12 Great Tips for Reading with Your Young Children

  • 1. Make reading part of every day. Read at naptime, bedtime, before or after meals, while you wait at the doctor’s or dentist’s office — you name it.

    2. Have fun! Choose books that are fun for your child and you, and then enjoy the time you spend together.

    3. Spend a few minutes. Young children can sit still for a short story or two. But read to them now and as they grow, their attention spans will expand.

    4. Talk about the illustrations. Don’t always read a book word for word. Sometimes it’s fun to just talk about what’s happening in the illustrations.

    5. Encourage your child’s involvement. Have your child hold the book and turn the pages.

    6. Show your child the cover. Look at the picture on the front cover and talk together about who or what the story might be about.

    7. Show your child the words. Sometimes it’s fun to run your finger under the words as you read. An older child especially may begin to recognize repeated words.

    8. Skip a word. Let your child fill in a word of a favorite book or one that uses repetitive language. Stop reading before the last word in a sentence to let your child fill in the blank. He or she may surprise you.

    9. Make the story come alive. Create voices for characters, use your body to tell the story, vary the speed and volume of your voice. Let loose: your child will love your antics.

    10. Ask your child questions. Ask her, “What is that?” or “What do you think will happen next?”

    11. Allow your child to ask questions. Use the story as an opportunity to talk about activities and objects related to the story.

    12. Encourage your child to tell the story. A child as young as three years old can memorize a story.