Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Summer Days: Reading with Your Children by Shauna Davey Goldman


Reading with your children is a wonderful way to bond and even learn about science! Try out stories that relate to different living things that you can explore with your child to help make connections. When you read books about what your child will be exploring, you begin to build background knowledge of what he or she already knows and what other questions can be explored. 

Select books that have big bold illustrations which can help to tell the story as much as the words do. In addition, with larger pictures and print, your child may be more eager to explore the story on his or her own. I encourage you to check out your neighborhood library for books on various animals and plants. Consider getting at least 7-10 books about different animals, insects, plants, and flowers that will make the exploration during the summer interesting and exciting. It is important to have your child with you when selecting the different books that you will be reading. This way your child will more invested in what you read together.

When reading a story, ensure that you provide your child with enough time to explore the book and understand what is happening in the story. One way to do so is by doing  a 'picture walk' of the book. A 'picture walk' is taking some moments to leaf through just the images of the book and talk about them. The next time you read the book, consider reading the first half of the book only, and then the second half followed by the reading of the whole book thereafter. While reading the story, you can have your child point to various pictures, describe what is on pages, as well as answering different questions about what is being read to them. Asking a variety of questions about what is being read, will encourage more conversation between you and your child.

Try reading in different locations around the house and your neighborhood with your child to change things up! By doing this, you can begin to make direct connections between what you are reading and the natural world around you.

Reading to your child helps him reflect on what he is learning

Modifications for Children with Disabilities:
Children with disabilities may use the same information as above but over a longer period of time. For example, instead of reading the book 2 - 4 times in a week, I encourage you to read the book several times maybe over the course of 2 weeks. By doing this, you are giving the child adequate time to process and understand the information in the story.