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Amir Figures It Out

by Maureen Slamer

Amir snuggled up against his Papa. “Papa, I have a book to read.”
 
His Papa wrapped his arm around Amir and pulled him closer. “Let’s hear it.”
 
Amir began. “’Click!’ Papa, that means the boy is gonna take pictures. That’s what cameras do. They click. Don’t you have a camera like that?”
 
“I do,” Papa answered. “I wonder what kind of pictures he will take? Let’s find out.”
 
“’I took my camera to the zoo.’ Papa, he’s gonna take pictures at the zoo! Look at that sea lion. He’s huge!” Amir continued on and turned the page. “’He sat up and poosed for me. Click!’” 

“Amir, something doesn’t make sense. Can you read that again?”

Amir began the page again. “’He sat up and poosed for me.’”  Amir shook his head. He pointed to the word. “Papa, that doesn’t make sense. What’s poosed?” 

Papa waited. “Let’s think about what you do when I have my camera.” Papa waited. Amir’s eyes darted to the picture, his mouth moved silently. Papa waited.

Amir began again. “’He sat up and poosed,’ no, ‘posed for me.’ It’s posed. He posed for the picture like we do when you take our picture, except you tell me to smile.”

“Amir, you figured it out! How did you do that?”

“Papa, poosed didn’t make sense with the story. I looked at the picture and thought about what we do with your camera. When I read it again, it made sense with the story. You pose for pictures.” Amir continued reading. “Look Papa! He said, ‘smile,’ just like you do!”

“Yup, just like I do!”

Author: Rhonda Cox

Meaning Matters Most

It is so important that children understand the meaning of the story as they read. At times you may have to step in to help and encourage them as they learn to do this. It is not just about saying all the words right, it is about understanding the story. So, what can you do? How can you help? Amir’s Papa noticed something didn’t make sense as Amir read (“’He sat up and poosed for me. Click!’”). He simply asked Amir to read the page again. Amir did notice something was amiss (“’He sat up and poosed for me.’ Amir shook his head. He pointed to the word. ‘Papa, that doesn’t make sense.’”). Amir tried to figure it out (“Amir’s eyes darted to the picture, his mouth moved silently.”). His Papa waited, then supported him (“Let’s think about what you do when I have my camera.”). Amir’s Papa gave him the opportunity to try it again to see if he could make sense with the story they were reading.

Here are some simple prompts you might use to help your child problem-solve the tricky word to understand the story. Wait until your child has finished the sentence before jumping in so they have time to notice and solve the problem on their own. You may even want to repeat how they read the sentence so they can hear it for themselves and then ask the child if it makes sense with the story. If your child seems frustrated it is okay to just give them the word. Keeping your child reading, enjoying, and understanding the story is most important.

• Let’s read together and think about what would make sense in the story.

• I wonder if the picture can help us?

• I wonder if that word could be _______? How will we know

• Let’s try reading past that word and think about the story. Then try it again.

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