Children learn much of their attitude toward reading from their parents. If a parent likes to read, often times the child will enjoy reading as well. However, the opposite is also true. One way that you can share a love of reading with your child is by reading out loud to them. Here are some helpful hints to make reading out loud fun and enjoyable for everyone.
Set a Time for Reading Out Loud
Have a certain time set aside for reading together. One of my favorite times to read to my son is right before bed, but any time of day will work. Some parents of toddlers may like to have story time after breakfast. Other parents may enjoy reading out loud to their child after school. It doesn’t have even have to be the same time every day. Just make it a goal to read to your child at least 4 or 5 times a week (if not more).
Have Reasonable Expectations
Reading out loud doesn’t have to take hours of time. In fact, attempting to read for more than a half hour or so could be tiring for both the child and the parent. Start with a small goal for your child such as listening for fifteen minutes or listening to one chapter of a novel. Remember reading out loud takes concentrated listening from your child and constant talking from you. Trying to read for too long will only be discouraging for both of you.
Keep Your Child Engaged in the Story
Even though you are reading out loud to your child, you will want to make sure that they are listening to the story and not just thinking about other things. There are some easy ways to keep your child focused on the story.
- Use interesting voices – Give each character a different voice as you read their words. Your child will probably think that your voices are funny, and they will keep listening to see when the next voice is coming.
- Encourage imagining – Talk to your child about trying to picture the story in their mind as they listen. Encourage them to try to see the actions and characters in their mind as if they were watching a movie.
- Let them predict – Stop every once in a while during a story or chapter and let your child tell you what they think is going to happen next. It will be exciting for them to see if they guessed right or wrong as you read the next part!
- Ask questions – Once you finish the chapter or book, ask your child questions about the story. Ask literal questions about the facts or events in the book as well as thought provoking questions about the actions of the characters.
Reading out loud to your children is a fun experience that will help your child see the pleasure that can be found in reading books. Make it a goal to read to your child every day!
When is your favorite time for reading out loud to your children?
Photo by: Neeta Lind