Extend Reading Experiences by Bringing Books Alive!

Inside: Looking for ways to extend your reading experiences by bringing books alive? We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Jodie Rodriguez from Growing Book by Book to HEE today. Check out her great tips!

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Bring Books Alive With These Awesome Tips!

We are so happy to welcome Jodie Rodriguez from Growing Book by Book to our blog today! Jodie is an educator, reading specialist, literacy coach and someone who I have learned a lot from since I became a children’s librarian. She is a reading idol of mine, and I am absolutely thrilled to have her here today with a guest post. With a warm welcome to Jodie, here she is with awesome tips to bring your family’s favorite books alive!

Reading aloud is amazing on its own merit.  When we read aloud, children are soaking in rich vocabulary, listening to fluent and expressive reading, and learning about people and places in the world. How could it get any better?

We can elevate some of our read-aloud experiences even more by bringing a book alive. Authentically connecting a book to your child's life deepens the takeaway experience and makes it even more memorable.

The key is being authentic. 

Writing a book report will not bring a book alive for a child.  In fact, it will have the opposite effect.  Let's take a look at bringing a book ALIVE.

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Elevate your read-alouds and deepen your child's takeaway experiences by bringing books alive!

A is for APPLY

Apply a skill or concept from the book.  Is there a takeaway from the book you would like to apply to your own life?

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For example, last year our family had a monthly Family Dinner Book Club.  Each month we focused on a different book about character traits.  One month our focus was on kindness.  After reading We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio, we discussed how to show kindness to others and then looked for opportunities throughout our day to spread kindness.  One day we took bagels to our librarians, and another day we paid for the car behind us in the drive-thru at Burger King.

L is for LEARN

Learn more about a topic discovered in a book.  Stories are wonderful for lighting a fire to learn more about a certain topic.

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We read a gorgeous book about bees called Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha which then led us to visit a beekeeper and his hives.  We got a behind the scenes tour from hive to honey and even got to bring home samples of local honey.  More importantly, my kids told everyone they knew about the visit, further engraining their understanding of honey bees.

I is for INVITE

Invite someone else to read the book by sharing why you feel it would be a good fit for that person.  Share something about the book that had an impact on you.

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When we finished the first Zoey & Sassafras book by Asia Citro, my kids immediately knew that one of their close friends would love the book.  She loves all things science and animals.  So, they made a point to tell her all about the book.  Sure enough, she got hooked on the series too.

Children can either talk in person, via Face Time, or through a good old fashioned note to their friends about books they think they would enjoy.

V is for VISIT

Visit someplace described in the book.  This is probably one of my favorite things to do to bring a book a life.

I vividly remember reading Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum on my honeymoon trip to Germany.  The book came alive as I was literally traveling Germany while reading it.

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Headed to Disney World?  Read Peter Pan or Winnie-the-Pooh on the way.  Read Charlotte's Web and then visit a farm.

E is for EXPERIENCE

Experience something described in the book.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to cook a dish from a recipe in a story or a food that is described.  Every Christmas Eve, my family makes tamales after reading Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto.  It's an all-day process and kids look forward to it every year.

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One of our favorite recipes was found in Bee-Bim-Bop by Linda Sue Park.  We still have it regularly for dinner.  And, we just had to try the chocolate cake with a secret ingredient from Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.

However, my boys discovered they did not care for orange marmalade after reading A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.

So the next time you love a book, bring it ALIVE with one of these ideas!  Build connections and memories with your kids.

We even created a little cheat sheet to help you remember the ways to bring books alive.  You can grab that free printable below!

Remember to Bring Books Alive with this awesome printable!

Connect with Jodie Rodriguez at her site, Growing Book by Book or on Instagram. She shares book lists on lots of different themes and topics as well as book activities for your favorite titles.


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