A favourite game for very young children is “Peek-a-boo” where an adult hides their face behind an object, waits for 5 – 10 seconds, and then appears from behind the object with a big smile saying “Peek-a-boo!” Many babies and toddlers have remained happy and entertained for quite long periods of time in prams, car-seats, and even aeroplane seats, by this game. This idea of hiding something and then revealing it fascinates humans and has been used with great effect in “Lift-the-flap” books.
“Lift-the-flap” books are generally read by an adult to a child. They are “picture” books and many of the illustrations feature cut-out flaps which can be lifted to reveal another picture or text behind the flap. Finding and lifting the flaps captures children’s interest and attention. The mere act of lifting a flap is an activity which focuses children’s attention on the object behind the flap as well as sending a message to the brain that an action is taking place. Some children, who have difficulty listening attentively to picture books being read to them, become engrossed in lifting the flaps and at the same time listen to the reading of the text.
Available in fiction and non-fiction, this style of picture book is suitable for toddlers through to children seven years old and above. From the simple, few words, large print texts such as “Where’s Spot” by Eric Hill, to the “Usborne Look Inside” non-fiction collection where each book contains over 100 flaps and chunks of information about the workings of cars, a space station, our bodies and construction sites, there is bound to be a book of interest to a child you know. The book pictured in the photograph at the top of this article is “Look Inside Things that go”, a favourite of a three-year old boy known to me. The illustrations are very attractive and the information presented will continue to be absorbed in the years ahead.
Access to books is now made simple by purchasing from online stores. In your own time in your own home you can browse through books by categories, e.g. children’s books, or by title, and purchase using a credit card or other online method. Some online stores do not charge extra for postage and will deliver books to countries all over the world. This is a wonderful service and makes it easy to send books as gifts to other parts of the country and overseas. The only drawback is that the invoice will be included with the book and the recipient of your gift will know how much it cost.
Reading aloud to children and teenagers is still one of the best ways to help develop their language and comprehension skills. Sharing books together also strengthens relationships between those involved in the process. Have you examined the range of available “Lift-the-flap” books recently?