When #RaisingReaders, there are times when the conversation after the bedtime read is just as important as reading the book itself.
For example, tonight my son and I read What James Said by Liz Rosenberg. This book is about a young girl who is not happy with her best friend James because she heard, through the grapevine, that he said something about her that she didn’t like. This short picture book goes through what happens with the hazards of bad communication, or a lack thereof, but of course has a happy ending.
My son read this book to me (yay!), and afterwards I asked him, “So what do you think the author was trying to teach us in this book?” Now, you’ll have to forgive me, I’m in assessment mode at school, which is why the question sounded so formal. Any other time, my question may have been something simpler, like “So what was the problem in the book?” or a more book specific question, like, “Now why were they in a fight?”. Either way, because this book had a clear message/goal, I felt like it was important to have the conversation right afterwards. If we were continuing our reading of The 26-Story Treehouse or reading any of the superhero books that he owns, that question would not have popped up. However, since this book is perfect for having those conversations, I took advantage of this opportunity. I thought it was especially important because he read it to me, so I wanted to make sure he understood what he was reading.
I’m glad I did take the time to have the conversation, because he actually couldn’t answer the question. So that led to a short review of what we read, and eventual understanding. As much as I want to my children to be able to read and decode the words they come across, I really want them to understand that the purpose of reading is to understand what the text is about. I have found that one of the easiest ways to do that is through conversation after we read. Like I mentioned, it doesn’t have to be a real structured conversation, but just something to make sure that they know what’s going on.
Keep on #RaisingReaders