Reading aloud with your kids is a great way to help them to start reading independently and will open up the magical world reading has to offer.
Think back to when you first started reading. For me it was a chore. I found it very hard, and then at some point, having struggled with reading I had that break when something in my head clicked and I started to read a proper book without pictures.
I was hooked and books suddenly became fun and opened up a vast new world of knowledge and entertainment.
Find a book you love you can read together
I remembered this very clearly when my eldest daughter was probably about seven – and still very much behind the curve with reading herself.
So over the Christmas holidays I read her one chapter a day of A Hundred and One Dalmatians. (One of the first books I read – and have since read many times over), like me, she became hooked on books from that moment on.
Don’t get me wrong I had always read bedtime stories to my children. But never had quite found the time to read a proper book to them.
Children of different ages can pose a challenge
This was complicated by the fact that my daughter had a younger brother who would not have been able to sit still for long enough, while we trawled through a book chapter by chapter (or that had been my reasoning – and possibly my excuse anyway).
The thing is even once your child has mastered reading proper books – reading a book together is good fun and can provide some quality personal time with your children which costs next to nothing especially if you are reading books from the local library.
Tips to help you with reading out loud to your children
Choose books together
Buying books which appeal to you both, will make this a time of day you and the kids look forward to. Look on-line, at the library or have some fun at a local bookshop.
Set a time of day to read out loud
Try to make it a regular feature in your working week. Even if some days it is just two or three pages. Try reading books together as a family activity when you are on holiday or at weekends.
Take turns to read
Encourage your child to take his turn to read out loud. However – if he really would prefer you to read to him – don’t make this an issue. Of course, if he wants to read to you – brilliant.
Review the story
Before you start reading aloud, ask questions about the story so far, and the characters of the book. This way your child is practising reading comprehension, and the ability to summarise without even realising. He will also be increasing his vocabulary.
Discuss the book
To keep interest and your child actively involved, discuss the book when you are out and about doing other tasks. Ask them what you think will happen next, or what they like or dislike about the characters.
Do your own reading prep
Try to leave the book at an interesting point. If you find there is a lot of prose within the book which is heavy going to read, then take a few moments on your own to prep and scan through the next chapter and summarise the prose before moving back to reading aloud.
Examples of books to read
Some good examples of books to read with kids include the Horrid Henry Series, Jacqueline Wilsons Tracy Beaker series, or why not try some of the old classics like Winnie the Poo and Wind In the Willows.
Find something your child will enjoy
If your children are interested in football – focus in on football stories, or for older children perhaps a footballers auto-biography or a particular hero of theirs.
Remember this is about having fun – their reading skills is not the focus here. Although of course by showing what a joy a good book can be, your children’s reading is very likely to improve significantly.