Sharing Literature with Young Children
September 4, 2011
Having the opportunity to share wonderful books with children is the single-most important reason I began my career in early childhood. Among my fondest childhood memories is being read to by my father. He instilled in me a love for books of all kinds, especially picture books, which I found to be magical. Reading was relaxing and enjoyable, as well as exciting and inspiring. It allowed me to use my imagination to take journeys without ever leaving home. As a teacher, I wanted to share this experience with children. Sharing great literature with young children is a journey itself. Authors Giorgis and Glazer state “children who enjoy and value literature will continue to read and will find a lifelong source of emotional and intellectual enrichment.” (2010) However, it is not as simple as just reading a book. How books are shared is as important as the sharing. According to Giorgis and Glazer, books should be shared “in a way that invites children to enter into the experience wholeheartedly.” (2010) Here I will share examples of specific strategies that engage children and make the experience quite meaningful. Taking the time to help children explore and enjoy illustrations is a good way to take advantage of their strong visual-spatial skills, and it is a great way to enhance the overall experience of reading. Author Mary Jalongo tells us that “the illustrations in picture books help children decode words,” and we should “guide them in searching the illustrations for cues for reading the text.” (2007) Further, she states that “children will be more interested in a book if they have made an investment in trying to understand it.” Exploring and interpreting the illustrations help children make this important investment in reading....