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Book Sharing Tips

More about Early Words
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Ask questions while sharing books!

Sharing books with your child can be about more than just reading the text.

While you’re reading together, you can also ask your little one questions such as “What is this?” and “Can you point to the duck?” And if your little one is talking, try asking them open-ended questions like “Where is the duck going?”

These types of questions allow more opportunities for “serve and return” interactions and keep children interested in the activity!

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Show your little one how books work!

It’s easy to take it for granted, but little ones need to be taught how books work before they can read them!

Here are some easy ways to show children how to use a book: show them the cover, read them the title and author, and demonstrate how to turn the pages!

Repetition, repetition, repetition

Repetition isn’t just for fun – it can also help children process what they read, hear, or do!

For example, re-reading a book can help a child remember words that were previously new to their vocabulary. It can also help solidify their understanding of how to use these words.

And if they’re trying to understand a story, song, or action, revisiting it can give them more opportunities to make sense of it!

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Play out the actions in a book!

Pre-school children are often full of questions! Did you know that it’s just as important to ask them questions too?

When reading books with actions words, try acting out the actions to make the book interactive for the child.

For example, when you read “clap your hands if you are happy”, clap your hands!

When you read “Sam reached way up high to the sky”, have the child reach as high as they can!

This is a great way to keep children engaged in the story and help with reading comprehension.

Parents reading to child

Take time to create your own stories with wordless picture books

Wordless picture books are told entirely through their illustrations — they are books without words, or sometimes just a few words.

Creating your own stories with any book can create opportunities for literacy-rich conversations. It can build vocabulary, story sequencing and imagination!

Click here for more tips on wordless books.

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Ask questions about books

Pre-school children are often full of questions! Did you know that it’s just as important to ask them questions too?

For example, when reading aloud with them, ask your children about what they see in the book:

“What do you think they are playing with on this page?”

You can even ask questions about the environment around them!

“Where do you think that dog is going?”

It helps them make connections and understand the story better!

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Snuggle, kiss, tickle and playfully touch your little one when sharing books together!

When cuddling up and sharing a book with your little one, be physically affectionate and playful. You can even relate your own actions to the book.

For example, point out body parts on characters in the book and touch or tickle your little ones.

"Here are his knees. Here are yours!"
"He gets a kiss from his mommy. So do you!"

Little ones love book sharing when the adult is being playful and having fun!

When reading books aloud to children, try using different voices, adding actions, singing parts of the book, and talking about words that rhyme!

Here's an idea. In the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom it says:

"Chicka chicka boom boom, will there be enough room?"

The adult can say:

"Boom and room sound the same at the end. They rhyme! I can think of more... Boom, room, zoom, doom, broom!"

Even if a book is in a language you don’t speak, you can still cuddle up and share it with your little one!

Sharing books with children is a great way for them to hear lots of words. And you don't even have to be able to speak or read the language that the book is written in.

Choose any book, cuddle up with your child and look at the pictures together. You can talk about what you see, and even make up your own story in your home language.

Books and Diversity

Science tells us that babies’ brains notice race in the very early months of life. Preschoolers have lots of questions about the people they see around them as they shape their view of the world. One of the best ways for children to learn about diversity is through books.

Babies love faces!

Babies notice faces before they notice other types of objects. This is why they love games like peek-a-boo and looking at themselves in mirrors. Babies also love seeing pictures of real faces in printed photographs and books!


You can use the same book no matter how old the child is!

Adjusting how you engage a child with a book based on their age, keeps them interested and learning! Canada Animals by Paul Covello is full of great pictures for lots of ages.


If a child is…..

0 to 12 months:

Name and point to pictures.

"Goose! Nest! Grass! Lake! Clouds!

12 months to 2 years:

Describe what you see.

"The baby geese are yellow! The nest is round! The grass is long!"

2 years to 3 years:

Ask child to point to pictures. Point and count items in the book.

"Where is the nest?” “Can you show me a goose that’s flying?"”

“"1-2. There are 2 big geese on the grass! And 1-2-3-4-5-6. There are 6 baby geese on the grass!"

3 to 5 years:

Make connections to the child’s life.

"These geese are swimming in the lake. Remember when we went swimming in the pool? The water was so cold that day! What do you like about swimming?"