Reading Activities: Book Lucky Dip

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Most of us understand the value of reading to our children on a daily basis, and it can become the loveliest time in a busy day. A chance for some down time and just to read for the wonder of being transported to a different place and time.  Reading  with children does not, and should not, always be a formal learning experience. However it is great to get into the habit of creating dialogue around children’s books.

Book Lucky Dip

Decoding Text

It is beyond exciting when your child starts to decipher words in a text, and we can get so caught up in this excitement that we forget another critical element in the reading process…reading for meaning. I see plenty of very young children who are capable of reading the words in long chapter books, but ask them a few questions about the content of the book and many are lost for words.

Decoding, and pronouncing words aloud are important elements, reading for meaning is I believe the element that creates lifelong readers.

Reading for Meaning

Not all the time, but when we’ve got time and Pudstar is in the mood, I will talk to her about her book using prompts and questions like;

  • Look at the cover, what do you think this story might be about?
  • Can you find the author’s name on the cover? The illustrator? See how the title starts with a capital letter?
  • What do you think of the illustrations in the book? Do you think the illustrator painted them? Drew them? Are the collaged? Photographs?
  • What do you think might happen next in the story?
  • How do you think this story is going to end?

I used to get super annoyed at the Chief Before Bed Reader (Dan) when I’d tell him to talk to PudStar as he was reading. He’d look at me blankly and say “don’t I just start at the beginning and read to the end?” and “I love reading with her, don’t make it a chore”. As it turned out, most of my friends also looked me blankly.  Apparently teacher librarians are more into children’s book dialogue than most town planners, builders, professors of maths, electricians and nurses. Who would have thunk it huh?

So here’s what I did for the Chief Before Bed Reader and Pud. They loved it, and you might find it useful too:

Book Lucky Dip

The Chief Before Bed Reader and PudStar greatly enjoyed their lucky dip game after books. They would choose a lucky dip each and have a chat when they finished the book. It was never formal, never a lesson…it is just about creating a book dialogue. I remember one night catching Dan asking Pud about what she thought of the cover of what was his current read at the time, ‘Game of Thrones’. Totally inappropriate reading material for a four year old…but hey who am I to whinge about book talk.

Book Lucky Dip2

Back when the girls were younger, there were our lucky dip questions and I have updated them and added to them in my book ‘Raising Readers’;

  • If you were the author of the story would you have ended it the same way?
  • What did you like or dislike about this book?
  • What do you think the author was trying to say to us? What helped you figure out the message?
  • What part of the story was the most exciting or interesting?
  • Which character was your favourite? Why?
  • Did any of the characters remind you of anyone that you know?
  • Can you think of any other books that are similar to this one?
  • Which is your favourite illustration? Why?
  • Look at the cover…did it give you clues about the story?
  • Point to these parts of the book when I call them:  spine, front cover, back cover, blurb, title!
  • How did this book make you feel? Was it a happy book? Thoughtful? A bit scary? An adventure?


The Body Shop

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  1. Angie on Aug 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Love ya work Megan! As you well know one of my great passions in life is developing a greater awareness about the importance of reading for meaning and my frustration with the obsession of text accuracy being the only benchmark of a child’s reading…here’s hoping news of your fabulous blog travels fast!! Axx

  2. Amy on Nov 19, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Going to do this one too! Thank you

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