Reading aloud to a child is one of the most important things you can do as a parent, family member, or early care and education provider. Beginning in infancy, children benefit greatly from hearing language and stories.
Many parents now understand the positive impact that reading aloud has on their child’s early brain development, according to the Read Aloud 15 Minutes Survey Report: How America Reads Aloud to its Children.
Here are eight tips for reading aloud with your child:
- 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 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 time.
- Snuggle up side-by-side in a quiet room with no distractions. Schedule reading time when you can focus on this special time between you and your child.
- Remember to read the title to your child and tell them the names of the author and illustrator. Identifying the title and author is an important school readiness skill. Look at the cover and ask your child what they think will happen in the book.
- Read with expression! Let your child 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 child to become a part of the story. Before turning the page, ask your child what they think will happen next. When the words repeat on every page, stop reading and have your child “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 a child wants to read the same book every night. When books are repeated, children will begin to recognize the words in the book. They will also be able to 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 who are 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 child loses interest, change books or try tip 4 again. If they’re still not showing interest, put the book away for another time.
By reading aloud to your child, you are encouraging lifelong reading habits and teaching them important skills to be ready for school. Make a commitment to read aloud to your child every day!