Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Power of "Go-Along" Books

Picture books, as I have personally proven in more than two years of using Before- and Five in a Row, are a great jumping point for all kinds of learning.

Just by reading and focusing on one book once a week, our family has discovered so much about the world around us! Our curiosity is being stimulated, and our love of learning is constantly being nurtured. Did you notice that I said "our?" 

But this curiosity and love of learning do not happen just because of that one book. I learned the value of good "go-along" books early on in our homeschooling and make sure to include several in our weekly literature-based activities.

What are “go-along” books? 

I was puzzled the first time I heard the term “go-along books.” I soon found out that these are books that are related to each other by theme, topic, location, character, or other story elements, and are therefore read together. It’s a wonderful idea that makes reading interesting and enriching! A loose tooth can make us read  Audrey Wood's Tooth Fairy that will then remind us of Doctor De Soto, and then will inspire us to look for a fable about cunning foxes.

Here are some good reasons for you to choose and read books that "go along" with each other, even if you are not homeschooling: 

  • To provide additional and factual information about a topic 
  • To explore an example of an idea found in another book 
  • To look at an idea from a different perspective 
  • To provide children with the opportunity to make connections between and draw conclusions from different materials 
  • To teach that information has different sources, and you only have to look for it in a book or other media 

Connecting ideas between various sources is a skill that children must master. Choosing the right books that will provide them opportunities to think and relate ideas is easy to do, and so rewarding in the long run. Being intentional about the books that we read will inspire learning in your child - and definitely in you too!

I will leave you with a quote that has been attributed to William Butler Yeats. Though I am unsure of its provenance (as I have never read the original source myself), it does speak the truth.

Watch out for my post on Wednesday as I give an example of how we choose and use our go-along books. 

I know I missed other great reasons for using go-along books. Share with me what you love about them!

Make magic!

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