full of photos with printed descriptions of their everyday activities, the marks on paper come to life.
When family friend Frida Mork turned 3, her Uncle John expanded her library with “THE FRIDA BOOK.” A real page-turner, the personalized homemade publication was created with photos of Frida doing everyday things. Accompanying the photos are questions with clues in the photos designed to:
–stimulate memories: “What are you making in the kitchen with Mommy? Cupcakes!”
–build vocabulary: “Who’s that grilling tasty bratwurst?”
–develop learning skills: “Count to three” with One, Two, Three photos of Frida.
Now as Frida approaches her 4th birthday, the book is still happily clutched in her hands and “read” over and over again. (Thanks to sheets of clear contact paper covering pages, peanut butter and other sticky stuff are easily removed with a damp cloth.)
Here’s how to make a personalized “My First Book.”
–eight 9-by-12-inch sheets of heavy colored construction paper
–photos of the child with people, places and pets
–clear adhesive-backed paper, cut in eight 9-by-12-inch pieces
–2 loose-leaf book rings or ribbon
Here’s the fun:
Fold each of the eight sheets of construction paper in half widthwise. Stack them one on top of the other with their folds lined up on the right side. The front of the top folded sheet will be the book’s cover. The back of the bottom sheet will be the back of the book.
Glue a photo of the child on the cover, and add a title. Attach additional photos and write text with markers on the remaining 14 pages. Add stickers, if you wish.
Protect the pages by folding a sheet of adhesive-backed paper around the folded right edge of each sheet of construction paper.
Bind the book by punching two equidistant holes along the left side of the pages and attach with the metal rings. (Add additional pages of new experiences as the child grows.)