How to read aloud to your child successfully

Part 2 of 6- Balanced Literacy

“There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.”

— May Ellen Chase

Guided Reading is just one piece to the balanced literacy puzzle. Another piece is reading aloud to your child. This is one of the most valuable pieces. It provides important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent and expressive reading, helps your child recognize reading is pleasurable, and creates a bond with the person reading aloud.

  1. Instill the love of literature- emotional bonding, fun, and memories.

    Let this be a relaxed, fun time. Be sure to plan for plenty of time to read, discuss, and snuggle. Have fun. 🙂Reading Aloud

  1. Role Model


    Making predictions (Ask what they think is coming next. Leave this open-ended. Make sure to tell them that there is no right or wrong answer. The key is to get them to think about what happens next, making predictions.)

    Navigating text ( This expands child’s/student’s access to text beyond their ability allowing language development and experience.)

    Allow time to relish the pictures.

    Point out language patterns such as rhymes.

    Share parts of the story you like.

    Point out contractions such as the following: Let’s go to the store. Say, “Let’s means Let us like Let us go to the store.”

  2. Frequency & Fluency

    –Read aloud at least 15-20 minutes everyday. Continue to read aloud to kids even when they can read. This builds their vocabulary, love of literacy, and gives them language experience. When my boys reached their teen years, they didn’t want me to read aloud to them any more; thus, I required them to listen to audio books. Reading aloud to your children for 15 minutes everyday even into their teen years has insurmountable benefits.10384891_889290587770032_2028595813929846120_n

    Fluent reading demonstrates proficient reading. I explain to children that the punctuation in the text is like road signs. For example, periods are like stop signs. They indicate that the reader needs to stop and take a breath. Commas are like yield signs indicating to slow down and take a quick breath before continuing to read. I role model how to navigate punctuation which helps them to learn to read fluently.

  3. Vocabulary & Other Benefits

Reading aloud to your child offers “a chance to model good reading and thinking strategies and to expose young learners to a rich variety of literature. When this exposure is accompanied by supportive and engaging discussions, children are able to extend their world view and develop important critical thinking skills”(1)

Allow time for discussion- What did you like best?

What did you learn?

Is there anything you are still wondering?

Let’s talk about the characters, setting, problem- solution, etc. This should be a casual conversation not like a quiz. By discussing the text just read aloud, you role model value to the text and how to think about comprehending the text. After all, the goal to reading is comprehension. 🙂

Be sure to introduce any unknown vocabulary. When I read aloud, I pause when I get to a word I think the child may not know. I point the word out and use a synonym in its place. Sometimes, I ask if they know what the word means giving me an opportunity to skip it or explain it. The key is creating a safe environment where your child feels secure in letting you know that they don’t know what the word means. Therefore, explain all new, unknown words for vocabulary development.

  1. Enjoyment, entertainment, educational (Informational) -Variety of Genres

Choose stories or texts that respond to your child’s interests and experiences.

“The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I [haven’t] read.” — Abraham Lincoln

For very young children or emergent readers, choose books with vivid pictures, a strong story line, engaging characters, and evocative language. Humorous and predictable books are particularly successful. Then, be sure to introduce a wide variety of genres such as poetry, biographies, fiction, non-fiction, news articles, recipes, magazines, etc. Often times, children discover they like another genre simply because you shared it with them.

There are a plethora of tips for reading aloud, but these 5 secrets will get you on your way to reading aloud to your child successfully. Do you have some favorite tips for reading aloud to your child? Please share. Do you have some favorite read aloud books?

Let’s make a positive difference~ one word at a time.


Please share this article with others that you think would benefit from these tips. Also, please ask any questions that you may have about teaching children reading or writing. Leave your questions in the comments. I’ll answer. 🙂

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1.  Photo Credit:  1.  stock photo  2.  3.