How to Meet a Book

Simple ways to introduce your little one to reading.

By Susan Canizares, MA




One of the best ways to introduce books to your child is to put a board book in her hands. The small-sized, thick cardboard pages that can easily be turned and the bright illustrations will engage your child's attention and will put this particular reading event under her control.

I Spy Meet a Book is a good example. In addition to its board-book form, it's perfect for exploring those things all good books are made of: strong visual images, clear placement of pictures and text, rich use of language, and content that is of immediate interest to young children. Here are some ways to help your child not only "meet" a book, but get to know it deeply.

  • Spend time with the cover. What things does your child see? Does he think that these things will also be pictured inside? Read the title, pointing to the words as you go. 
  • Let your child lead your first exploration of the book. It is not necessary to begin reading at once. You can take a "picture walk" and talk about the pictures together. This process not only gives your child an initial sense of the book, but it also develops book concepts, such as front and back and forward progression of reading a book by turning its pages.
  • Notice the particular structure of the book. In this case, the rhyme is on the left page and the picture is on the right. Notice also that some words in the rhyme are illustrated. You can use this structure to invite your child to join in the actual reading. After the first few rhymes, pause when you come to a word that is illustrated. Your child is likely to naturally say the name of the picture. You can run your finger under the word as she speaks. This will help her learn to distinguish between pictures and words.
  • Reading together is a critical way to build vocabulary. We encounter words in books that we may not use in everyday conversation. You can explore words and concepts together by looking at the pictures and discussing them. The riddle format of this book is perfect for this kind of activity as it will become a game to hunt for the objects mentioned in the riddle.
  • Make this treasured shared-reading experience last beyond the moment where you close the book and move on to other things. Talk about things around your home that were mentioned in the book, make up a riddle using its language ("I spy a teddy bear somewhere in this room"), compare colors and shapes of objects you see to those in the book. This develops your child's oral language and also helps him think abstractly by comparing a remembered experience to the actual context at hand.
  • Most of all — have fun meeting new books!
Developing Reading Skills
Language Arts
Age 1
Age 2
Language Arts
Early Reading
Guided Reading