While many books are good read alouds for young listening ears, Goose Feathers is specifically designed to be a shared reading aloud experience, with both the parent and the child having an alternating chapter to read. Lower reading levels with larger font are found in the even-numbered chapters of the book to indicate that it is the child’s turn to read aloud.
For children transitioning into chapter books, this is an ideal choice because both the child and the parent participate in the reading AND in the listening. When the parent reads, the child’s imagination not only pictures the characters and events, but he/she also hears words that wouldn’t normally be in an early reader. The child is also being introduced to more complex sentence constructions. Then when the child reads, there is joy in the sense of accomplishment that he/she is playing the grown-up role of providing the voice that carries them to the events of the next chapter.
This shared reading experience creates the opportunity for adults to have meaningful conversations with children about the story in a way that can help improve the child’s reading comprehension and thinking skills. For example, when the parent asks, “Why do you think Reddy the Fox did that?” the child’s response requires an analysis of the situation and possible solutions to the problem in the story. Or when the parent asks, “Did you suspect that might happen? And Why?” the child’s response requires some recognition of the use of foreshadowing in the earlier chapters. Fifteen such questions are included in the pages preceding the Table of Contents, giving the parent specific reading comprehension questions to talk about with the child as they read together through the book.
Teachable moments are sometimes hard to come by, but as they read the stories together, both parent and child have the opportunity to ask about and to listen to each other’s interpretations and perspectives. The suggested questions provided in the book offer a good beginning for conversations about the child’s real-life social and emotional interactions.