Besides being relaxing and enjoyable, reading good literature offers a number of benefits to learners. It also builds a common experience among the reader and listeners; it provides models of excellent grammar, fluency, and writing; it helps develop critical thinking skills; and it offers the opportunity to understand and discuss problems. Reading literature can benefit all ages, but some of the best practices in teaching literature vary by the age of the student. Here are some tips and ideas for teaching literature in the Starting Out stage of learning.
Tips for the Starting Out Stage
Very young children need to learn all subjects in a natural, easy-going way. Think of how they learned to walk or talk, and use that model for teaching literature as well. Lots of fun and lots of praise!
Here are some activity suggestions for this stage:
- Read aloud from a variety of excellent picture books.
- Invest in a book of nursery rhymes. There are many versions available, and they are great for reading aloud and memorizing.
- At this age, repetition is key. So, even though you may not want to stomach the 10,302nd reading of a favorite book, do it anyway. Your child will learn a lot about reading, grammar, voice inflection, and fluency through this repetition.
- Read predictable books with a chorus or repeated section of text that your child can chime in on.
- Let your young child lead the way and don’t frustrate him. If your child gets antsy or wants to change books, go for it. If you choose a book and your child isn’t interested, put it away and try again in a few weeks or months.