HomeQuest for LiteracyHow to Make Book Recommendations and Boost Literacy Skills in the Process

How to Make Book Recommendations and Boost Literacy Skills in the Process

The Children’s Book Review | October 14, 2019

Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 6

This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.

Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a bookstore, library, or classroom your children are most attracted to the books that are on display? Recommending a book takes this one step further and can pique a child’s interest while also fostering a love of reading. In our June column, we suggested that one fun way to boost literacy skills is to encourage your child to recommend books to friends or family. One of the many great things about book recommendations is that there really is no right or wrong way to recommend a book!

Multisensory Ways to Recommend a Book

Here are some multisensory tips—which help stimulate the brain and develop the sensory system—to encourage your child to recommend a book.

Writing

Encourage your child to write some important and interesting information about the book. Include the book title, author, genre and summary. Remind them (if necessary) that a summary is an overview of what the book was mostly about; not all the tiny, intricate details. Some helpful guiding questions for writing summaries based on genre are below. All of the questions can be adapted by age or reading level. Younger readers and writers can focus on just one question.

  • Literary or Fiction books: 
    • What is the setting of the book?
    • Who is the main character?
    • What word or trait best describes this character? Why?
    • What was the book mostly about?
    • What is the problem in the book?
    • What is your favorite part of the book? Why?
    • What did you learn from the book?
    • Why did you enjoy the book?
    • Who are you recommending the book to? Why?
  • Nonfiction books: 
    • What is the topic of the book? What was it mostly about?
    • What are some favorite facts you learned?
    • What word would you use to describe the topic? Why?
    • What kind of nonfiction book is it (biography, autobiography, informational, memoir, functional)?
    • What was your favorite text feature in the book? Why? (Text features include: table of contents, headings, subheadings, photographs, captions, text boxes, bold words, glossary, index).
    • Why did you enjoy the book?
    • Who are you recommending the book to? Why?

Art
  • Have your child draw or paint a picture of their favorite scene. When recommending the book, ask your child to explain the scene in detail as well as why it was their favorite.
  • Create a collage of various magazine clippings, pictures, or any materials that your child feels connect to the book in some way. Have your child explain their thinking, specifically how the items on the collage connect to the book. Making connections is a great reading strategy that helps increase comprehension as well.

Act it Out
  • Your child can recreate an exciting scene, or their favorite scene from the book. They may even want to write a short script, enlist some actors, and put on a book recommendation “show”!

Build Suspense
  • Ask your child to describe the book without giving away too much information – help them avoid a spoiler alert! Model how to do this, or show them an exciting movie preview or trailer as an example. Discuss and brainstorm ways to build suspense and then have them create a book recommendation format of their choice. This is one of the most effective ways to get people to read a book!

Start a Book Club
  • Perhaps your child would like to recommend the book to more than one friend.  If so they may even be interested in starting a little book club. What is better than reading with friends and chatting about a book? Not much in our opinion!

Extension Ideas: Create a Print Rich Environment in your Home
  • Rotate the books that you have around your home so that those that have not gotten much love, or that happen to relate to day-to-day activities and issues in your home, are on display. You could lay them out on your child’s bedside table, book nook, arts and crafts area, etc. This makes the books feel like new again and sparks renewed interest! This gets kids exploring and reading books more, as well as creating a print rich environment—one where a child is exposed to various kinds of texts and genres—and instills a love of reading.

Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. How to Make Book Recommendations and Boost Literacy Skills in the Process was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.

Lizzie loves literacy. And alliteration! With over a decade of classroom teaching experience, and years of one on one reading and dyslexia intervention, Lizzie understands the challenges and rewards of engaging with young readers. Her passion for helping children overcome learning difficulties to fall in love with reading led to the launch of Wildflower Learning; a private practice that serves the needs of young readers in Denver, CO. Follow @wildflower_learning_denver on Instagram for more literacy tips & tricks.

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