Books and Preschoolers

Friday, 25 September 2015

Hello all!

How's your week been?

Ours at the Perkins's house has been pretty good despite a visit from a mild cold virus.

We have been soaking up this wonderful weather and I have been hanging on to wearing dresses without tights. Days with tights and boots will come soon enough I am sure.

On beautiful evenings in the summer, we often try to get Emma out of the tire her out before bedtime, to avoid time on the iPad, get fresh air and get active.  For some reason, in the summer, it's usually to the park or to the soccer field. Our trips to the library become few and far between. The other night, I told myself, we should make a family trip to the library. So we did!  And I was so glad. It's an activity I really have to take advantage of more often.

I myself am not an avid library user. I have an e-reader and will often find free or buy e-books. I know some people prefer to have the "real" book, but for many reasons I really don't mind having a kindle. Again, as mentioned in previous posts, I like reading articles on the internet and also enjoy magazines.

As a result, I often forget about going to the library for Emma!

We read books to Emma every night, outside of the nights that she may be up late. In a of the main reasons I don't go to library as much with Emma is because it's so easy to get your hands on cheap books in the south west!

I scour Frenchy's, yardsales, flea markets, scholastic book orders and even facebook yardsales for awesome children's books!

In my job, we actively promote (and preach?) early literacy and pre-literacy skills.

We always encourage reading with your child.

But did you know there are "preferable" books and "non-preferable" books for preschool children (IMO)?

Don't get me wrong...if your child is into a certain type of book...that is definitely a preferable book....but there are definitely books that I like to stay away from for our general preschool population. Even more so for children that may have delays or disorders of speech and language.

Usually books that are not preferable for preschoolers are books that have a lot of words per page. It's fairly unusual to find a preschool book that is too short. It is very common to find a preschool book that is tooo loong. It's usually related to the number of words (sometimes paragraphs) on one page.

As a parent or caregiver, when you are reading these books that have a lot of words and/or paragraphs, the child can get lost in the language processing, lose attention or both. Books can become tedious and non-enjoyable for anyone involved.

When it comes to books for preschoolers...less is more!

Less words on a page supports better auditory memory, language processing and gives you the opportunity to talk to your child about what they see or what might be happening.

Examples of some of my favourite "less is more" books:

The Little Mouse and the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (STELLAR BOOK!)

Sheep in a Jeep or Sheep Out to Eat  (Bonus points for lots of rhyming)

The Very Cranky Bear (I am noticing a bear theme)

Piggy and Elephant books! (there are alot!) by Mo Willems

The other common thread amongst these preschool books is that they have a setting, a problem, and a solution. These are things that you can talk about with your child (e.g. Oh wow the mouse just picked the strawberry by mistake! what should he do?/ The sheep made a biiig mess in the restaurant! do you think someone will be mad?)

It is less common to see that type of book set up in my other non-preferable type of preschool book: the "character" book! (i.e. the Dora book, the Bubble Guppy book, the Ninja Turtle book).

This is a type of book that little ones are drawn to because they know/love/are obsessed with the character in it ("But Paw Patrol/Minions/Princess/Spiderman is my favourite!").

These books are typically a nightmare to read (sooo long) and have little/no storyline that follows the setting/problem/solution formula that children have to learn how to identify in the early school years.

Take home msg: when you look for a preschool book at least have a few books that  have a storyline as well as one with fewer words in it!  You won't be sorry. It makes for a more enjoyable reading experience for caregiver and child. I also find these are they books that I don't mind reading over and over and over again when E. opposed to her Dora the Explorer Winter Princess book.

Happy story reading!


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