One fun way to infuse wonder into your child’s early reading experiences is to turn their favorite books into story boxes. Story boxes are a creative and interactive way for emerging readers to experience a story, understand concepts, and make connections to real world applications. Students who are BVI often miss out on the magic and imagination gained from looking at the pictures in a book. Emergent readers use pictures as cues to re-tell a familiar story long before they are able to interpret the words on a page. Gathering a few real objects that represent images or important concepts from the story can help a child make important connections as they manipulate and explore the object while reading.
Depending on the stories you choose, you can often find the objects you need around the house, at the dollar store, or at a craft store—and you certainly don’t need to have an object for every image in the book. The magic of story boxes is that they can be used to inspire independent and imaginative play as well as guided reading experiences with a caregiver.
Take time to handle and talk about each object before reading the story. This can lead to conversations about real-life experiences and build understanding of key concepts that might otherwise be missed. Some of my son’s favorite story boxes were Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, Sheep in a Jeep, My Favorite Toys, and Getting Dressed. My Favorite Toys and Getting Dressed were real-life experience stories we created ourselves by taking pictures of his toys and clothing, printing the images on paper, and stapling them together like a book. Although it was very low tech, it was effective because he got a huge kick out of reading stories in which he was the star character!