Tips for Reading to Your Child

Developing a love of reading is key in helping your child learn valuable skills and can lead to improved performance in school. Spending time with books at home is an important way to help your child learn to love reading. Here are some tips for reading to your child.

Set age-appropriate standards

A toddler is unlikely to sit still for a long story, while a school-age child may be more patient. However, if your young child acts distracted or moves away, they may still be listening if you keep reading. It’s important to gauge the attention span of your child and work within the times they are most likely to be engaged. Stop reading if your child is obviously not interested, and try again later.

Develop a reading routine

If your child’s age and attention span allow it, reading to them at the same time each day can form an important part of their daily routine. Not only will they be able to look forward to it, but it can help to form a bond with you and your child.

Don’t always stick to the text

Even if your child has their favorite book memorized, it can be fun to stray from the text and improvise, or create your own version of the story based on the pictures. Ask questions about the story, why your child thinks the character feels or acts the way they do, and what your child thinks they’ll do next. This will help your child develop skills such as empathy and problem-solving.

Point to the pictures

Depending on how well your child can already read, they may not necessarily be able to connect the story to the illustrations they see on the page. Pointing to the pictures as you read will not only help your child understand the story, but it will also help them to understand the connection between words and images.

Read in a livelier voice

Though some parents naturally read to their children with different voices for each character, others may not feel so comfortable doing so. However, changing something as small as your inflection as you read will help hold your child’s interest and draw them into the story.

Form connections to your child’s experiences

If you and your child are reading a story about a construction site, you can relate it to the new house that’s being built at the end of your street. If you’re reading a book about the zoo, ask your child about their favorite animals. Forming connections between a book and your child’s life will help them to feel more engaged and interested.

When it comes to developing your young child’s reading skills, you can help make it fun for your child and create positive, lasting memories they will carry with them throughout their life.