Reading aloud to children is one of the most important things you can do as a parent, family member, teacher or provider. Beginning in infancy, children benefit greatly from hearing language and stories.
According to the Read Aloud 15 Minutes Survey Report: How America Reads Aloud to its Children, many parents now understand the positive impact that reading aloud has on children’s early brain development.
Here are eight tips for reading aloud with your children:
- Read the book to yourself first to get a feel for the language and rhythm of the book. Many high-quality children’s books will introduce new vocabulary words to children. In addition, rhyming books may require a specific rhythm to emphasize the words that rhyme. Reading a book first will prepare you to make the most of your read-aloud experience.
- Snuggle up side-by-side in a quiet room with no distractions. Schedule reading time when you can focus.
- Remember to read the title to your little ones. Then, share the author and illustrator names. Identifying the title and author is an important school readiness skill. Look at the cover and ask your children what they think will happen in the book.
- Read with expression! Let them hear the excitement in your voice and make different voices for each character. Reading with expression encourages young children to join you in the story.
- Encourage your children to become a part of the story. Before turning the page, ask your children what they think will happen next. When the words repeat on every page, stop reading and have your children “read” the words they know. Children should be actively involved in the story.
- Read the same story again and again. It may be frustrating to a family member when children want to read the same book every night. When books are repeated, children will begin to recognize the words in the book. They can also answer more questions about what is happening in the book. Both are important steps for reading and school readiness.
- Choose a variety of books to read aloud. Find books that feature rhymes, numbers or letters. Move beyond reading only fictional stories. Reading informational text can be exciting to children hearing about topics that interest them.
- Enjoy this time together! Show children that reading is fun by making it a positive experience. It’s OK if you don’t finish a book in one setting. If your little ones lose interest, change books or try tip four again. If they’re still not showing interest, put the book away for another time.
By reading aloud to your children, you encourage lifelong reading habits and teach them important skills to be ready for school. Make a commitment to read aloud to your children every day!