1) Pre-select books with a noticeably big, shape-based character on the cover (easier to draw/faces are especially good focal points).
2) Let your child make their book choice. Multiple children at home can each choose their own books from a pre-selected pile.
3) Read to your child, have your child read to you or siblings (whatever works well).
4) Stand/prop up book and look at the cover character with your child.
Ask, “Can you draw your character doing something new? Something they haven’t done before?” (Young children may need gentle prompting to add facial features or body parts as well as background action/details).
**Interestingly enough, my son developed his own technique of laying paper over the cover itself and tracing his character to feel successful.**
5) After drawing, ask: “Can you tell me about _____ (name of character)?” As your child tries to put words to their picture, they can ventilate many feelings in the process and that’s okay! You may also prompt them by saying “Then what?” or “What happens next?” if talking stalls.
6) You can act as the scribe to write down their story as they speak, affirming their creative voice.
7) Offer to hang it up!