Tips for Reading Aloud With Your Child
Reading aloud with your child is a great way to prepare him to read independently and to enjoy reading. Reading aloud can be fun; it can provide some quality time for the two of you together; help you both discover favourite stories and authors and provide very low cost entertainment. Choosing books together, discussing what you've already read, taking turns, using different voices, asking questions and stopping at a cliffhanger are all great tips for parents interested in reading aloud with their children.
Choosing Books to Read Aloud TogetherThe books that you and your child will read aloud together should interest you both, so it makes sense that you and your child should choose these books together. Block out an afternoon to browse a local bookshop or your public library, or even an hour to peruse an online bookseller's offerings. Ask your child's teacher, school librarian or a public librarian if they have any advice on interesting books for reading aloud. If your child is having trouble deciding what kind of books he likes, ask him about past favourites, the kinds of plots he enjoys most or even her favourite film or television characters which might appear in a book. Also, remind your child that you will be back to choose more books again very soon so if he can't bring home every book he'd like this time it won't be a very long wait before he can.
Discussing What You've Already Read AloudBefore you read aloud with your child, take a few minutes to review what you've already read together. Ask your child to summarise the plot so far, as well as to give you brief character sketches to help refresh your own memory. If your child gives a summary or character sketch that isn't quite right, gently correct them so that you can both start this reading session with the same background fresh in your mind. If your child doesn't believe your version, consider going back a few pages and re-reading so that you can both discover together what actually happened.
Taking Turns Reading AloudIf your child is able to read, use your time together to take turns reading aloud. Use your child's general reading level as a guide for how much of each page or book she should be reading. Some children may want to read less, in which case you will need to persuade them to read the amount you've determined, and some may want to read more, in which case you could consider allowing them to read the whole thing themselves. Don't be in too much of a rush to help if your child gets stuck while reading aloud. Instead, help her to sound out words and read through sentences until they can do so fluently. If your child is unfamiliar with a word, help her look it up in a children's dictionary and understand what it means and how it is used in context.
Using Different Voices When Reading AloudChildren love to hear an adult read a story theatrically, and a large part of this is to use different voices and/or accents to signify different characters. Some children even become so attached to a particular voice that they will tell you that you're reading wrong if you don't use the exact same voice each time! If your child is able to take turns reading aloud, encourage him or her to make up their own voices or accents for each character. Just be warned that many children find this hilarious so factor in some extra time for laughing fits.
Asking Questions When Reading AloudAs you read aloud with your child, ask him or her questions about what is happening and what they think will happen next. Not only do these questions allow you to quickly and easily check your child's comprehension of the story, but it helps to keep them active and involved even when they are not reading. When your child is reading aloud, encourage him or her to ask you questions just as you do them. The questions they ask can be revealing about their comprehension as well, and if nothing else most children enjoy taking on the role that their parent usually plays.
Stopping At A Cliffhanger When Reading AloudThe best place to stop a reading aloud session is at a cliffhanger in the story. Leaving your child with a bit of suspense should keep them eager for the next reading session so that they can find out what happens next. Of course, if your child is begging for the next instalment and you have nothing else on you might consider continuing the story then and there or encouraging your child to read the next number of pages and then report back to you about what happened next. Though it may not always fit neatly into a schedule, encouraging a child's desire to read no matter when or where it occurs is important.
Reading aloud with your child is a great way to spend some time together and encourage a love of literature. Choosing books together, discussing what you've already read, taking turns reading aloud, using different voices for different characters, asking questions while you read and stopping at a cliffhanger are just a few tips for parents preparing to read aloud with their children.