Parents

You are your child's first teacher

Read Aloud Tips

Reading aloud should be fun and interactive.  Ask your child questions during the book, like “what do you think will happen next” and make personal connections, “remember when,” that create a context for reading.  This sets your child up for success—even adults need to understand the context of reading materials in magazines and newspaper articles.
Laying groundwork for future independent reading is done when you first read aloud to your children: pause to confirm and revise predictions, ask questions and make connections.  This teaches your child that understanding text is a process that occurs before, during and after reading.

Before Reading
Choose books you or your child can get excited about reading.  There are so many books out there, don’t spend time reading ones you won’t enjoy!

  • If you haven’t read the book already, scan it to get a sense of it before you start reading aloud.
  • Plan an introduction—find links to personal experiences.
  • Introduce the title, author, and illustrator.

During Reading
Read with fluency and expression.  Children need to hear changes in your voice to indicate when you are reading dialogue. Vary your pace, too. Slow down to build up suspense and speed up during exciting scenes.

  • Hold the books so your child can see the illustrations.
  • Try to establish frequent eye contact with your child.
  • Invite your child to question and comment but keep it focused on the story.
  • Explain words and ideas you think your child might not understand.

After Reading
Sometimes a book will pique curiosity and lead to questions and conversation afterwards, sometimes not.  It’s ok either way!

  • Allow time for discussion
  • Encourage various levels of response with questions
  • Retell the story or reread it to enhance comprehension.

Reading aloud is a great time to enjoy books together.  The increased vocabulary, correct grammar and comprehension will come naturally.  Soon enough, it will be your child’s turn to say “all by myself” and read these books to you.  Then, it will be the chapter books and “just one more chapter before I go to bed, please?”  Way to go mom and dad, you’re building a strong foundation of readers who WANT to read when YOU read aloud today.

 

Jamison Rog, Lori (2002). Early Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten.  Interactive Storybook Reading: Making the Classroom Read-Aloud Program a Meaningful Experience, 6, 49-55
Trelease, Jim. The Read Aloud Handbook. New York: Penguin, 2006.