The scene is familiar. You and your little one (or ones) are ready to share a story.
You have found the perfect space to cuddle up in. Perhaps, it’s the living room sofa and you’ve tuned out the chaos of toys and clutter around you… Or, you may be nestled in the cozy little reading niche you so carefully designed with these moments in mind… Are you tucked under the covers of a bed much too small for your adult frame, but absolutely perfect for the growing readers in your life?
You’ve found the perfect book (or stacks of books) to share. It may be a brand new book carefully chosen for your children by a beloved family member. It may be an old favorite, read on a nightly basis. Are you opening a book chosen by your child from his or her school library?
Truly, it matters neither WHERE nor WHAT you plan to read.
To make the reading experience more meaningful for both you and your child, DO THIS before you share that story.
STEP 1: Examine the cover of the book with your child.
Take a moment to encourage your child to look closely at the cover of the book. Ask your child to look at the cover illustration, look at the title, look at the author and the illustrator.
STEP 2: Ask your child, “What do you notice?“
Listen carefully to their answer and repeat it back to them, paraphrasing as necessary.
STEP 3: Follow with this question, “What makes you think that?“
Again, listen carefully to their answer. Respond meaningfully. Connect their ideas to shared experiences. Encourage them to elaborate when necessary. Correct inaccuracies gently.
Repeat Steps 1-3 until you have thoroughly ignited the child’s interest in the book.
This strategy is based on a method known as Visual Thinking Strategies. Originating from the visual arts, Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) value the child’s perspective and encourages increased engagement and critical thinking.
When applied to the world of picture books, biblio|parenting VTS transforms the child at from a passive participant in the experience of sharing a story, to an active participant whose thoughts are valued and whose background knowledge is primed to make connections.
This strategy can be also be utilized with individual illustrations within the book and in an educational setting with classes of students.
Stay tuned for a video demonstrating biblio|parenting VTS in action!