Children are never too young (or old for that matter) to be read to. Reading aloud to your children helps them to develop the language and literacy skills that they will use throughout life. Reading aloud is more than just reading the book. Make it an experience! Here are some tips to help you ‘jazz up’ your reading time-
- Read with expression. Don’t be afraid to sound silly, it’s for the kids after all!
- Talk with your child about the book. Point out the illustrations, talk about what the character looks like, etc. You don’t have to do it on EVERY page, but share some of the things you see and think when reading the story.
- Young children are learning the difference between the text and the illustrations. Run your finger under the words as you read them. (This will also help them learn to track the print from left to right…an important pre-reading skill!)
- Take your time. Your little one may have a lot of questions, or a lot to say about the book. Remember that it is more about the reading experience than just sticking to the words on the page.
- For older children, act out the book. Ask them to be a part of the reading by guessing what is next, describing the illustrations, reading part of the text, or finding words in the story. Make it a conversation.
- Read a variety of books. Mix it up by reading old favorites and new ones. You can really read anything, because language is all around us. Some ‘unconventional’ ideas: magazines, menus, cereal boxes, catalogs, newspapers. Help your child realize that print is everywhere!
- Be flexible. Children need time to get used to and appreciate reading aloud together, especially if it is a new routine. If they don’t like the book you are reading, or aren’t attending to it, switch it up and try a new one.
- Don’t force them to sit and listen. Make reading a positive experience. Try it again at another time, try another book, or another day. Maybe your child would prefer to sit on the floor and read together, or would rather be cuddled with you in a chair. Give them ownership of the experience by asking their opinion. This way it is really something you do together.
Spark a love of books by reading aloud to your children. Making time to read together will give you memories that can truly be treasured for years to come.