Here are some ideas for reading activities with your preschooler:
• Besides looking at illustrations together, or having the child repeat refrains, you can get wonderful, active participation by having him or her draw characters or scenes from the story, or draw or paint scenes in which the characters moved to other worlds or other stories which the child may want to tell you about.
• Always, always, always, keep paper, crayons, paint in the kitchen and in other rooms where the child may be. Wonderful, spontaneous little pictures come in odd moments.
• Do I have to stress that there is no one correct way for the child to paint or draw? The point is to encourage active, spontaneous participation, unhampered and uncensored. Activity is the purpose, not judgment.
• You can also encourage the child to tell you stories of his or her own, connected with characters from the book (such as, “Tell me why Peter Rabbit’s father was put in a pie by Mr. MacGregor?”).
Peter Neumeyer is a professor of English at San Diego State University and highly recognized in the field of children’s literature. He is the author, editor, or translator of 10 books and over 100 articles. His articles and reviews appear regularly in Mother and Parents’ Choice. In 1994, he published The Annotated Charlotte’s Web, and he is currently assembling his second collection of poetry.