I've been trying to figure out how I wanted to do a regular children's literacy post on this blog. I've done reviews of books my kids like, updated the 1000 book challenge stats, etc. Finally, I decided that I'd just take on a different topic each week. So, you know, prepare yourselves.
I thought I would kick this off by talking about something I've been trying with my 4 year old daughter--reading chapter books. I told a couple of people I've been doing this and I've been told everything from my child is too young to I'm crazy.
I don't agree (although I will admit there is the possibility that I'm crazy in other areas....)
Yes, my daughter is young, but I don't believe she is too young to listen to chapter books. I've been pretty careful about which books I read--Mary Poppins was a bust, but Beverly Cleary books are a big hit. We read one chapter before quiet time (which used to be nap time...Mommy is not too happy about that little development) each day. She knows that is "chapter book" time and is always waiting for me with the book in her hand when I come into her room after putting her brother down.
But, does she actually listen to the story?
Well, sort of. She does sort of flit around her room and, frequently, she will look at a picture book as I read. But I have noticed that by reading books to her with fewer pictures, she is taking more notice of words. I've been working with her on her letters and sounds and she knows how to sound things out, but she tends to be a little lazy about it. However, when she has few pictures to focus on in a book, she pays more attention to the words.
I know that we'll be re-reading these books again in the future--I am already planning to give my daughter her own set of the Ramona books for her birthday--but right now, for a 4 year old, chapter books are introducing her to words as well as stories.