Tricks of the Trade

  • Plan your prompts in advance: go through your books to find opportunities for different prompts, and use post-it notes or tabs to write them down for future readings. (you can see an example of this in video included in Dialogic Reading)
  • Pay attention to your pacing; read at a steady, even rate and make sure you give all children the time they need to see all the pictures and interact with the pages; give children a few seconds to think after each prompt, if a child doesn’t respond immediately, wait at least 5-10 seconds before repeating the prompt, offering a scaffold, or providing a model.
  • Don’t get stuck in a rut; it is easy to develop a habit of repeating the same praises or the same prompts,
  • Pay attention to your pacing; read at a steady, even rate and make sure you give all children the time they need to see all the pictures and interact with the pages; give children a few seconds to think after each prompt, if a child doesn’t respond immediately, wait at least 5-10 seconds before repeating the prompt, offering a scaffold, or providing a model.
  • Ask children “why” before you correct them, so you can address any gaps in knowledge only where they exist and provide more specific feedback; for example, if asked “why do you think this is a wizard?” the child might say “because they are holding a magic wand/wearing a pointy hat,” which is perfectly valid reasoning.
  • Encourage children to explore books and experiment with reading; allow them to practice “reading” aloud, to choose the same book over and over again, or turn the pages however they like (i.e., fast/slow, skipping pages, flipping back-to-front, etc.).

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