How to Introduce New Books to Your Child

Last week, we shared why reading comprehension is necessary for your son or daughter to be a successful reader. This week, parents, teachers, home educators and authors Sandra Vroon and Susan Harrell share one strategy for helping your child strengthen their comprehension skills: introducing new books with to child.

Why is this important? Because it will pique their interest, introduce new words and concepts and give them an idea of what the story is going to be about.  (Learn more about this from Drs. Fountas and Pinnell)

Reading Together
Credit: Phil Dowsing Creative,

Steps for Introducing a New Book:

  1. Give a summary of what the story is about. This gives your child the main idea to refer to when reading the story.
  2. Talk about the pictures together before reading. Look at the pictures and talk about what your child thinks is happening and will happen next. This will help him to predict the story and reinforces the meaning of the text.
  3. Talk about any interesting language your child may encounter during the reading of this book. This will help your child use structure and language patterns.
  4. Discuss any concepts that you think may be new or difficult for your child to understand based on his background knowledge
  5. Preview the book and find one or two high frequency words that you are working on. Go to the page the first word is located on. Say the word you want your child to locate and have him repeat it after you. Ask him what letter he would expect to see at the beginning of the word. Have him run his finger slowly under the word and read it. Repeat this with the second word. This helps your child use the visual information from letters to guide him through the text.
  6. Enjoy this opportunity to read with your child. Keep the experience fun and relaxing for both you and your child.

Check back next week for a fun reading activity!

This text was adapted from Sandra and Susan’s new book, Best Practices for Teaching Reading at Home.

Sandra Vroon IMGSandra Vroon has served as a general education teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, adjunct reading and literacy professor and most recently, a home educator. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Calvin College.

Susan Harrell IMGSusan Harrel has spent the last 30 years in a variety of educational settings including a one-room mission school in Uganda, a K-12 school for LD students, multiple elementary grades, a Reading Recovery room, private tutoring of home school students and more. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Calvin College. 


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