When you know you’re raising a reader
My two year old grand-daughter was playing in the bedroom when things became worryingly quiet. I sneaked a peek round the door and she had tucked her teddy’s into bed and was ‘reading’ them her favourite bed-time story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
She even turned the book round so they can see the pictures just as I do. How sweet was that?
Sweetness apart, grand-daughter is showing some pretty impressive pre-reading skills.
- She understands how a book works: she holds in the right way up (even when she shows the book to her audience), she starts at the beginning and turns the pages correctly.
- She remembers the story and can retell it. It doesn’t matter that she’s not actually reading the words, she’s using ‘book language’ rather than ‘spoken language.’
- Best of all, she’s motivated by books. Learning to read is hard work and a child who enjoys books is more likely to keep trying. ‘Wanting’ to read is half of the battle.
It was so rewarding to see all those repeat reads I’ve done of The Very Hungry Caterpillar were paying off. Grand-daughter is nailing it.
I’m starting a series of posts about helping your child learn to love reading. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
How are you raising your little reader?
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day.
March 20th 1969: the day that Eric Carle published The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s a truly classic book and one of our favourites. In honour of this, March 20th is now officially “Very Hungry Caterpillar Day.”
A staggering 38 million copies of the book have sold worldwide and it’s been translated into over 60 languages. There are board book editions, popup book editions, editions with cloth caterpillars and ones with holes through the pages inviting little fingers to explore. And they all have Eric Carle’s distinctive collage style of illustration that children find so appealing.
What better way to celebrate Very Hungry Caterpillar Day 2017 than to hear the story told by my three year old grandson? I should warn you he does get distracted by a siren passing on the road outside but you also get his awesome comments 🙂 You can tell we’ve read this book a LOT.
Celebrate your own Very Hungry Caterpillar Day by downloading colouring pages from the Eric Carle website. Or have a run to the shop to collect a feast of the things the caterpillar ate?
Planning my picture book video.
I like watching book videos. I can
waste spend hours on YouTube (in the name of research, you understand). There is such a vast range of styles and variation in quality, from professional movie standard productions down to the most basic, obviously home-made, pan-around-a-stock-picture efforts. I love them all.
I always intended on having a video for Better Buckle Up and Things Evie Eats and creating a video for a picture book is easier than creating one for a text-only book because you already have the visuals sorted. But I had a limited budget to work with, so I had to do a lot of planning to get the job I wanted at a price I could afford.
1) Teaser type trailer v complete reading?
The video for Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson is worthy of a Disney movie. It hints at the story but doesn’t tell it completely, just like a film trailer. This is some seriously nice animation but it’s way above my pay grade.
However, I decided on a complete reading of the books rather than a teaser type with excerpts. As a new author, it’s important that people get a feel for your books before they buy, that way parents can be sure what they’re getting. The full reading video can also be used to entertain children on car journeys etc.
One of the arguments against putting the whole book out is that, if people can read the book online, there is no need for them buy. However, my experience is that 1. children read a book they like multiple times and 2. picture books for children sell best in hard copy, so getting them hooked on a story might actually lead to more sales.
2) To see the person reading, or not to see the person reading?
My next dilemma in planning my picture book video was, did I want it to be a ‘story-time’ type video like Eric Carle in this reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar?
Or did I want to just see the book, like this Usborne Alphabet Picture Book?
I tested several videos out with my grandchildren and found the ones they requested to watch most featured only the book. This surprised me, but they seemed to focus on the story more and were less distracted by the person reading it.
Rather than film myself turning the pages of the book, I decided I could use the file I created in Adobe InDesign to turn the pages digitally. I then used Camtasia, a screen capture software to record me reading the book and turning the pages at the appropriate place.
3) My voice or a voice over?
This was a real dilemma. I never like my Northern accent and paying for a voice-over artist on Fiverr wasn’t too expensive. I spent a long time listening to the various readers but, after recording the page turning, I decided I didn’t sound as bad as I thought. Twenty years of living in Wales has obviously mellowed my voice. And doesn’t Eric Carle’s accent makes the reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar special? So, I went with me.
4) Intro and Outro?
Up until this point the trailer had cost me very little but I wanted the videos to have an Intro and Outro to give them a more professional look. I worked with PlainSightVFX, the people who did the illustrations for Better Buckle Up, and they used the idea from my website to come up with a graphic. The great thing about this is that I can use them on any video I make in the future. This will keep my branding recognizable too.
Wanna see it? Course you do.
5) Music: the food of love?
The finishing touch was the soundtrack. Music copyright is as big a minefield as photo copyright and again I wanted something to go over the Intro and Outro that was unique to me. The answer was to commission my own piece. I sent several pieces of music in a style I liked as a starting point. They also took the animations I’d had done so it fitted exactly. After all, there’s nothing worse than a soundtrack cutting off or fading out mid-phrase. I’m very excited about it all and the finished videos will be available very soon.
So what do you think about book videos? Love ’em or hate ’em?