Books don’t come with operating instructions, but we do use them in certain ways. As you are reading with your youngster, he can begin to learn the basics of book handling and how print works. 

As you look at the book together, you can point out the parts of the book. 

“This is the front and this is the back. Just like your body has a front and a back. This is the spine of the book, just like you have a spine. It helps hold the book together. Inside the book, we see the pages. We turn the pages as we read our book. The words and the pictures are on the pages and we read the words.”  Have your child look at the pictures in the book, talk about how it relates to the words. “Look, that’s the yellow duck. This word says duck.” Talk about the top of the book and the bottom. “When we read our book, it’s important to hold it the right way so that we can see the pictures and the words.”

Cue your child to the front of the book. “When we read, we always start at the front of the book.” Talk about what is on the front of the book. “We see the name of the book. That’s called the title. This is the name of the person who wrote the words. S/He is called the author. The person who draws the pictures is called the illustrator.” As you read a book with your child, review what the author and the illustrator do. The author writes the words and the illustrator draws the pictures. 

Print awareness can also begin here. Point to the title of the book and count the words, ie; “This book is called The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It has four words in the title.” Point and count to each word. Point out that some words are long like caterpillar and others are short like the. “We read the words starting at the left and moving to the right.” You can point to each word as you read. Have your child help you count the number of words in the title of the books you read. 
Do this kind of activity occasionally with your preschooler who is able to sit and attend to your explanations. Focusing your child’s attention to these beginning reading skills will help him learn to better handle books and begin to develop print awareness. He will soon notice print all around: on storybooks, cereals boxes or especially on signs like McDonalds.