This month’s Book Nook topic is...

Relating Franklin Has a Sleepover to Your Child’s Experiences

To truly understand stories, children must go beyond the words and pictures on the page and figure things out that are not specifically stated in the book. In other words, they must “read between the lines” to understand why things happen.

One effective technique for helping your child read between the lines is to relate what’s happening in the book to your child’s existing knowledge and experience. When your child thinks about a similar situation that he or she was in, or thinks about information he already knows on a topic, he can better understand the events in the story and how they relate to the characters’ feelings and motivations. These ideas are often not stated explicitly in the book but are crucial for understanding the story.

My chosen book:

Franklin Has a Sleepover by Paulette Bourgeois

Why I picked it:

I really like the Franklin books because they feature a lovable character that experiences many issues that are quite relatable for young children. In this book, Franklin invites Bear for a sleep over, and Bear gets homesick.

How to relate to past experiences and knowledge

There are two ways to relate the story events to your child’s experiences:

  1. Make comments

    Make comments that link the story to your child’s life. Unlike questions, comments don’t require a response, but if you make a comment based on the part of the book your child is interested in, and wait, chances are your child will want to add his or her two cents!

    For example, in this book, the author never explicitly states why Bear is homesick. Help your child understand why Bear feels the way he does by reminding them of a time when they felt homesick, for example, “Remember when you slept at Auntie Joan’s house and you missed us and you wanted to come home? That’s how Bear feels at Franklin’s house. He misses his mommy and daddy and he just wants to go home.”

    Or, you could say, “I remember when your friend Jeremy came over and got a bit homesick.” Or, “This is just like when you had your first sleepover.” After you make a comment linking the story to your child’s life, wait and see what he has to say. Follow your child’s lead and you’ll find many ways to relate the book to your child’s experiences and knowledge.

    Now the meaning becomes much clearer and your child has a concrete example from his own life to help him understand what’s in the story.

  2. Ask questions

    Ask questions that link what’s happening in the story with your child’s own experiences. For example, if your child is looking at the page where Franklin calls Bear to invite him for a sleep-over, you could ask: “Was there a time that you’ve been invited to a friend’s house?” Or, when Bear gets homesick you could ask “Have you ever had a friend come over who then got homesick?” These kinds of questions allow your child to draw connections between himself and the story.

Follow your child’s lead and you’ll find many ways to relate the book to your child’s experiences and knowledge.

Happy reading!


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