The power in a picture book comes when you read it the “Smart-thinking” way to your kids. If you check the Lexile level (reading level) of many popular pic books targeted to young children, you will see that it is just about impossible for them to be able to read the words and understand the all the meaning because they are just too hard. Plus, children need background knowledge to understand much of what is stated and “inferred” in stories. If you read the stories to them the “smart-thinking” way – discussing tricky words and hidden meaning – you help your children build valuable background knowledge and reading skills. They will become better readers themselves as they start to mimic the way you are reading. So, as their Reading Hero, you will be the model of how good readers think.
The following is a sample of what my Read-aloud guides look like. I call them Grab ‘n Go Study Guides because they are quick and easy to use. I’ve chosen this popular children’s book because, while it is advertised for kids in preschool to grade 2, its Lexile level (see chart to the right) of 720 is the reading level expected in grade 5. This book is adorable but beginning readers will struggle with many of the tricky words and hidden meaning. Here’s where you come in as the Reading Hero. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get the pic book and read it yourself first, using the Read-aloud Guide
- Mark places where you want to stop and talk using Post-it notes
- Read, notice, wonder, discuss
- Plan some After-reading activities with your kids
Your child might want to read these books to you later. Be supportive and help with words as needed. You will notice that they will start to read the same way you did. You are the Reading Hero! Keep reading this way and, when your kids read on their own, they will start to think smart as readers.
Click on the following link for your Read-aloud guide. “Happy Reading!”
Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook.
“Good read-alouds are stories that are remembered for years. They stimulate children’s emotions, minds and imaginations and arouse interest in reading.”