Reading Aloud Together
By Wendy Priesnitz
Learning to read can be fun. Here are some ideas
for reading with children at different levels that will accommodate and
develop everyone’s ability.
Reading with Very Young Children
It’s never too early to read to your children.
It will help prepare them for reading on their own while instilling
a love of the written word. And including children in
literacy-related activities as early as possible will help them
develop the necessary skills for good communication.
Select books with simple, bold, and colorful
shapes. These books usually have one or two lines of print on a page
and each page has repeated phrases. Hearing words over and over
helps children become familiar with them.
Choose nursery tales, songs, and stories about
family life that have a simple sentence structure.
Let the child pretend to read the story. Allow
her to hold the book and turn the pages as the adult points to the
Make the story come alive by using different
voices and facial expressions. When a child hears different sounds,
not only does the story become more fun, but this also helps him
develop critical listening skills.
Children never get bored of hearing their
favorite books over and over again. They need to hear the repetition
of language to develop literacy skills.
Tips for the Beginner Reader
Parents are their children’s first teachers. We
have an important role to play in helping our children become better
readers. By reading to children several times a day, you can
actually make a positive impact on their future learning.
Provide a comfortable, secure-feeling reading
space for the child with easy access to books. A place with good
lighting, away from distractions, and with a variety of books is
Point to the words on the page as you read
them. This will teach the child that reading goes from left to
right, and will also help stimulate word recognition.
Engage in a dialogue with the child as you
read, encouraging her to read a page or paragraph to you from time
to time. (But if she is unable, simply take up the reading
Make comparisons as the child reads. Comparing
and contrasting helps the child recognize relationships between
events and objects, and helps him notice similarities and
After reading a story together, talk about the
events in the story. This will stimulate higher-order thinking as
the child tries to explain what happened in her own words.
Tips for Independent Readers
Research shows that there is a predictable
reading slump that happens at or around the grade four level. We
often think by this age that kids can read well enough on their own,
but this is when books start to get longer and words begin to get
Do not stop reading aloud with children even
when they can read independently – just take turns sharing the role
Encourage children to develop an interest in a
variety of genres such as adventure, mystery, fantasy, and poetry.
Keep in mind the more people your child sees
and hears reading – parents, siblings, relatives, friends – the more
likely your child will be turned on to reading.
Tips for Lifelong Readers
Engaging in literacy and learning is important
at any stage in life. Reading ability is like a muscle. If you don’t
exercise it regularly, you can actually lose the ability. Here are
some tips to keep you and your children motivated to continue
reading and learning for life:
Encourage older children to keep a journal to
help them hone their writing skills.
Encourage family members to read and discuss
items from the daily newspaper or a shared news website to keep
up-to-date on what is happening around the world.
Get in the habit of giving books or magazine
subscriptions as birthday gifts or on other special occasions.
Lead by example – exercise your mind by doing
crossword puzzles, word jumbles and word searches. Play board games,
like Scrabble, Boggle, or Bananagrams as a family as a way to
develop your children's vocabulary skills...and to have fun.
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