June 25, 2013

Five Tips for Reading Aloud to Young Children

Moms and kids create their own books together at a literacy workshop.

A project I am particularly proud to be part of is the Beyond Our Gates Reading by Third initiative, coordinated by University of the Pacific, with support from dozens of local individuals and organizations.

Research shows that the ability to read proficiently by the end of third grade is an important predictor of a child's educational success - kids who aren't strong readers by the time they leave third grade tend to fall behind, and many of them don't catch up. Unfortunately, fewer than half of third graders in our community are reading at grade level.

But we can turn things around.

One of the easiest - and, it must be said, most fun - ways to nurture strong readers is to read aloud to young children every day. Reading aloud help kids build vocabulary, make the connection between letters and words, and, perhaps most importantly, develop a strong bond with the adults in their lives.

For a lot of us, reading aloud feels easy and natural. But, many times, it can seem a little awkward, especially when your child is too young to sit still through a whole story, or even to really understand the words.

To help show parents how and why to read aloud to young children, we launched a series of summer literacy workshops. The project kicked off last week, and in celebration, I thought I'd share five simple tips for reading aloud with little ones (Tips compiled by First 5 San Joaquin):

  1. Point to each word as you read so your child makes the connection between words and letters.
  2. Read your child's favorite books over and over again.
  3. Choose stories with rhyming words and lines that repeat.
  4. Discuss new words. For example, "This big house is called a 'palace.' Who do you think lives in a palace?"
  5. Stop and ask about the pictures and what is happening in the story.

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