Research shows that one of the best things you can do to prepare your children for school and later success is to read aloud to them. Even just 15 minutes a day is enough to make a big difference. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your read aloud time.
1) Book Choice
When you’re looking for your next bedtime book, look for something that will interest your child. You can choose books related to their special interests, like tractors or spiders, or you could choose books that relate to experiences your child has had lately, like losing a tooth or visiting the zoo. Whatever it is, find something your child will be into and at an appropriate reading level. (Need help choosing? Any of our librarians would be happy to help!)
Take a look through the book before you start your read aloud. This can help you identify jokes, figure out what kind of voices you want to do, and familiarize you with the plot and the text.
3) Use Some Expression
You don’t have to have an EGOT* to be a good reader. Your child will love reading time because they love spending time with you! But a little vocal expression never hurt anyone. Find places to slow down and speed up, get louder or softer. You can even try out some voices! (I personally love making teeny tiny squeaky mouse voices.)
4) Point Out Words and Letters
As you read, follow the text with your finger. Point out specific words that you see, or specific letters that your child might be familiar with. This helps children to understand that you’re reading the words and not the pictures! You can talk about what new words mean and point out when words are BIGGER than others and what that might mean.
5) Ask Questions
You can make read alouds more engaging by asking your child questions as you read. These can be as simple as “What do you think will happen next?” or a little more complex like “What would you do in that situation?” Gear your questions toward your child’s comprehension level (for example, you might ask a three year old “What’s that?” and point to a picture on the page, but you’d probably ask a six year old “What does this remind you of in your own life?”)
6) Have Fun!
Reading time should be fun. Make silly faces and laugh. Don’t finish books you don’t like. Choose another one instead. Above all, enjoy the time you have together.
Some of Miss Andrea's favorite read aloud books:
Chapter Books (Elementary and up):
*EGOT: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards (People who have received all four awards are said to have an EGOT and include Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, and more)