Encourage your child’s ability to imagine and pretend by asking questions during and after you finish reading a story.
You can pause at various points in a story and encourage predictions by asking: “What do you think will happen next?” Predictions encourage awareness of patterns in a text or suggestions of foreshadowing in the story or art. Predictions are great at building literacy and critical thinking skills. But the real fun is venturing beyond what the text states or will state in the coming pages.
Encourage kids to imagine beyond the story by asking open-ended questions that may have nothing to do with the basic plot. For example, in the fairy tale the Princess and the Frog, ask, “why do you think the princess wants her ball back?” There is no direct answer in the text, but you child can make guesses based on their own experiences. Maybe it was a gift? Maybe it bounces real high? Maybe she needs it to play baseball with the fairies? Imagination thrives when there is no single “correct” answer!
And, don’t just close the book at “happily ever after.” Ask your child “what might happen…” to different characters or objects from a story. Take for example the fairy tale of Snow White, what might happen if one of the dwarves found the evil queen’s magic mirror? What kind of questions would the dwarf ask it?
Talking and reading are part of the 5 early literacy practices supported by Every Child Ready to Read® that will help build the important six skills: print awareness, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, vocabulary, narrative skills, and print motivation. Questioning stories, both what is written and what is not, is a great way to bond, learn, and promote early literacy!
Every Child Ready to Read® is a project of the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association.