Interactive Picture Book Spotlight: Christie Matheson

Sometimes story time can be a struggle. Pulling kids away from the ever-enticing screens to sit down and read is a real challenge that many parents face. So, how do you make reading a picture book as fun as dancing to a YouTube video, or playing Daniel the Tiger on the iPad for the hundredth time? Authors like Christie Matheson have been hard at work creating the perfect solution to this story time conundrum. Enter the interactive picture book!

Titles like Matheson’s Tap the Magic Tree, Touch the Brightest Star, and Plant the Tiny Seed turn reading into a page-by-page adventure. Readers are directed to interact with the illustrations on each page. Using fantastic movement language like shake, tap, swipe, and turn, each illustration not only exercises gross and fine motor skills, but also teaches causality, showing children the effect of their actions as they turn the page. Movement is not the only skill exercised in Matheson’s books. Pages may ask the reader to count to a certain number, identify a color they see, or predict what will happen when they turn the page. Questions like these are the foundation for great interactive reading experiences.

Which brings me to my one take-away point for today’s post. You can make reading interactive with ANY BOOK! Try asking questions like “How many __________s do you see on the page?” or “How is this character feeling?” Use predictive language like “What do you think will happen next?” or “There are pigs on the cover of this book. Do you think this book will be about pigs?” You can even have a goal or activity for each page. Ask your child to “Find the color _____” or “Count all of the ________s.” Using interactive reading tools like these can make story time not only more engaging for kiddos, but even more fun for adults as well.

Thanks for reading!

– Kayla

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