As children just begin to read, books take on a whole new purpose. Young children are able to interact with words and illustrations like never before. It is a magical experience for parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers to witness. Kate Messner’s “How to Read A Story” is simply a story about how to read a story. Paired with Mark Seigel’s sweet watercolor illustrations, it walks young minds through a set of steps guiding a young boy towards a successful experience. These steps are not always automatic for young readers. This is an excellent resource for primary teachers, serving as a gentle reminder of basic reading strategies which lead to better overall comprehension of text. Some of the reading strategies that are reinforced include: predicting, fluency, tracking, intonation, picture clues, and self-questioning.
Another significant aspect of this book is that it presents the reading process as an interactive experience involving others. The second step in the story has the reader find a “buddy.” “A buddy can be older…or younger…or a person your age. Or maybe not a person at all. Make sure your reading buddy is nice and snuggly.” Throughout the story, the buddy is included in the reading process. The illustrations often show parents, friends, and/or siblings as interested participants, which sends a relevant and poignant message in our current digital age.
The artwork greatly supports the text, making the reading process less of a set of directions, and more like a relatable progression. Siegel’s designs connect each reading step to the next with friendly and whimsical characters. “How to Read A Story” is best-suited for readers ages 4-7, and would be an excellent tool for parents, pre-school, and primary teachers alike.


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