Making Book Recommendations Is Retelling

Here is why "retelling" is a critical component of enhancing your child's reading comprehension abilities.



Recommending a book that they have enjoyed gives children a feeling of importance and hence boosts confidence.

To recommend a book, one needs to have enjoyed reading a book first hand. Having enjoyed the book, when one has to recommend, it involves taking a step back to see the book in its entirety- the characters, the plot, the memorable moments or the moments filled with suspense and anticipation and the climax. Typically it is the ending that is what makes a book remain in the reader's mind, prompting the reader to talk freely about the book in a social setting.


One can't recommend a book if one doesn't enjoy it. To enjoy it, one needs to understand the content of the book.

A young reader once did not have a book to recommend. He hadn't given the activity a thought and wasn't exactly prepared to share a recommendation. However, inspired by his peers who shared their book recommendations, he too volunteered to talk about 'a' book. He spoke about his chosen book with much confidence. One of the readers had a specific question to ask about one of the stated important events in the story. After a moment's thought, this very sweet reader revealed that he had read the blurb to be able to recommend the book and knew nothing more about the book.


One of the readers had a specific question to ask about one of the stated important events in the story. After a moment's thought, this very sweet reader revealed that he had read the blurb to be able to recommend the book and knew nothing more about the book.

If this young reader had actually read and understood the book, he would have been able to provide relevant information about any aspect of the book. To be able to do that, he would have had to infer from what he had appreciated and understood in the story. This would involve revisiting those parts of the story in one's mind, interpreting the same to answer the asked question. It would also enable a reader to better appreciate the book.

If this young reader had actually read and understood the book, he would have been able to provide relevant information about any aspect of the book. To be able to do that, he would have had to infer from what he had appreciated and understood in the story.
Discussing book recommendations enables the reader to appreciate the book that they have read even more:

When I recommended the book Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly, my young reading companions wanted to know how the protagonist could work on radios when she could not hear. I recalled the fact that she felt vibrations to know if the radio that she had tried to fix had started working. When I told them about this fact, I found myself appreciating that fact even more than I did while reading the book. Similarly questions about the protagonist taking risks to meet a whale in the book, made me appreciate the character's perseverance and determination.



Questions from the audience often leads to interesting contemplation, a recall of parts of the book that could provide information and in the process makes for a fruitful discussion.


Being able to take a step back to observe, also helps with writing.

A third person perspective always helps. What worked for a reader in a story and what didn't offers incredibly useful takeaways that would be extremely useful in writing. Be it a story or any other writing application, the purpose of writing is to impactfully convey a message at a later point. How that can be done effectively and what doesn't work is a useful concept to discuss and contemplate.


 

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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Executives' Club program offers spoken and written communication skills development course for the 12-14 age group.

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