Sometimes reading a picture book to your child should be savored and enjoyed. Instead of hurrying through a story, take a few minutes to ask questions before, during and after the reading. Deriving meaning from the words we see and hear in print is called comprehension and it is the ultimate goal of listening and reading. By asking thought-provoking questions, you will help your child develop the skills to comprehend, including the ability to think, predict and draw conclusions.
Before reading, ask:
* (First, read aloud the title and name of the author.) What do you think this story will be about? Why?
* (Point to the picture.) Do you think this will be a funny, sad or scary story? How do you know?
During the story, ask:
* What do you think a "successor to the throne" means?
* How do you think Ping feels? Why do you think he feels that way?
* What does it mean to feel "ashamed?"
* After reading the lines near the end of the story that say, "I have found him! I have found the one person worthy of being Emperor!," ask, Who do you think that might be? Why do you think that?
After reading "The Empty Pot," ask:
* What is your favorite part of the story
* Why do you think the emperor admired Ping's courage?
* Is there any part of the story that you didn't understand? What part?
* Can you remember a time when you were courageous about something you did?
As you develop the habit of discussing stories and articles with your child, you will notice that she will begin to acquire the skills of communication. Then, sometimes, read the book aloud and invite her to ask you the questions!
Poke holes into clear plastic containers and fill them half way with soil. Plant flower seeds, cover with a bit more soil and water a little each day. By using plastic cups, your child will be able to see how the seeds grow below the surface as well as above.
Susan Rapp is the director of the Village Reading Center.