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Parenting Tips: How to Use Stories to Develop Your Child's Powerful Mind

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You Can Expand Your Child's Mind with Books

If you're a parent of a preschooler, books from the library hold wonderful stories for developing your child's mind. Our parenting expert and author of Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky, is sharing 5 ways to increase your child's learning through reading.

Choose Books from the Library to Build Your Child's Vocabulary and Mind

With preschoolers ~

1. Use books as conversation starters. Ask children to put themselves in the place of the characters and imagine what the characters might be feeling or thinking. Using Judith Viorst's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as an example, you could ask: "Why do you think Alexander had such a horrible day? Would you want to move to Australia?" And if your child likes this book, have him or her look for other Alexander books.

2. What and why questions are wonderful prompts for discussion. Ask your child to guess what is going to happen next and then see if it comes true.

3. Encourage your children to ask you questions about the stories. If you answer, share your process for finding the answer: "I didn't remember whether the boy in this story had a sister, so I went back to the beginning of the story to find out."

4. Select stories whose emotional themes resonate with your child. If your child doesn't like to go to new places or thinks there are monsters under the bed or is interested in dinosaurs, there are book on these subjects.

5. Select stories that play with language. Children are beginning to know letters and their sounds, and there are many clever books on the alphabet or with great rhyming refrains that help children play "sound games." If there's a rhyme in the book, ask your child how many other words he or she can think of that sound like that word (e.g., rat, sat, pat, brat, scat, fat). (From pages 150-151)


Having been a teacher, child and family counselor, and mother of 2 boys, I know Dr. Galinsky is right.  She knows how to engage children and prepare them to love reading. Each of these methods will help you connect with your kids in wonderful ways. She has many more practical suggestions waiting for you in her book.


Pick up Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs

Cover ~ Mind in the Making
Available at Amazon.com

Let's THANK Ellen Galinsky for her research and excellent suggestions for using stories to develop your children's vocabulary and mind. She is a true expert.

Ellen Galinsky
  Ellen Galinsky


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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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