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Making Connections to the Story

Family Reading Time

Research shows that having conversations with children during book reading can significantly improve their understanding of the book and build their early literacy skills. One way to increase conversation is to ask children questions during book reading, using dialogic reading prompts such as those developed by Grover Whitehurst. This video demonstrates the DISTANCING prompt, where the adult asks the child questions to relate the book to something in his or her own life.

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  • Family Reading Time: 
    Making Connections to the Story

    (This video has captions. You can turn them on by clicking the CC icon at the bottom of the video.)
    Download a printable transcript.

    Introduction: And now, it’s Family Reading Time!

    Narrator: Do you want your child to develop strong reading skills? We know from research that families can support children’s learning by encouraging them to actively participate in reading. One way to build conversations into book reading is to help your child relate the book to something in her own life.

    Adult: Do you think you’d like broccoli stew?
    Child: No.
    Adult: No? Why not?
    Child: I say ewww.
    Adult: What would you eat for snack?
    Child: Um, crackers.
    Adult: Crackers.
    Child: And cheese.
    Adult: And cheese.

    Narrator: This strategy encourages children to use a lot of language, an important pre‐literacy skill, and helps them to make connections between books and life.

    Adult: Why do you think he’s feeling so mad and so upset?
    Child: Because his mom isn’t coming.
    Adult: No. Now have you ever gotten that upset before?
    Child: Mmmm…yes.
    Adult: Have you ever stomped like that?
    Child: Yes.
    Adult: And pouted like that?
    Child: Yes.

    Narrator: Family Reading Time Tip: Relate something in the story to your child’s own life.

    Closing: Family Reading Time has been brought to you by the Windham Area Women & Girls Fund and the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University.

  • Family Reading Time was developed under the Dialogic Reading for Multilingual Families project, funded by the Windham Area Women and Girls Fund of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. The project provided training to multilingual families, including high school students, on the importance of continuing to read to children in their first language. Trainings also included information on dialogic reading strategies for fostering oral language during book reading. Interested families volunteered to be videotaped reading to their children.
  • Family Reading Time: Completing a Phrase
    Family Reading Time: Remembering the Story
    Family Reading Time: Asking Open-Ended Questions
    Family Reading Time: Asking Wh- Questions
  • Producer: Julia DeLapp
    Director and Editor: Denise Matthews
    Production Coordinator and Editing Consultant: Ken Measimer
    Content expert: Ann Anderberg
    Videographers: Ken Measimer, Denise Matthews, Sean Leser (Eastern student), Amy Dillon (Eastern student)
    Narrators (English): Luz Ramos, Denise Matthews