As discussed in the emergent literacy section, families/teachers should be providing the child with words for his concept bank. Describe the objects, people, places in a child’s world, pointing out the details. “Here’s your bear. He is red with two ears, four paws, a big belly.”
Christine Roman-Lantzy has presented the idea that the child’s favorite toys and familiar items will be the subjects of the child’s first books.
“First books” will help to build a bridge between a real object that the child knows and a photo of that object, teaching that photos (symbols) have meaning.
Photos can be cut out and glued to a piece of black heavy paper as a simple visual target presented on a low complexity background, or uploaded onto a tablet device via PowerPoint® to provide the additional support of backlighting.
First introduce the photo alongside the actual object explaining to the child, “Here is your bear. Here is a picture of your bear, the picture of the bear is red with two ears, four paws, a big belly.”
Next show the picture of the exact object asking the child to, “Find the picture of your bear.”
When the child visually attends to the picture or reaches toward the picture, give the actual object to the child and say, “Here is your bear.” Repeat this activity over time, building a bridge in the child’s mind between the symbol/picture of the bear and the actual toy bear.
Move to the color drawing of the bear.
Move to the black/white drawing of the bear.
This concept of using objects that the child knows in a book format can be used to teach concepts.
You can then add pictures of items with similar salient characteristics teaching “a bear, is a bear, is a bear.”
Now let the stories begin! Create your own adventures using the simple pictures combined with real life experiences that your child remembers such as going to the store, visiting grandma, etc.
When your child is able to locate pictures in a more complex scene, add simple to complex backgrounds to your stories. In hard copy books, rather than gluing the bear in place, use a removable adhesive so that you can change his position each time. When using a PowerPoint® for presentation, the bear is easily moved from one part of the photo to another with a click/drag.
Example of a PowerPoint® book (it takes a few seconds to download):
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