Show Your Child How Books Work – Part 1

How a book “works” may be obvious to you, but don’t assume your child knows! 

There are some important features about books or print (words) on a page that you should  point out to your child as you read a book together. Teachers call these features “concepts about print”.


Focus on one thing at a time. Do it casually, once or twice while reading a book. Do one thing one day, another one, the next day. We want to make reading fun and enjoyable for your child.

The following items might seem obvious to you, but don’t assume they are for your child.

Show. Point. Demonstrate.

The first 4 items can be introduced when your child is a toddler.

  •  This is how we hold a book.
  •  This is the front of the book.
  •  This is the back of the book.
  •  This is the title.


The following items can be introduced when your child is a bit older. But use your own judgement. You’ll get a feel for when your child is ready.

  •  This is the first part of the story. Point to the first page where the story begins.


  •  This is the last part of the story. Point to the last page where the story ends.


  •  This is where we begin to read on a page. Point to the first letter of the first word in the upper left-hand corner of the first page.



  •  This is the way we go. Run your finger from left to right under the words in the first sentence.



  •  This is where the end is on this page. Point to the last word on the first page. *



  • Point out letters. Do one at a time. For example, show your child the letter “b” one day. Point and say: “This is a ‘b’.  Can you find another ‘b’ on this page? Another one? Terrific!” Try another letter on another day. Point out both upper and lower case letters.


You’ll likely have to repeat things many times over many days or even weeks. Maybe months. That’s okay. Remember, do one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm your child.

Make it fun. Make it easy.


*Excerpts from “Super Hammy Makes a Snowman”

Super Hammy – My First Reading Series books can be purchased individually or as a boxed set of 15.  The set comes with an audio CD of the books. The books are for beginning readers in preschool, kindergarten and grade one.

The stories are carefully written with controlled vocabulary and simple sentence structures. The characters and humorous story lines and illustrations will appeal to children and make learning to read fun. The books are designed to facilitate the teaching of reading for classroom teachers, Reading Recovery teachers, teachers of English Language Learners and students with special needs, and for parents.


The books are also available in French – Super Hami! 

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg,
we pray, go throw your TV set away.
And in its place you can install,
a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”
                                 — Roald Dahl



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