Reading aloud is one of the most important things parents can do with their children. We read to children for all the same reasons we talk with children: to reassure, to entertain, to bond; to inform or explain, to arouse curiosity, to inspire. But in reading aloud, we also condition the child's brain to associate reading with pleasure, create background knowledge, build vocabulary, and provide a reading role model. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills while providing a model of fluent, expressive reading and helping children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about. As children grow, how you read aloud together will change. Below are some tips and tricks on how best to read aloud with your child at every stage!
- Make reading part of every day, even for just a few minutes - have fun!
- Talk about the pictures too, you do not have to read the book to tell a story.
- Show your child the cover page and explain what the story is about, let your child turn the pages.
- Run your finger along the words as you read them.
- Silly sounds - especially animal sounds - are fun to make and help keep your child engaged.
- Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters.
- Choose books about events in your child’s life such as starting preschool, going to the dentist, getting a new pet, or moving to a new home.
- Ask questions about the story - What do you think will happen next? What is this? At the end of the book, ask your child what happened in the story and let them retell it.
- Let your child ask questions about the story, use this opportunity to talk about familiar activities and objects.
- Visit your local library often!
- Hold your baby on your lap while you read.
- Babies like board books, pictures of babies, rhymes and songs from the same book over and over, and when you point at the pictures - all of these things are how babies learn!
1 Year Old
- Let your toddler move around while you're reading.
- Name the pictures - this helps toddlers learn new words.
- Read labels and signs wherever you go!
- Toddlers like the same book over and over, routines like reading a book at bedtime, choosing and holding the book, books about food, trucks, animals, and children, and books with few words.
2 Years Old
- Read labels and signs wherever you go.
- Keep different books around the house and let your child choose.
- Two-year-olds like to help turn the pages, to fill in the words in a story they know, to point and name pictures, hear the same book over and over, and books that are silly like animal books and animal noises.
- Have your child sit close or on your lap while reading.
- Ask questions about the story.
- Let your child tell you stories.
- Make weekly visits to the children’s room at the library so your child can choose more books.
- Children this age also like longer books that tell stories and enjoy exploring their own creativity through books without words.