Focusing Talk Tip: The Bridge Is Up!

by Babs Bell Hadjusiewicz December 10, 2014

Here’s a Fuss Fixer that you have right there with you wherever you are! Focusing Talk™ is a fun way to help your child find meaning in the language of books. It models for him how to take words and ideas from a favorite book for use in daily conversations. Focusing Talk around a familiar book also helps him notice that words you read aloud from a book are just like words people say when they talk.

Your child will pay attention when you Focus Talk around  a book she knows. And Focusing Talk––connecting “book talk” with “talk talk”––gives your infant or toddler a head start toward later successes in reading and writing.

Before you Focus Talk around a book’s language, just read the book aloud several times. Then, here’s how to do some Focused Talking around a particular picture book, The Bridge Is Up! by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

The Bridge is Up!

So your child now knows the story in this book. You’re ready to Focus Talk around the book's words. Notice how this book’s language lends itself to building patience. So how about we play with that language to help all of you be your best patient selves when dinner’s still cooking, traffic’s backed up, toys are needing to be picked up, or you have to wait for some other reason.

In this case, let’s Focus Talk around this book’s language and say:

Dinner's not done,

so Mommy can't eat

and everyone has to wait.

Dinner's not done,

so Mommy can't eat

and [child's name] can't eat

and everyone has to wait.

Add the names of other people in your family. Add pets, stuffed toys, or a friend or two. The point is to grab and then keep your child’s interest in this book talk and its meaning. Not only does a Focusing Talk activity build your child's interest in a book while developing strong language skills; it also helps pass the time as it increases family members' patience!

Then, as appropriate––when dinner’s done or the toys are tidied––go ahead and follow the book’s lead for what happens next . . . when the bridge is down. Well, nobody has to wait!

Try this variation when you’re needing that little helper’s assistance before everyone can head out the door:

The toys are messy

so Daddy can't go

and everyone has to wait.

[add child’s name and others, as appropriate]

More Focusing Talk suggestions can be found in Babs’ Phonics Through Poetry and More Phonics Through Poetry.

Focusing Talk is a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

Fuss Fixer is a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

For permission to reprint, contact Reading Realm, Inc.

Copyright © 2008-2014 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Babs Bell Hadjusiewicz
Babs Bell Hadjusiewicz


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