Learning to read involves many different skills: letter recognition, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. It’s not just about making words out of letters or sentences out of words.
Reading comprehension plays a major role in your child’s literacy. Being able to read words is of no use if you don’t understand what they mean or how they relate to each other in a sentence. Reading comprehension is a skill that is developed over time and has to be taught to children in addition to basic decoding skills.
This is why I love activities that help children to think about what they’ve read and the meaning of the story. One of my favorite tools is the story board. It is quite simply a visual template that your child can fill with words or drawings related to the book he or she has read.
They are extremely versatile. In the example above, we used the book ¡Olé! Flamenco by George Ancona. In the center circle is the title of the book, and the surrounding spaces are filled with the elements most closely associated with the traditional Spanish dance.
Typically the center space is reserved for the main subject of your story board. Your child can write in the title of a book, the main character, or something else. Consider these potential topics:
- Character traits of the hero
- Character traits of the villain!
- Different settings found in the story
- Sequential events (i.e., in the Three Little Pigs, FIRST the pigs left to build their own houses. SECOND the first little pig built a house of straw, THIRD the middle pig built a house of sticks, etc.)
- Comparing and contrasting; take two characters and on the left side of the page, show what they have in common, but on the right side of the page, show what is different about them.
The absolute best part of using story boards is that you can use them in any language! Or more than one; we used both Spanish and English in the story board above. You can also make them as simple (with fewer lines for younger children) or as complex (more lines for older kids) as you want.
The neatest part is that the story boards can be used for multiple subjects including science, history, geography, and others.
Story boards are easy to create yourself, but I made a set of them which I sell in my online TpT store. HOWEVER, I’m happy to offer them for free this summer in honor of the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program. Hop on over there and download your complimentary set. And if you use any of them with your kids, why not snap a picture and post it on our Facebook page to inspire the other participating familias?