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Tips for Reading with Children

Stepping Up Your Storytime: Tips for Reading with Children

Our theme this week is Children’s Literature and as our Ducks dive into all kinds of books, we thought we’d share some tips with parents. There are some simple strategies you can use to bring your story time from so-so to SUPER!

The New York Times recently published an article entitled, “How to Tell a Great Bedtime Story.” Written by Paul L. Underwood, the article suggests the 3 P’s: pitch, pacing and pausing. This advice comes straight from a Grammy nominated storyteller. The article explains, when telling a story “the voice is so important. You can vary your rhythm, pitch, intonation, your pacing. You can speed it up! You can slow … down … your … words. You can move your voice up! If someone is climbing a mountain, or move your voice down if they’re climbing down. You can use strategic pauses to let your child ponder what happens next, and then take the story in an unexpected direction. Or just to make sure they’re paying attention.”

The hope is when young children find reading enjoyable, they will continue to do so throughout their lives. shares these tips for reading aloud to children:

  1. Let your child(ren) choose the book. If it’s their choice, they’re much more likely to be (and remain) engaged.
  2. Create loving associations with books and reading. Reading together is a time for closeness. When there’s a loving association, the memory is lasting and their love for books and reading lifelong.
  3. Direct your child’s attention to the print in a book. Point out specific letters and words. Connect the illustrations to the printed word.
  4. Make connections. Connecting books to child’s own life experience to make it relatable. You can even connect the book you are reading to other literature you’ve read with them or they’ve read at school.
  5. Be expressive. As you read the book, change your voice for each character. Say loud words LOUDLY and soft words softly. Add hand gestures and foot stomping to go along with the story.

Start with just a few simple strategies and we bet you’ll surprise yourself with how awesome your storytime can be! If you’re looking for more information, Scholastic offers helpful resources for reading aloud at home including articles and book lists.

Additional Resources

PBS for Parents, Making the Most of Reading Aloud: Practical Strategies for Parents of Young Children

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Great Books to Read to Infants and Toddlers

Reading Rockets, What Parents Can Do: Reading Tips From Kids

Reading Rockets, How to Read with a Squiggly Baby (or Toddler!)

Scholastic, Top 5 Tips Every Parent Needs to Rock the Read-Aloud