Five Great Tips to Make Reading Aloud More Meaningful
We all know reading aloud to our kids is important, but it can also be fun! Sure reading the same book over and over again can feel monotonous, but when you find ways to enhance the reading experience, it doesn’t have to be. Alyse Eligulashvili, founder of Readingboots.com, gives us some great tips on how to make the experience more meaningful.
- Engage your child’s participation by giving him/her an important job like reading a specific word, phrase, or sentence that is repeated in the book. Your child will be proud to have a job and will feel joint ownership over the read aloud experience. When using this strategy, look for a book with lots of repetition. Decide what word, phrase, or sentence your child will read in advance, then practice reading it together with expression. No, David, by David Shannon, lends itself to child participation. Give your child the job of reading the word No or phrase No, David! to make this book a fun interactive experience.
- Turn your child into a book detective by having him/her search for familiar letters and sight words after reading the book. Letter identification and word identification are fundamental elements of learning to read. When your child searches for letters and words in the book you read, he/she is making the connection that letters and words come together to tell a story. Playing the role of a word detective takes an ordinary task and turns it into an adventure. To make your child an official book detective, give him/her an imaginary magnifying glass to use. You can ask your child to find a specific word or letter, or you can point to a word or letter for your child to identify. Board books, like, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr., and Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell, are great for this activity because they have larger fonts and less text.
- Make the story come to life by reading with animation and using hand gestures. Read in a high-pitched voice during an exciting part of the book! Read in a quiet voice to build suspense. Read in a loud voice when you see bold print. Use your hands to show movement. Your voice and hands are important tools that help make the words and pictures more exciting and keep your child engaged. Elephant and Piggie books, by Mo Willems, are great books to practice changing your voice and reading with expression.
- Encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen next throughout the story to help build comprehension and maintain interest. While you’re reading, stop at different points along the way to ask what your child thinks might happen next. By explicitly asking your child what might happen next, you are modeling the strategy of making predictions. Proficient readers continuously make and revise predictions as they learn more information. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff, is a great story because the patterned language and situations lend themselves to making predictions.
- Ask questions that allow your child to make personal connections with the story to make it more meaningful. Personal connections help your child understand that the book you are reading relates to his/her own experiences, as well as experiences in the outside world. Children love talking about their lives, so they will enjoy making connections. You can tailor the questions to the main ideas in the book. After reading, The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, a good question might be, “What is something that you worked really hard to learn?” After reading, Corduroy, by Don Freeman, you might ask, “What special object have you lost?”
Following these simple tips will create a fun and interactive read aloud experience, while helping your child practice important reading skills. Get your reading boots on and enjoy the journey. Happy reading!
Alyse is a children’s reading enthusiast with over 12 years of teaching experience, working with beginning readers in public schools and private settings. As a reading expert, Alyse’s mission is to educate as many parents as possible on how to elevate the read-aloud experience with their children.
Alyse founded www.ReadingBoots.com to teach parents effective strategies, quick tips, and tricks of the trade to support the important role of parents in helping their children progress as readers.