Reading Aloud to your Child
Children learn to read through a variety of experiences with different types of texts. One of the most powerful ways for children to learn to read is being able to share a text with others. Sharing a text provides support and builds confidence for developing readers and it is a great way for adults to model the enjoyment of reading a great book.
Reading aloud to your child is one of the most effective ways to cultivate a child’s reading development. We read to children for the same reasons we talk with children: to reassure, to entertain, to bond, to inform or explain, to arouse curiosity, to inspire. But in reading aloud, we also:
- Condition the child’s brain to associate reading with pleasure.
- Create background knowledge.
- Build vocabulary
- Provide a reading role model.
Reading aloud also serves to promote imaginative thinking, and significantly increases reading comprehension. It also develops listening skills and allows children to have access to new and interesting experiences through literature. Simply, reading aloud opens an entirely new world to your child.
During our daily reading homework students will choose if they want to read by themselves, to someone, or if they want to be read to. During either of these interactive sessions with your child, the focus should be on enjoying the experience. Young children might choose to “read” by talking about the pictures or putting the story in their own words. As your child’s reading abilities develop, support them by praising and by using books that are not too hard, not too easy but are Just Right. Please remember to keep these activities fun and non-threatening as we want children to have very positive associations while reading at home.
When is your child ready to read independently? Right now!!! All children can benefit from quiet time spent with a book. While beginning readers might not yet know all of the words in a text, independent reading gives a child the chance to look at the pictures, interpret the author’s story, or continue developing his/her imaginative thinking.
Whether you read to your child or your child reads to you, please keep in mind that these 10 minute a day activity is critical in helping your child develop reading knowledge and a love for reading. Please know that you may stop by our school’s library from 8:30 to 4:30 to check out one, two, three or as many books you and your child want. We also encourage you to read to your child in his/her native language. Strengthening your child’s first language will greatly impact your child’s English skills.
Thanks you so much for your support and very HAPPY READING!!!
The Do’s and Dont’s of Reading Aloud to your Child
- Read to your child daily. Ten, fifteen or twenty minutes…as long as your child wants.
- To encourage involvement, invite your child to turn pages for you when it’s time.
- Before you begin to read, always say the name of the book, the author, and the illustrator-no matter how many times you have read the book.
- The first time you read a book, discuss the illustrations on the cover. “Ask: What do you think this is going to be about?” or “Let’s get our minds ready to read. Have your child take a Picture Walk (explore the pictures inside book)
- Use plenty of expression when reading. If possible, change your tone of voice to fit the dialogue.
- Read slowly enough for your child to build mental pictures of what he just heard you read. Slow down enough for your child to see the pictures in the book without feeling hurried. Reading quickly allows no time for the reader to use vocal expression.
- As you read, keep your child involved by occasionally asking “What do you think is going to happen next?” or “What would you do if you were the character?”
- Avoid long descriptive passages until the child’s imagination and attention span are capable of handling them. There is nothing wrong with shortening or eliminating them. Pre reading helps to locate such passages.
- Allow your child a few minutes to settle down and adjust their feet and minds to the story.
- Mood is an important factor in listening. An authoritarian “Now stop that and settle down! Sit up straight. Pay attention” does not create a receptive atmoshpere.
- It’s ok if you begin a book one day and continue it the next day!
- Don’t read stories that you don’t enjoy yourself.
- Don’t overwhelm your child. Consider the intellectual, social, and emotional level of your child in making a read-aloud selection.
- Don’t use the book as a threat (“If you don’t pick up your room, no story tonight”) As soon as your child sees that you’ve turned the book into a weapon, they’ll change their attitude about books from positive to negative.
- Don’t tell your child to go read, while you watch television. Model the joy of reading.
The Read Aloud-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease
The First Grade Team