As part of our series of read aloud tips, today I am hoping to inspire you with seven simple literacy lessons you can find right on the book cover – of any picture or chapter book.
I am not advocating that you draw attention to all of these things every time you read, but these strategies do help to develop a child’s awareness of print, and auditory and visual memory skills, which are important to their future development as future, independent readers, so they are worth consideration, especially when exploring a new-to-you title.
Reading Aloud With Kids: 7 Things to Notice On a Book Cover
When reading together with your child take a moment to notice one or two of the following on the cover before you begin;
1. Read the title of the book. You might like to point out the words which make up the title with your finger. For new-to-you books, ask your child what they think the book might be about, based on its title.
2. Read and point out the name of the author. And the illustrator.
3. Ask your child to find a letter that is significant to them, for example, the initial letter of their name. Or, for early readers, a word they can read, like a familiar sight word.
4. Before reading a book for the first time, look at the cover illustration and talk about any clues you can see which might help you to predict what the book is about and who the main characters are.
5. Invite your child to share whether they think the book is fiction or non-fiction, and why they’ve made that choice.
6. Look at the spine of the book – point out the title and talk about why a book has a spine, SquiggleMum has a great post about book spines.
7. Use correct book vocabulary – cover, pages, title, author, illustrator, illustrations, spine.
Whilst you might not do all of these things every time, taking time to explore the features of the book cover helps your child to;
- Build prior knowledge of what the book is about,
- Make predictions which can help with comprehension of what they are hearing or reading, and
- Set a purpose for reading, for example, finding out information on a topic of interest,
all of which are important, especially when it comes to comprehending what you (and later, they) are reading.