Tips for Reading Aloud to Your Child
1. Make time to read to your child EVERY day.
Just one book a day is all it takes (but it won’t be long before one of you is requesting more stories).
2. Relax and get comfortable.
Children really do pick up on our emotions and our fears, so they will know if you are nervous or uninterested. Give yourself every opportunity to feel relaxed: choose the right place to read, choose a book you feel confident reading and read at the right time of the day so that you can give 100% of your attention to reading aloud to your child.
3. Choose books that you feel confident reading.
They might be familiar books from your own childhood, simple books with very few words or books you’ve read a thousand times before.
4. Use puppets or props.
Puppets and props can take the focus away from you, helping you develop character voice and building your confidence in reading aloud without feeling self-conscious. My kids love to kiss, cuddle and give high-fives to our puppets.
5. Involve your child.
Make it an active (not a passive) activity for your child. I ask Baby Ike to turn the pages for us and repeat his favourite words. Cammy enjoys predicting parts of stories and she loves asking her own questions about the stories and illustrations.
6. Engage your child’s interest and imagination.
Choosing the right book for your child is one way to engage them, but your voice can also help bring a story to life. Even without training, there are some simple ways you can use your voice when reading aloud. I like to use:
Volume- Try speaking softly to create suspense or seriousness, or speak loudly to create excitement or importance.
Pace- Try speaking slowly to create suspense or sadness, or speak quickly to create excitement or panic.
Tone-emphasize important words from the story (particularly words that indicate emotions)
7. Mix it up.
Find different ways to read a book. We like to read in the dark with a torch, wear costumes, sing the words, use silly voices
8. Take your child’s lead.
Give your child some control over story time. Let them decide when they want a story, what they want you to read, how they want it to be read, and how often they want you to read the same story. Also, be willing to ‘give up’ or change tact if a book is not working for your child. Don’t get tense if a story session hasn’t been a success.
9. Learn from others.
Don’t give up on reading aloud because your child shows signs of not enjoying story time. Start small by using one book with a simple story, and go from there. Try different strategies and techniques until you work out what your child enjoys.