When children connect books to their actual experiences, they have the opportunity to think about what they know already; what the book shows, and come up with their own questions and own ideas. This step of building new ideas and questions from what we see and read and have done is a higher level in developing good thinking skills. We talk a little about this in our blog post about Tools For Learning– Analyzing.
I was reminded of this the other day when my grandson came to visit. I had a stack of books on a table, and, when we were getting ready to read, he picked Delly and the Beach Town Healthy Alphabet Challenge. There were lots of books there, not just the ones from our series, (really), so it was gratifying to see him pick one of ours.
It was also fun to see how neatly his life experiences fit in with our book. His mom is a good cook and includes him in food preparation all the time. Both she and his dad consistently provide and encourage him to eat healthy foods, and lots of vegetables and fruits. And that’s exactly what this book does. It shows colorful photographs of fruits and veggies and encourages kids to take the challenge of trying lots of them. It also discusses an experiment that a chef in Beach Town was doing with the local school to get kids to eat healthy foods.
My grandson and I could have a great discussion about the content of this book because he had great experiences to draw from already. His experiences + our book = great discussion = more learning. Making connections in young brains, Yes! But also making the opportunity to encourage new brain pathways, new learning, new ideas, new interests to follow.
Parents, (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins and relatives), can encourage this kind of learning by paying attention to what the child is showing interest in at the time, and providing an opportunity to choose from books on that topic. Then, spend time with your child to read and talk about the books. You’ll both have fun!
Is your child showing interest in a certain topic, but you don’t know about books on that topic? Your local librarian is a great resource, but I will be glad to help too, if I can. If you mention a topic of interest and the age of your child, I’ll tell you about the books I know that might fit.
Happy Reading! Happy Thinking! Happy Learning!