After reading a book to your child, extend the experience with an activity–talk about how the story relates to your life and your child’s experiences, act it out with props or draw a picture.

Recently I read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems, using the cute plush pigeon who yells, “Let me Drive the Bus” when you squeeze him. Little Elle loves Mo Willems books and has used them to learn to read. She got so excited when I finished the book, that she got out her markers and drew this darling picture (minus the toes on one foot!) I can tell what details she took away from the story by her drawing.

Use your child’s illustration to launch a discussion and re-tell of the book. Talk about what happened at the beginning, middle and end. What changed? What was the problem and how was it solved?

As we encourage kids to think about a good story in a picture book, the sequence of events and how they relate to one another, we are helping kids to think like storytellers and writers.