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How to Teach Award Winning Books at Home.

CALDECOTT: One of my favorite concepts to teach young readers is that certain books are quite simply regarded as ‘the best’. How can you tell which ones? Well, just look for that round shiny little sticker embossed with the words, Caldecott Medal, on the front of your picture books. Caldecott’s are awarded by the American Library Association for best pictures in a children’s book. Snow, by Uri Shulevitz is just one example of the many wonderful Caldecott nominees, (and a very timely read considering this weather). Why introduce your child to award winning books? Consider the many award winning lists they can read off of as an adult. Perhaps they want to read a Pulitzer, or a Booker Award, or a New York Times Bestseller. Making these connections early on sets your child up for a life long love of reading.

What are the home learning connections? Loving books is the largest factor in what type of reader your child will become. Opinions about what they read matter. Your child should be allowed to discuss their opinion on various books. It’s ok to not like a book! On the flip side, your child can start noticing characteristics of books they do like. Are they funny? Are they superhero books? Books about animals? Start by creating your own award that you can bestow on your child’s favorite books. In the past I have had children come up with a name for the award and draw a picture representing the award. You can scan it onto your computer and print it out on sticky labels. At the end of the week your child can decide what is the best book they read that week. Have your child place the sticker on the front of the book. Just like a Caldecott! You can always find a special basket to store these books in.

As always, push your child to expand on their thinking. Do not let them just say, ‘because I like it’. Ask why. What was their favorite part? What was the silliest part? Did it remind them of anything in their own life? Always, always, ask for the because.

Do a scavenger hunt for Caldecott books on your next trip to the library. Happy hunting!

Other children’s books awards to keep an eye out for.

• Coretta Scott King Award • Ezra Jack Keats Award • Geisel (Dr. Seuss) Award

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