skip to main content

Family Storyteller

Fourteen Tips For Reading Books With Young Children

  1. Choose a Great Book. Children love to help pick out books. Letting them choose helps boost their interest in reading. Picking out a book gives them a feeling of being important. Parents might want to choose a particular book because of something happening in children's lives.
  2. Sit Close. Reading together can be a special time for parents and children. Parents can have children snuggle up next to them or sit on their lap. It's a great way to build a warm bond between children and parents. When children are close, it's much easier for them to see the pictures and words.
  3. Preview the Book. Talk about the book before you start reading it with your children. Have children look at the cover. Can they guess what the book is about? Who wrote the book? Who drew the pictures? This is called previewing. It helps get children excited about reading the book.
  4. Use Expression. Use your voice to make the book interesting and fun! Make your voice sound excited, scared, soft, or loud. It brings the book alive!
  5. Read Slowly. Read the book at a relaxed pace. This helps children follow the story. They can ask questions or point out things in the story. Find a pace that is best for you and your children.
  6. Point to Pictures. There is so much to learn from books. Pointing to pictures and having children name objects builds their language skills. You can help with answers if they don't know.
  7. Let Children Predict. Ask your children what they think will happen next. Predicting what comes next is fun. It also is a great way to build attention and memory.
  8. Connect the Story to Life. Books may seem very simple, but can have great meaning for children. You can help them learn from the characters in books. What do the characters go through? Talk about similar things in children's own lives.
  9. Point to Words. You might point to words as you say them. This helps children learn that words have meaning. And, this helps children learn that written words can be spoken.
  10. Review and Retell the Story. Talk about the book with your children after reading it. You might ask questions like, "What was the story about?", "What was your favorite part?", and "What happened at the end?" Have them try to retell the story to you. Children enjoy hearing the same book over and over again. They love to hear the sound of familiar words and rhymes. They love knowing what is going to happen next.
  11. Extend the Reading. Children love a good story. They often applaud and giggle at happy stories, sniffle at sad ones, and shout, "Read it again!" Parents can help extend that enthusiasm by building on themes or messages in the book. Extending the reading connects literacy to other areas of learning, such as mental, artistic, social and physical skills. And it builds upon children's enthusiasm for books.
  12. Encourage Children. Try to get children involved in the story. Children have their own ways of being involved. Some children are very active and talkative. Others are quiet and pay close attention. Still others ask a lot of questions. Each style is okay. When children participate, they show that they are excited about the story and about reading. Help children develop a joy for reading and learning.
  13. Tell the Story. Some parents feel unsure about reading the words in a book. Instead, you can just use the pictures to tell the story. Better yet, let your children help tell the story. They love to be involved. Making up your own stories is another way to build on the fun of reading.
  14. Read as a Family. Reading is for the whole family. No child is too young, and no adult too old to be involved in reading. Seeing other family members read lets children know that reading is a way of life.