Through teacher-child readings of books, young children learn many of the key aspects of literacy such as book and print awareness, functions of print, and listening comprehension.
With storybooks or big books, children should have shared reading experiences each and every day. The teacher must not only read out loud, but develop routine practices that will actively engage the children.
Reading With Preschoolers
In addition to reading books to preschoolers while they listen, it is important to discuss the books with them. One program successfully taught child care providers and their parents a systematic way to discuss books.
This method employs (1) a way of interacting with preschoolers while discussing books—called the PEER sequence—and (2) five types of prompts to use during the interactions—called CROWD. The PEER sequence and the CROWD principles always operate within the larger principles of following the child’s interests, expecting slightly more of the child each time through the book, and keeping interactions light and fun.
In the PEER sequence:
For example, reading A Mother for Choco:
Adult: “What is Mrs. Bear doing?” (Wh-prompt. See below)
Child: “Standing on her toes.”
Adult: “Yes, she’s standing on her toes and picking apples.” (Evaluates and expands)
Adult (Next time through the book): “What is Mrs. Bear doing? Do you remember? (Repeats question)
Child: “She’s standing on her toes and picking apples.”
Adult: “That’s right, and she’s putting them in her basket.” (Evaluates and expands)
The CROWD questions* include: