A Little Literacy, Please: Carlo Reads

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By Leslie Lindsay

It’s summer and that means that my daughters are part of the local library’s summer reading program.  Yep, I know…it’s totally and completely nerdy, but if you can read for prizes, why the heck not?!

So, milling about the kiddie shelves we found this book by Jessica Spanyol, “Carlo Likes Reading.”  Not only is Carlo a cute, lovable giraffe, but he shows how cool it is to read.  While this book isn’t really a sit-down-and-read book complete with a full cover-to-cover story, it does a great job of combining two concepts together: storytime and word recognition. 

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Carlo labels everything in his bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, backyard, park…you name it.  As I read this to my 4-year old (who really is learning to read), I would point out words, albeit the ones attached to an object she recognizes, and I would say, “Hey, what does this word say?”  She felt empowered when she “read” the word.  And that is the basis for forming the foundation for reading.  Cool, huh?

Take it futher:

  •  Ask your child to read the book to you.  They may just look at the pictures and spin their own tale, but who cares?  They are learning that words represent more than just abstract shapes on the page.
  • Label things in your home just like Carlo.  Get some blank notecards or construction paper and go to town.  Start with your child’s bedroom and then work your way to other rooms of the house.
  • Allow your child to have some say in what gets labeled.  Ask him!  “What would you be interested in labeling in the kitchen?”  Kids have more buy-in when you allow them some control.
  • Ask your child to “read” you the words and quiz her from time to time.
  • Be sure to move the labels around from time to time.  When they stay in static postions, your child will tend to stop “reading” them and will take them for granted.  Even if it means moving the “chair” label to a different chair or the adding (or subtracting) some labels altogether.

Let us know what you do and  how your kiddo responds!  If anything, it will give you two something fun to do for an hour or so. 

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