One of my favorite things to do with preschoolers is to have them read to me, and by read I mean look at the illustrations in a book and make up the story to go with them. It's fun to see which part of the story they remember, and what kinds of things they come up with to fill in the gaps. I also love to see how they interpret the illustrations.
I've noticed that toddlers and young preschoolers are happy to read to me, but as those same children get older, they become more reluctant. They understand that the words have meaning, and they know that they can't read those words. They've listened to their teachers read the same stories over and over, and they understand that there is a specific story associated with each book, they don't want to get it "wrong."
Here are some things that I've done to encourage preschoolers to read aloud, while also recording their stories;
- Make copies of the pages of a familiar story, cover any words on the page (an easy way to do this is to put a post-it over the words before you copy the page) and write in the words that the children narrate. Preschoolers love it when you record their words, and these "books" can be read over and over.
- Ask the children if you can record each of the reading a story, when you've recorded them (either video or audio - most smartphones have some kind of recording device that is perfect for this) the children can watch or listen to the recording, and to their friends' recordings. You can also share them with parents, or use them for special events.
- Use a website like MyStorybook.com to help children write and illustrate their own stories, then they can share them with their friends and family members. Children are often more confident when reading a story they have written - because they know the story.
- Checkout library books with popular characters - superheroes and Disney character books were never my favorites to have in the classroom, but every once and a while I get a few because the children love them. They know these characters and their stories from seeing them in movies and on TV. They feel more confident telling stories about these characters because they are familiar.
- Ask families to bring in children's favorite books from home to share with the class. At least twice a year I have "share a book from home" day. The kids love to share their favorite books with their friends, and often these are books that I don't have for the classroom library, so we all get to experience new stories.
I will go out of my way to make sure that children enjoy reading. I want them to be confident in their skills, even before they are able to read the words in a book.
For some other great read aloud ideas, make sure to check out the rest of my posts from this week: