1. Approach when she is busy in an area of the classroom, such as
painting, building a tower, or digging in the sandbox. Observe her at
work and when there is an “opening,” subtly ask her, “Tell me about your
2. Be a good listener! Remain attentive and allow the child to talk freely
for a while. Try to refrain from offering any opinions about whatever the
child is working on. She will know you like what she is doing because of
3. Ask her if you can write down what she is saying because it is important
and you want to help her remember it.
4. Some children will talk a lot! Try to get as many words down as you can.
However, it is important not to force a child to talk about her work.
5. Never ask the children what they are making because often children
don’t know. When you ask them what it is, they feel that it has to be
“something.” Once children start talking, they will probably decide what
it is and tell you. For instance, a child talking about her painting might
point out a long vertical line and then tell you that her painting is an
elephant and the long line is a nose. A child might look at a tower and
say, “It’s tall.”
6. Read the words back to the child, pointing to each word as you say it.
7. This helps children start to make the connection between written and
spoken words, begin to practice reflecting upon their work, and begin
to get a grasp on the concept of “representation” (the idea that pictures
and objects can carry meaning). This is an important first step in their