Children’s Book Week Ideas for Pre-Schoolers
by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
Recently, at The Book Chook, I wrote about ways to celebrate Children’s Book Week http://www.thebookchook.com/2011/08/how-to-celebrate-book-week.html (In Australia, August 20- 26. 2011.) Larissa liked my ideas, but asked me to offer some suggestions for her son, Master O, who is four.
Most four-year-olds are in the pre-reading stage. They can recognise some letters and the sounds they make, they listen to stories, and they often “pretend” to read, holding a book and looking intently at the words, while they use their memory and imagination to tell the story.
So is Children’s Book Week for readers such as these? YES! Children’s Book Week is for everyone, no matter what age. It’s a great time to take stock of reading, books, and what they mean to our lives. And to celebrate the gift that is literacy.
Here are some possible Children’s Book Week activities for our very special and much-loved pre-schoolers.
* Kids of this age need to be active. When you read aloud, be sensitive to their wriggle index, and switch books if one doesn’t hold their interest.
* Choose books with an action element built in. Picture books like “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt not only encourage kids to do the actions, but the repetitive text encourages them to echo the words. This helps them along the path to reading.
* Have action breaks, or encourage kids to do any actions with you as you read.
* Craft activities that tie in to books are a great way to give kids a change of pace, and to help them build meaning from a story. Look for activities online that are simple, and related to your child’s favourite stories.
* Preschool kids love outings. Have you been to your local library’s Storytime? If your youngster doesn’t have his own library card, today would be a great time to enrol him. Checking out new books is exciting!
* Dramatic play brings stories to life for kids. Encourage children to act out part of a story with you, or retell a story using puppets, toys or themselves. Can you use some of the items in your dress-up box?
*If your youngster has a favourite story, would she like to tell someone all about it? She might draw a picture about it to send to Grandma, or record herself telling about it by using a microphone, a photograph and a website like Blabberize. You can read my article about Blabberize at The Book Chook. http://www.thebookchook.com/2009/10/blabberize.html
*Make Children’s Book Week really special for your pre-schoolers by inviting some friends over to your house for a play date. Share some of the activities above with the group. Or get together with other preschoolers at the park, maybe for a teddybears picnic. Kids might like to dress up as their favourite book characters, or eat food from a book like The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Reading is not only important to share with kids every single day, but a huge source of pleasure and fun. Let’s make every week a Book Week!
Teachers and parents from all over the world visit The Book Chook (www.thebookchook.com) to find tips on encouraging kids to read, write and create; articles about using technology to motivate kids’ learning; and links to games, learning activities and online fun.
Susan Stephenson is the face behind The Book Chook, where she shares her passion for children’s literacy, literature and learning. Susan taught Kindergarten to Year 6 in NSW primary schools, drama outside school to kids and young teens, and ESL in China. Currently, as well as pretending to be a chicken on her blog, she writes stories for children, and edits the free magazine for parents, Literacy Lava.