I guess it that time of year again, when the central isle of the grocery store is filled with costumes and mini-portions of candy. I’m hearing funny stories of moms going to great lengths to get “the right” costume as requested by their child—standing in line before the consignment store opened to get an old “Storm Trooper” costume and going on e-bay for a Patriots costume. So many times we line up the right costume, only to find our child changes his mind by the time Halloween arrives—ug.

Anyways, I wanted to share a fun book for preschoolers and early elementary aged kids for the season. Aaaarrgghh! Spider! is a delightful story about an appealing spider (could there be such a thing?) who is launching a campaign to be accepted as the family pet. There is so much to talk about—contrasts between the spider and pets, family reactions and emotions, predictions, consequences, and comparisons.

Kids love saying funny words and join in for “Aaaarrggh! at every opportunity. This book also promotes early literacy with its repetition of simple phrases like “Out You Go!” so your child can read along with you.

We all know it is beneficial to read to our children but do we interact with them as we are reading? Research has shown the benefits to vocabulary and language when we talk about the story as well as read it. This is called “dialogic reading.” In a recent book Sharing Books and Stories to promote Language and Literacy, editor Anne VanKleeck, PhD, maintains that there is enormous value in reading “with” children and not just reading “to” them. How do we do that? Bring your experience to the book. Where do we see spiders? What else can a spider do that a dog can’t? What would we do with a spider in the house?

Using the dialogic approach makes each reading of a favorite book new and enriching.