The Art of Reading With Your Child

Can reading stories aloud to young children actually be crafted into an art? Well of course it can if the reader is purposeful and creative in how they approach selecting a storybook as well as how they engage the young child while reading.

Selecting Storybooks For Young Children

The first step is to tap into the young preschoolers interests. Begin by giving consideration to the illustrations. Are the drawings, paintings, or photographs visually pleasing? If there are people shown in the pictures, do they represent a variety of races, ages, and physical abilities? What are the people doing? Are the activities and messages depicted meaningful to the child? Next will the story line make sense to the child? Is it interesting enough to encourage the child to discuss it? Is it written in the language the child speaks? Will the subject of the book be of interest to the child? Will it make the child laugh, cry, or feel curious about the characters and what happens to them? Is it a book a child will look at alone, when the adult is not available for reading? And lastly does the story and characters interest the adult as well? Is it a book the adult wants to read and talk about with the preschooler? Does the adult want the child to see and hear the messages in the book? Is the adult prepared to answer whatever questions the child may have about the book?

How to Read With Your Child

So now that a great story is chosen, begin to read slowly and naturally. Pronounce the words carefully and read with interest. Make your voice expressive. If you are interested, the child will be too. Use different voices. Give different voices or other qualities to the different characters in the story. Also encourage the child to join in the fun and come up with different voices. Be sure to follow the words with your finger. This shows the child that spoken words can be represented as written words. Children will learn to associate the sounds of speech with specific letters and letter combinations. Remember to stop reading to talk about the pictures, story, and characters. Answer the child’s questions and ask them to predict what will happen or to imagine different events and endings for the book. Lastly extend the reading! Give the child drawing materials to illustrate events or characters in the book. Encourage the child to act out parts of the book or do things the way a character might. Visit places and do things that appear in the book. Make up stories and play games that build on the book’s ideas.
Master the art of reading aloud to the young children you care about and be rewarded with the gift of smiles, laughs and knowledge that you are fostering a love for reading and learning!