A simple, easy to do early literacy activity that promotes the development of reading skills is to teach children the parts of a book. By learning the parts of the book, they will be more prepared to start reading books as their literacy skills develop.
Before reading a story with the child, get them to look at the book and ask what they see. Spend time pointing out the following parts:
- Front Cover
- Title of the book
- Cover Art
- Back Cover
- Book description
- Pages and page numbers
- Words and sentences on the pages
As you point out the items, say things like “This is the author, they wrote this story. They used the words on this page to show a story they created using their imagination”, “This is the illustrator. The illustrator is the person who creates the art for the story”.
You can make this activity part of your routine. Maybe when you sit down to read with your child, spend a few minutes going over the parts of the first book that you are going to read. After doing this activity a few times, you can begin getting the child to participate and tell you which parts of the book are what. Remember that it should be fun though! It’s not a quiz.
You can also introduce them to the mechanics of how a book is read. Let them know that you start reading a book from front cover to back cover, and talk about how you turn pages (from the corner, not from the middle). You can also talk about which direction you read sentences in. For example, if you’re reading in English, you read the words in a sentence from left to right, but if you’re reading in Japanese, you read the words in a sentence from right to left.
After reading the book regularly and pointing out the elements of the book a few times, try reading the next book upside down and see if the child notices. Get them to point out how they knew it was the wrong way!
Once they’ve mastered the mechanics of the book, it might be fun to check out one of Richard Byrne’s picture books. They play in really fun ways with the way books are put together. You can borrow any of them by clicking on the links to our catalogue below!