Friday, October 17, 2014

Print Motivation for Diverse Learners

This article originally appeared in Resource News (Vol. 30. Ed. 6), a publication of Child Care Resource & Referral in Washington & Columbia Counties.

The key to turning children into enthusiastic and curious readers starts with matching the right book with the right child. We call a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books their print motivation.

When a child connects with a book, he or she is motivated to seek out more books and put in the hard work it takes to learn to read.

Some psychologists and educators have argued that children learn best in one of three different ways:
Visual Learners find images and other visual representations help them learn
Auditory Learners respond best through listening and sounds
Kinesthetic Learners prefer to engage in physical experiences when learning.

It can be helpful to think along these lines when connecting children with books. Some children respond best to books that are packed with rich pictures. Others are drawn by books with rhythmic and musical qualities. Still others need books that get them moving and interacting in a physical way.

Here are a handful of books for toddlers and preschoolers sorted out by the learning style they support best.

Visual Learner Books

Title: Where's Walrus?
Author: Stephen Savage
Find this book at your library

Walrus has escaped from the zoo! Help the zookeeper find track him down in this wordless book.

Title: The World Is Waiting for You
Author: Barbara Kerley
Find this book at your library

Gorgeous photographs invite the reader to dive in and explore the world.

Title: What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
Author: Steve Jenkins
Illustrator: Robin Page
Find this book at your library

A visual guessing game about animal body parts and their many uses.

Auditory Learner Books

Title: My Very First Mother Goose
Editor: Iona Opie
Illustrator: Rosemary Wells
Find this book at your library

A lovely collection of nursery rhymes, filled with rhyme and beautiful language.

Title: Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!
Author: Wynton Marsalis
Illustrator: Paul Rogers
Find this book at your library

A little boy describes the sounds that surround him in a rhythmic and entertaining way.

Title: Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?
Author: Rita Gray
Illustrator: Kenard Pak
Find this book at your library

Children discover the calls of common backyard birds while puzzling over the silence of a nesting robin.

Kinesthetic Learner Books

Title: Can You Make a Scary Face?
Author: Jan Thomas
Find this book at your library

A silly bug invites kids to make a variety of fun faces.
Title: Bounce
Author: Doreen Cronin
Illustrator: Scott Menchin
Find this book at your library

Rhyming text encourages kids to bounce their way through this engaging picture book.
Title: Don't Push the Button!
Author: Bill Cotter
Find this book at your library

A monster entices kids to push a mysterious button, leading to some wild results.

It is important to expose children to as many types of books as possible. This will help you identify their book preferences and possible learning style(s). Not all children will fall squarely within one learning style category. One child may show an early connection with sound books and then will grow to love exploring picture-heavy and interaction books.

Your Washington County libraries love helping you get your children ready to read!  For more book recommendations, please visit our website or stop by your local library:

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