When it comes to books, learning doesn’t only take place while reading — it happens before your child has even picked out a book and long after they put it down. These five teacher tips will help spark your child’s curiosity before and after reading to strengthen their love of learning.
1. Create a Wonder Notebook
Curiosity comes from the reader, says Terry Stoufer, a third-grade teacher in Florida — but books definitely kindle the fire. Stoufer suggests keeping a wonder notebook or wonder box for your child that’s filled with index cards. Have your child write any questions they have about the world, and then, use those questions to guide your book picks. You can even use a children’s dictionary or other references to help answer the questions.
2. Expose Young Readers to New Topics
When choosing books to spark curiosity, it’s important to keep in mind the subjects your child is learning about in class. It’s also just as important, however, to expose your young reader to new topics from history, cultures, geography, and more.
“Find books that help them discover people who changed history and impacted the life of others,” says Stoufer. “These books will be a great place to start important discussions at home.”
To get started, Stoufer recommends the I Survived and Ranger in Time series, which will help your child connect to historical events through relatable characters and spark even more curiosity for what happened in the past.
3. Make Connections to the Real World
Whenever you can connect real life to reading, your child will have a greater understanding of the world around them, says Stoufer. She recommends exploring books from the National Geographic Kids and Who Would Win? series to get started, then heading out for a walk around the neighborhood or nearby park to let curiosity — and discovery — run wild!
4. Connect With Family
Stoufer also recommends encouraging your child to read books that relate to their grandparents era and even from when you were a kid. “Children are naturally curious about what life was like for their parents and grandparents,” says Stoufer. “They love to hear those history stories and about the things that were around or not around during those times.”
After reading, encourage your child to give their loved ones a call to ask questions and learn more family stories and perspectives. “This is a great way to pass down traditions and celebrate family history,” she says.
5. Listen and Learn
“The greatest way for a parent to use books to spark curiosity and inspire a love for learning is to spend lots of time talking and listening to your child,” says Stoufer. She suggests listening carefully and taking note of their interests. You could even follow up with your child’s teacher to find out what’s coming up at school so you can explore those topics more at home together.
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