The research is clear: children who are read to, and who read for pleasure, are significantly more successful in school than children who do not. Give your children a head start on success — teach them that reading is FUN!
Tips for reading to infants and toddlers
It’s never too soon to start reading to your children! If your child learns early to associate reading with pleasure, she is more likely to enjoy reading on her own when she is older.
Try these successful reading tips for reading to infants and toddlers:
- Snuggle with your child with her favorite blanket or toys as you read.
- Read with expression using different voices for different characters.
- Emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories. Give your toddler opportunities to repeat rhyming phrases.
- Use pictures to build vocabulary by varying objects and their colors.
- Use pictures to develop speaking vocabulary by talking about what is shown.
- Encourage your child to repeat what you say or comment on it. Encourage your child to ask questions. Provide models of interesting questions and examples of possible answers. “I wonder what is going to happen next? I think the rabbit will get lost because he is not paying attention to where he is going. What do you think?”
- Look for books that are about things that interest your toddler. For example, does your child like cars, insects, or animals?
- Make reading a habit for bedtime, after lunch, or after naptime.
- Give your child a chance to choose his own books. If your toddler chooses a book that is too long to hold his attention, read some and skip some, discussing the pictures and how they relate to the story.
- Read stories again and again. Your toddler enjoys repetition and it helps him become familiar with the way stories are organized.
Tips for reading to young, school-age children
Your child has started school, but he still needs you to read to him at home. Your child will do better in school, and you’ll enjoy the time spent together.
Here are helpful tips for reading to and with young children in school, kindergarten through third grade:
- Keep reading to your child even when he can read. Read books that are too difficult or long for him to read alone.
- Try reading books with chapters and talk about what is happening in the story. Encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen next, and connect characters or events to those in other books and stories.
- Talk with your child about reading preferences that are beginning to develop. Ask whether she likes adventure stories, mysteries, science fiction, animal stories, or stories about other children. Encourage her to explain the reasons for preferences.
- Talk with your child about favorite authors and help him find additional books by those authors.
- Take turns reading a story with your child. Don’t interrupt to correct mistakes that do not change the meaning.
- Talk about the meaning of new words and ideas introduced in books. Help your child think of examples of new concepts.
- Talk with your child about stories using the notions of the beginning, middle, and end of the story to organize thinking and discussion.
- Ask your child to tell why a character might have taken a specific action. Ask for information from the story to support her answer.
- Enjoy yourself and have fun. The most important thing you can do to help your child become a successful reader is communicate that reading is valuable and enjoyable.
Tips for reading to children in grades four through six
It is critical that your child keeps reading and being read to at this age. Young readers need to become practiced at reading, and the only way to get good at it — is to practice!
Helpful tips for reading to and with children in grades four through six:
- Take turns reading a book with your child.
- Ask your child to compare a book to another familiar book. How are the characters alike or different? Do the stories take place in similar settings? How are the illustrations the same or different?
- Ask what part of the story or book your child liked best and why.
- Ask if your child liked the ending of the story. Why or why not?
- Ask your child what type of mood the story or chapter in a book creates. Ask how the author creates the mood. For example, does she use certain words, events, or settings that create a particular feeling?
- If your child has read more than one book by the same author, ask how the books are similar or different.