Recently, the Huffington Post published an essay by Maxwell King and Michael Robb, Ph.D about one of the important ways we can help our children learn.
Of course, they’re not referring to any old chatter: Allowing our children to overhear our mobile-phone conversations won’t help, nor will scolding them. What they mean is purposeful, instructive, helpful dialogue.
From the article:
Researchers and educators have recommended shared book-reading, also known as dialogic reading, between adults and children as one of the best strategies for vocabulary development and rich language interactions. Dialogic reading requires adults to listen to children, to ask questions, to extend and expand on children’s responses, and generally to be active participants in a reading experience.
I was thinking about this notion yesterday as my seven-year-old and I were reading Rania Hussein Amin’s فرحانة تتكلم وتتكلم to one another. فرحانة تتكلم وتتكلم is one of a series of new Farhana books, which includes the Etisalat-shortlisted فرحانة وسر جمالها, فرحانة وحديقة بدون حيوانات (one of our favorites), and فرحانة وصديق مختلف حقا.
At the end of each book, Amin poses the question: If you were in Farhana’s place, what would you do?
Of course, many children’s books have a “Q & A” at the end, where parents can ask a child suggested questions, along the lines of “what happened first, what happened next, etc.” My son rarely—if ever—is engaged by these.
But he likes the “What would you do” pages at the end of Farhana, because: 1) they’re illustrated, comic-style, and 2) they show several, sometimes humorous options, and really get the reader to place him or herself in Farhana’s shoes.
The page from فرحانة تتكلم وتتكلم:
And it’s nice to see an author including innovative opportunities for this shared experience with the book. شكرا، يا رانيا!