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Home > Home and Family > Ideas to help you read to your child

Ideas to help you read to your child

On the surface reading to a child sounds easy, but it isn't always that way. Especially with younger children who won't sit still very long. Below are a number of ideas that might work for you.

1) Choose books that are difficult to destroy! Some kids will just tear up paper pages of a book if given a chance. Start them off with board books, cloth books or even plastic bath books (although those might be a little easier to destroy). Even if board books get a little wet, if you catch it soon enough it won't be ruined.

2) For younger babies, find books with bright and colorful pictures. If they are illustrations, simple pictures are the best. If they have photos, ones without lots of extraneous stuff in them are better. Young children tend to like looking at pictures of other babies and young children, so those are good choices too.

3) Don't feel that you need to actually read the words on the pages at first - just point at and talk about the pictures in the book. Try to sound excited about it.

4) Try to spend at least a half an hour a day reading books with your child. If your child is a really high energy child, don't feel like the 30 minutes all needs to be done at one sitting. Divide it up throughout the day.

5) Try to find books with rhyming, repetitive phrases and sentences or predictable patterns. Dr. Suess books are like this, but so are many others. Kids like these and they help build their pre-reading skills at the same time.

6) Look for books with interactive features. These can engage the other senses in addition to just listening to you read and looking at the book. They also allow your child to be more involved with reading so that it is less of a passive activity on their part.

7) Try to find books about topics that you know your child is interested in. If your baby really likes dogs - find a book with lots of pictures of dogs.

8) As you start to read books with more text try to find ones with a lot of words they already are familiar with in them. That will help them to stay interested while you are reading. Although keep in mind that books are one of the best ways to help increase your child's vocabulary, so you want them to be able to learn some new words when you read to them.

9) Turn off the TV or any other extraneous noise so your child is less likely to be distracted. Try to pick a place and time to read where there are less distractions in general.

10) Once they are a little older, put your finger under the words and move it along as you read. This will help your child understand more about how books work - that the letters on the page are related to what you are saying and that text goes from left to right (in languages that move in that direction).

11) Give commentary. Comment about what you are reading. Point out words that rhyme. Talk about the pictures. Think aloud about what might happen next or about what a character might be thinking about. Give further information about something in the book like - 'fish don't live in trees! They live in water like the ocean or in lakes, rivers or ponds'.

For more information please take a look at some of my other articles about reading:

Help your child become a good reader - and enjoy reading!

Help develop your child's pre-reading skills

Ideas for books that offer interactive features and engage other senses

Help your child learn the alphabet

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