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Ever fall into a pattern of asking yes/no questions or those with one-word answers, such as “What color is the boy’s shirt?” when reading with your little one? To encourage your child to use more language, open-ended questions work best. Instead of asking a question that has a one-word response, try one of these instead:

Before Reading:
*Based on the cover, what do you think this book will be about?

During the Book:
*What do you think will happen next?

After Reading:
*If you could change the ending of the story, what would it be?

Asking questions such as these will help your child develop skills in the areas of critical thinking, comprehension, and memory.



It’s important to help your child make connections when you are reading together. This not only helps improve how well your little one comprehends the story, it can also deepen their vocabulary knowledge.

Connections to Self:

These are the connections made between your child and his/her personal experiences. For example, before reading Only the Stars by Dee Boyd, discuss the time you laid out on the grass to watch the stars or the pair of star-shaped sunglasses you found at Target.

Connections to Previously Read Stories:

These are the connections made between the book currently being read and one previously read. Sticking with our stars theme, you could say, “Remember when we read the book called Only the Stars? Do you remember anything about Tia? Now we’re going to read Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed. What do you think the girls had in common in both stories?”

Connections to the World:

These are the connections made between your child and the world. An example of this would be to go on a mini field trip to a museum that has an exhibit on astronomy after reading both books on stars.



Raise your hand if you often provide your child with the correct answers to questions before they actually have enough time to think about what was said. ? It happens to the best of us.

Wait time is the amount of time you give your child to respond after asking a question. While it may be challenging, providing your child with ample wait time allows their little brains to process the question being asked. Waiting just three seconds before reframing the question or providing the answer gives your child a chance to think and possibly formulate a longer response. Give it a try the next time you’re reading a book together or engaging in a shared play activity.



Have you ever wondered how your toddler can understand that a red bull’s-eye means you’ve arrived at target or that the golden arches represent McDonald’s? Maya has never been to McDonald’s, but knows the sign as soon as she sees it.

We can thank print awareness skills for these things. Print awareness is the ability to understand that the lines on a page and symbols in the environment (e.g., signs, restaurant logos) carry meaning.

Print awareness is an important precursor to emergent literacy skills. It allows your little one to understand the use and function of print during reading and writing. You may not realize it, but you’re teaching print awareness skills every time you read with your child in the following ways:

  • Demonstrate how a book should be held (get silly and hold it upside down for laughs)
  • Read from left to right and top to bottom
  • Front-to-back directionality when turning pages
  • Words are made of letters and spaces are in between words
  • Punctuation marks have meaning



Not again! ? Are you tired of your little one requesting the same book over and over again? You’ve probably got the words memorized at this point. Here’s the thing – it’s actually great to read and re-read the same books to your child. Reading the same book multiple times helps in the following areas:

  • Print Awareness
  • Increased Vocabulary
  • Word Recognition

So when your child asks for the same book for the fifth night in a row, take a deep breath and get to reading. You are helping to build a strong language foundation!



Are you tired of reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Don’t hide it at the back of the bookshelf just yet. Books such as Brown Bear are considered predictable texts. These types of books contain repeated lines, phrases, and rhyming words to help readers know what’s to come on the next pages.

Predictable books allow even the youngest children to feel as if they are “reading” the story. These texts allow you to have a shared reading experience where both you and your little one are actively involved. Experiences such as these help your child develop confidence and to feel as if they are a skilled reader. Positive interactions with books at a young age impacts how they interact with books in the future.

Benefits also include developing print awareness (see previous L&L tip) and the use of inflection and intonation when reading. With the support of predictable text and complementary pictures, your little one will take the lead on reading Brown Bear in no time!