Top 10 Tips for Reading to a Child

  1. Get everyone in your family involved – parents, baby-sitters, grand-parents, aunts & uncles, brothers & sisters – anybody!
  2. Don’t be self-conscious and worry about how you sound. Each person has a different reading style so read however you feel most comfortable. All your child cares about is that YOU are reading to THEM.
  3. Feel free to change the text by adding words or phrases to make it more relevant to your child. Make them the main character, add their pet’s name, etc.
  4. Pause for dramatic effect while reading, make funny voices for the characters and make sure to emphasize all the “CRASH” and “BOOM” sound effects from the text. Your child will LOVE it!
  5. Be enthusiastic about reading together – if you act like you’re having fun, your child will too.
  6. Pick out books that relate to your child’s interests – animals, pirates, firetrucks, ballerinas, construction equipment, dogs and cats, etc. Children will listen better if the story is about things that already interest them.  Don’t be afraid to read books about their favorite TV characters.  Many TV shows are based on well-loved books to begin with – think Curious George, Max and Ruby, the Cat in the Hat, etc.
  7. Don’t worry about reading the same story over and over. Hearing the same words and phrases reinforces the flow of language and helps them stick in your child’s brain. This repetition also helps children to memorize the text so that they can “read” it back to you eventually, which is all part of their learning process.
  8. Let your child interact with you and the story. Have them make animal sounds or repeat their favorite lines. Look for opportunities in stories to physically engage them in the stories by acting out parts.  And always let them help turn the pages.
  9. Try not to rush through the book. Let your child look at the illustrations as long as they want and ask you questions if they have any. And make sure to ask them questions such as – what color is that?  What kind of animal is that?
  10. Read books to your child whenever they want. Bedtime stories are a wonderful way to end the day but that doesn’t have to be the only time.  Have plenty of books scattered throughout your house so your child can stumble across one and think, “Hey! I want somebody to read this to me!”