Ready to read

Each week in June, I am writing a post about reading aloud to the kids in your life. This week’s post is a combo of Reach Out And Read reading tips (in bold) and my personal time-tested comments

  • Make reading part of every day. Read at bedtime or on the bus.
    • Keep books in your diaper bag, purse or car – they are great stress relievers for parents and kids when the wait is longer than expected. Make sure these books are extra special!
  • Have fun. Children who love books learn to read. Books can be part of special time with your child.
    • Remember it is as much about the experience as it is the words – keep it light not a lesson.
  • A few minutes is okay. Young children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow, they will sit longer.
    • Work up to 15-20 minutes a day – you’ll be surprised how fast kids adapt to the reading habit. If you can spend 30 minutes all the better, but it’s more important to be spending the time than watching the clock.
  • Talk about the pictures. You do not have to read the book to tell a story.
    • Great time to talk about colors, shapes, big and little, tall and short, etc.
  • Let your child turn the pages. Babies need board books and help to turn pages, but your 3-year-old can do it alone.
    • You are building confidence, along with an interest in stories and reading.
  • Show your child the cover page. Explain what the story is about.
    • Telling them who wrote the book is a great way to inspire the writing habit, let them know they can write books, too!
  • Show your child the words. Run your finger along the words as you read them.
    • New research shows this is key to helping children connect the concept of reading to letters and words on the page.
  • Choose books that your child can relate to. Select books that relate to what is happening in your child’s world – starting preschool, going to the dentist, getting a new pet, or moving to a new home.
    • Let your child pick out books at the library or the bookstore. Make selecting a book on your child’s birthday a BIG deal. Spark their interest ahead of time, “What type of book do you think you would like to buy for your birthday this year?” Visit the bookstore and a stop for a treat with just the birthday boy or girl.  Put a colorful book-plate or help them write in their name, age, etc. in their birthday book. Come-up with a special entry such as: “Child’s name picked-out this book all by him/herself for his/her  _____ birthday on _________. We read it for the first time on ___________. We give it an ____ rating!”
  • Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters and use your body to tell the story.
    • Use this time with your child to fully connect with your child and to help them develop and use their imagination. Create competition for the video games and TV shows waiting to capture their attention.
  • Ask questions about the story. What do think will happen next? What is this?
    • Be as interactive as possible, but if your child keeps asking you to keep reading, then skip the funny stuff – they are already hooked!

For age specific Reach Out and Read reading tips, click here. For their age specific book suggestions, click here.

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