Noting Details in a Story
An important reading skill is the ability to notice details in a story, both in the text and in the illustrations. You can help your child learn to pay attention to details while you are reading aloud. Stop every couple of pages to talk about the story—who the characters are, what they are doing, and what has happened so far. Stopping now and then does not break up the flow of the story. Rather, it helps your child think and pay close attention to the characters and the plot. This increases your child's enjoyment of the story, and will help him or her “read” the story independently many times over.
Sequence of Events
The ability to recall the sequence of events in a story is another important reading skill. Stopping now and then while reading, as discussed above, will also help your child pay attention to the sequence of the story. Talk about the story after reading it, too. This will help your child remember the important events and the order in which they take place. Use terms such as first, next, and last to help your child remember the order.
In casual ways during the day—even while your child is getting dressed in the morning—you can reinforce sequence of events. First, you put on your undershirt, next you put on your shirt, and last you put on your jacket. You'll find other natural occasions when this type of conversation can occur. As you describe plans for the day, you can say: First we'll stop at the post office, next we'll go to the store, and last we'll go home. Once you're on the way home, you can ask your child what you have done so far, making sure the events are in order. Your child will eventually be able to include first, next, and last in his or her descriptions!
Vocabulary Boost: We're learning words about movement! Here are some words to discuss with your child: back and forth, chase, follow, pull, tug, and stretch.