Give Books To Preschoolers For The Holidays

Rebecca White, Claesgens, Mark A.  |  12/13/2006 1:56:50 AM

Consider a book for the preschooler. Many kinds are available that introduce the youngster to language and help in acquiring important language skills. (Stock photo courtesy of Microsoft Office. Not for download.)

News You Can Use Distributed 12/12/06

Books make great holiday gifts for your preschooler. They can be fun and engage your child’s developing mind.

Books introduce preschoolers to language and help them acquire important language skills. They are a great way for parents and other caring adults to connect with children in a meaningful, caring way. Age-appropriate books advance young children's literacy development and can contribute to their future academic success.

The type of books read to a young child contributes to their depth of learning, according to LSU AgCenter family development professor Dr. Rebecca White. Parents should try to include a variety of books for their child’s library.

White says to consider giving your child the following type of books:

– Picture storybooks. These books remain favorites long after the preschool years. Select rhyming stories and books with repeated patterned sounds.

– Participation books. Young children delight in following the books’ suggestions, such as clapping their hands, covering their eyes or touching their toes. Books with flaps that can be lifted also promote interaction.

– Informational books. Select book topics that your child has a natural interest in. Some informational books label the illustrations in the book, helping to introduce written language to children.

– Patterned concept books. Expand your child’s understanding of an idea, theme or relationship. Books with a strong pattern and rhythmic flow help a child read along with an adult and predict what language will come next on the page.

– Predictable books. Involve your child in the reading experience. The patterned language, repetitive phrases and predictable storylines help your preschoolers anticipate what is coming next and to understand language. The older preschool child will often be able to repeat elements of these stories when the book is reread, which is an important pre-reading skill.

– Wordless books. Parents must interpret the stories from the pictures by examining details and expressions carefully. This experience helps your child focus on sequence in stories.

– Folktales and fables. Many of the stories have a moral concept or theme. Most folktales and fables have some cultural context or historical base and help a child learn about diverse cultures and experiences.

– Poetry. Verse introduces the reader to the sounds of language. Rhyming poetry, especially with playful words, help a child develop phonemic awareness.

– Nursery rhymes. These are a natural for a young child. They are often recited from memory by parents or grandparents. Children raised on nursery rhymes will pass these tales on to their children.

– Alphabet books. Alphabet or ABC books are used to help a child recognize letters and realize that letters are used in language.

– Counting books. Number books are important because they introduce the concept that numbers are symbols for counting, just as letters are symbols for sounds and words.

– Rhyming books. Rhyming stories are fun and provide lots of opportunities to read with emotion and to change the loudness and softness of the voice. Hearing stories that contain rhymes prepares children for reading by helping them focus on the sounds in words.

White says to be sure to include books as gifts for your preschooler during this holiday season.

"Our society relies on parents as the first and most important teacher in their child’s life to develop the foundation for literacy for their child," the family expert says, adding, "Great parents foster a love for reading during the earliest days of a child’s life by reading books to their child!"

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com
Contact: Rebecca White (225) 578-3921 or rwhite@agcenter.lsu.edu
Editor: Mark Claesgens (225) 578-2939 or mclaesgens@agcenter.lsu.edu

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