This month’s Book Nook topic is...

Incorporating Pretend with Pretend

One way to bring a story to life and deepen your child’s understanding is to use pretend. Acting out a story helps children understand the plot of the story as well as the characters in the story on a deeper level.

Let’s get started!

The Book
Pretend by Jennifer Plecas
Why we picked it
This book is about a little boy with a big imagination. He encourages his dad to pretend various adventurous scenes around the house. Because this story is about a little boy who is in the midst of pretending, it can help children understand how to pretend.
The first few readings
The first few times you read Pretend, focus on helping your child understand the basics of the story – the Characters, Setting, Problem, Actions and Resolution. We call these elements “CSPAR” and you can read more about how to encourage your child’s understanding of them in this Book Nook post. Keep the story moving and have short conversations that help your child remember and understand the basic elements in the story.
Later readings
After your child has heard the story a few times, acting it out with him is a fun way to increase his understanding. Here are some suggestions to get started:
  • Use props – collect props that will help bring the story to life, such as a string you could use for a fishing rope, or some pillows and blankets to make a fort
  • Plan your roles – plan who will take on the role of the boy and who will take on the role of the father. You can also have stuffed animals (or other siblings who want to get in on the act) take on the roles of other characters.
  • Have the book handy to refer to – this can be useful if your child forgets a part of the story, or if you’d like to re-read any particular part of the book.
Using comments and questions
As you act out the story, you can also make comments and ask questions that challenge your child to think beyond the words and pictures in the book. For example, “How would you feel if you saw sharks swimming around you?” or “What would you do if you stepped on a crab?” If your child has difficulty answering questions like these, you can provide an answer yourself to give him an idea.

Bringing a story to life using pretend encourages your child to think more deeply about the book, its characters and what happens as the story unfolds. The more you talk about the story using questions and comments that encourage deeper thinking, the further your child’s understanding will go!

Happy reading!

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