How to Use the eBooks

About Shared Reading Time

Story reading is a rich activity for young children to engage in with parents and teachers. Not only will the children be learning new sounds, words, and ideas; they will also be developing feelings about reading. In fact, there is a strong connection between children's feelings toward reading and their success in reading later on in school. Consider some of the tips below for making reading time your child's favorite time of day!

Make a Routine

A great way to help children get excited for reading is to make it part of your daily routine. This is a special time each day that you set aside to get cozy with your child and share stories. This time is important for children because they are excited to have your attention.

Get Comfortable

It is important for children to feel relaxed during reading time. Some might want to sit in your lap; others might want to sit in their own chairs or lie on their bellies. Shared reading time should be about enjoying the story and the talking that comes out of it. Try not to worry too much about your child sitting up straight and behaving like they are at school.

Don't Force It

We've all had days when we're just not in the mood! Children are no different. If there is a day when your child doesn't seem to want to read or have a conversation, that's OK. Shared reading should be a positive activity, and forcing it might make it into a chore. Simply try again another day, or try asking the child to pick out the story.

Talk, Talk, Talk

Did you know that every time you talk, you are helping to build your child's vocabulary? This is true even if your child cannot talk back to you yet. One of the most helpful things you can do for your child during shared reading time is to talk and, if your child is old enough, get him to share in the conversation. You can do this by looking at pictures and describing what you see, making connections between pictures or events in the story and things in the child's life, talking about how a character in the story feels, and by making predictions about what will happen next. By listening to the many words you use, big or small, your child is learning how to talk about books! Use the coaches in the Read with Me eBooks to help you think of ways to talk with your child as you read.

Age Matters

Read with Me eBooks can be enjoyed by all young children, but it is important to keep in mind how much your child is able to do. For example, a very young child might only be able to point to things you name in pictures or repeat words after you. A child who is just learning words might be able to name different colors or numbers on a page. It might not be until age 3 or 4 that a child can start talking with you about the story. The coaches give lots of suggestions throughout the eBooks, but only you know the right talk and activities to engage in with your child.

Go with the Flow

There are no quizzes at the end of the eBooks, and there is no rule that says you must finish the story once you've started it. If your child is talking a lot about a certain page or wants to go out of order, it's OK to follow his lead. Children usually like to hear the coaches speak and like to click on the audio clips. As long as your child is engaged and talking with you, enjoy the books in whatever way feels natural and fun. Luckily you can read them as many times as you want!

Click on the following videos to see brief examples of mothers and their children sharing the Read with Me eBooks.

Set the Scene:

In this video, the mother spends some time showing her daughter how the eBook works. Notice how she shows where the important buttons are, who the coaches are, and what they do. Doing this in the beginning is important so that children feel comfortable seeing a story in a way they're not used to.

Make Connections:

In these two videos, the mother uses examples from the child's life to make connections to difficult words or ideas in the story.

In this video, notice how the mother keeps the conversation going by giving a description and asking questions, even though the child doesn't say a lot. This is a good example of talking to connect ideas and let your child hear lots of different words.

In this video, notice how the mother clicks on the glossary in the book to help define the word and to keep the conversation going. Then she gets her daughter to talk more by asking for different examples of practice. Talking about the word will help her daughter to remember it.

Praise Is Powerful:

In this video, notice how the mother engages with her son by smiling at him, agreeing with his ideas, and giving him praise like "That sounds good!" and "That's a good prediction." This praise helps children feel good about themselves and about what they are doing, and that usually makes them want to do it more. Also, notice how the mother uses Pedro (the first coach) to ask the question, but decides not to use the other coaches once she hears her son give a good answer. This is a good example of using the coaches only when you need them.

Check for Understanding:

In these two videos, the mother uses the coaches to help check her son's understanding of the story. Checking for understanding a few times during the story is important because you can make sure your child knows what is going on and is not confused.

In this video, notice how the mother uses the coach Pedro, who asks the child to tell what has happened so far. Retelling is a good way to check for understanding and for the child to use some of the words from the story. Notice also how the mother chooses not to use the other coaches once the child has given a good answer. This is a good way to keep the story moving and keep the child engaged.

In this video, notice how the mother uses the coaches in another way to check the child's understanding of the story. She clicks on the coach Pedro for the question, and when her son gives an answer, she uses the coach Monty to check his answer. This is a good way to keep the focus on the book so that you do not have to be the expert all the time.