Try This Storytime Strategy with Complex Books

If you are anything like me, there are books in your home library that you return to again and again. Many books fit into this category because they are playful, sweet, or otherwise beloved, and some books are read repeatedly because they are complex, intriguing, and deeply meaningful.

Bluebird by Bob Staake is in this second category. It is a wordless picture book that gracefully deals with tough themes including loneliness, bullying, violence, death, and the transformational power of friendship. You will definitely want to read it more than once.

 

Click to enlarge.

 

One way to approach a complex book like Bluebird through repeated readings is called close reading. Close reading is a research-based approach to literacy development that has been trending in the education world for several years...but you don’t need to be a professional educator to support this reading approach at home! Teachers Here is what you need to know to get started:

In close reading, readers work through a text at-least three times.

  • The first reading is about the key ideas and details in the text—What does the text say?
  • The second reading is focused on the text’s structure and author’s craft—How does it say it?
  • The third reading is focused on the text’s implications for the larger world—What does it mean?
Close reading is a research-based approach to literacy development that has been trending in the education world for several years...but you don’t need to be a professional educator to support this reading approach at home!

I often take this approach to reading on my own and with my kids because it deepens comprehension and pulls us closer to the text, both of which increase enjoyment. Even if my kids aren’t analyzing a text on their own yet, I am preparing them to observe and draw conclusions in the future by modeling my own thought process.

A picture book like Bluebird is a great text for reading closely because it is

  • short enough to be read in one sitting and
  • complex enough to be viewed through those three lenses. 

Are there any other books that would lend themselves to this approach? Tell me in the comments.

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