Do you ask your child a lot of questions when reading a book? Try these different prompts!
What is a prompt? According to the dictionary, a prompt means “assist or encourage (a hesitating speaker) to say something.” Constantly asking the same types of “wh” questions can feel repetitive and overwhelming to a child. Asking the same types of questions can also be a passive activity which can decrease engagement in the story and make the child feel unsuccessful if they answer the questions wrong. Four out of five of these prompts written below are taken from an article I wrote on my blog about the best reading method for your child. To read more about the best reading method for your child, click here.
In this post, I am going to give you some different strategies to use when trying to get your child to engage in the story. These prompts originally written by Grover Whitehurst will also help your child to answer questions correctly, comment and engage in the story in a more constructive way. These strategies are prompts that I use when reading to my own children and during speech and language therapy. There are many other strategies out there, but these are ones that I use a consistent basis.
1. Giving Choices (this one is not included as part of Grover Whitehurst article): As you are reading The Monkey Balloon, give your child choices. For example, ask “Where is Mimi now? Is she at the ocean or the playground?”.
2. Completion prompts. As you are reading The Monkey Balloon, use a fill in the prompt such as “The Monkey Balloon found his friends at the _________.” If your child has difficulty with that, give choices (prompt above)
3. Recall prompts: These prompts are geared towards asking questions about what occurred in the book. Ask your child “Where did The Monkey Balloon go on her adventures with Papi?” If your child needs some help, use some choices or fill in the blank prompts.
4. “Wh” prompts: These prompts are the types of prompts that we are most familiar with. These are asking your child “wh” questions such as “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why” and “How”. These prompts can be excellent prompts especially when combined with other prompts.
5. Distance prompts: Distance prompts are prompts that relate the story to something outside the book (e.g. an event, place, person, etc.). For example, to use a distance prompt when reading The Monkey Balloon, ask your child to recall the last time they lost a balloon. Discuss where it might have gone. If your child can’t remember the last time they lost a balloon, discuss some of the scenes such as a playground, bus, or ice cream store. Most children can tell you something about the last time they were getting ice cream or playing at the playground.
6. Open ended prompts: Ask your child open ended questions. These questions are designed to be more open, and many answers may be correct depending on the question. For an example, an open ended question would be “What is Mimi going to do with the Monkey Balloon when she gets it back from Papi?”
I hope you find these strategies helpful. Comment with your own!
Whitehurst, Grover. “Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read to Preschoolers.” Reading Rockets. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Aug. 2014. <http://www.readingrockets.org/article/400>.