Get ready to delve into the wonder of story time again as we continue with Part 2 of the Read Aloud series. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.
I believe that a nanny should have a good grasp on children’s literature and be able to introduce all sorts of books to their charges. But I do know that this can seem a little daunting. I walk into the children’s section of the library and think, “so many books, so little time.”
The best way for a nanny to find good books is to spend time in the library or the bookstore and just browse through what is available. I do it as an activity with the children, but I also do it on my own when I can have more time to really research. Story time isn’t just something I do now and then as a nanny, it is part of a skill I bring to the family. While some nannies are better at outdoor activities, and some are better at planning and doing crafts, I am really good at reading stories and inventing stories to entertain. Because of this, it’s an area and particular skill to being a nanny that I personally emphasise.
4 Components Of Good Read Aloud Books
A good read aloud book has repetition. The best books for children, newborns to at least first graders, will have some sort of repetition. Readers will notice a repetition in the words, or theme, or even character actions. Repetition is what helps to make the story memorable.
Think about some of the classic stories: Goldilocks and The Three Bears, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Three Little Pigs. All of these stories have stood the test of time so well that they are constantly being reproduced. Why? Because it’s not only that parents want to share a beloved tale from their childhood with their own children, it’s that together with a clear but simple plot, and clear but simple characters who each have defined personalities, you get the repetition that grows young minds.
A good read aloud book opens vocabulary doors. Language is interesting. Kids love learning new and interesting words. All kids, not just those who naturally like to sit still, but active rambunctious children love exploring language and new words just as much. Who hasn’t witnessed that cheeky-proud grin when a four-year-old says a three syllable word the first few times?
Read aloud books should not be confused with early reading books. Early readers have short, simple sentences like Mo Willems, “Elephant and Piggie,” series, or Dr. Seuss’s, “Hop on Pop”. Early readers are books designed for kids to sound out words or recognise sight words. While early reader books can and should be read aloud, these books by definition limit vocabulary choices.
“When we limit kids to what we think they might understand, instead of just providing everyday opportunities to learn new things, we just simply limit kids.” – DA Poppins
Key Points To Remember:
1. Look for books that have great illustrations, but also that the illustrations don’t dominate the story.
2. Look for books that have interesting, rich vocabulary.
3. Look for books that use writing devices like: onomatopoeias, consonance, assonance and alliteration, metaphors and similes.
4. Look for books that are fun for you to read. If you like a book, it’s that much easier to share!
Next time you have the chance, go and do some research. Find a handful of new books and share some new treasures with your nanny family. Parents will notice and appreciate the positive outcomes of consistent, daily story times.
>>> How do you chose the read aloud books for your kids?
Dana, Da Poppins, is a professional career nanny based in Vancouver, Washington, a graduate of the prestigious Northwest Nanny Institute and has over 20 years experience in the industry. Dana is a strong advocate for the benefit of reading and children’s literacy, is a talented scrapbooker, and writes the blog Da Poppins.