The importance of reading aloud to your child

Do you sometimes feel silly reading aloud to your child? Do you feel self-conscious? I understand!

I remember when I was on my first teaching prac, and I read my first book to a class. I was nervous. Would the children pay attention? Would they stay engaged? Would they hang on my every word? Well, the truth is – not if I was self-conscious. The minute I lost myself in the joy of reading, using character’s voices, moving the book around as the story dictated, and clearly enjoying myself, the kids joined me on a magical journey. The books that I love to read the most and never get tired of are usually the stories that become favourites of my children! Enthusiasm for books and reading is contagious.

Reading aloud to toddlers

I’d like to give you a few ideas for reading to your toddlers. The key for this age is choosing books that feature rhyme, rhythm and repetition. Lots of exposure to books of this nature will help their ability to learn to read later on. Favourite authors of mine for this age group are Dr Suess, Lynley Dood, Pamela Allen and Mem Fox.
Young children’s favourite books are usually highly predictable. Here are some tips on how to read with children with an eye towards sequence and that comfortable predictability.  Pause to allow the child to fill in a portion of a repeated phrase.  Encourage the child to repeat a carrier phrase heard throughout the story.  Read a story with inflection! Apply a consistent melodic tone and inflection to carrier phrases and repeated questions present throughout the book.  Call attention to the print; point to the written text as you read. Encourage your child to turn the pages. 

Don’t just take it from me…

A fantastic reference book for parents is by Mem Fox, author of Australian favourites like ‘Where is the green sheep?’ and ‘Possum Magic’.
Her book is entitled “Reading Magic: How your child can learn to read before school – and other read-aloud miracles”.
Go to her website for her 10 read-aloud commandments! She is very funny…



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