Advice on how to read a story to your child
If you can find the time beforehand, read the read-aloud book to yourself first, so you can think about how you’re going to read it to your child.
On the first reading:
• Make reading aloud feel like a treat. Make it a special quiet time and cuddle up so you can both see the book.
• Show curiosity about what you’re going to read: ‘This book looks interesting. It’s about an angry child. I wonder how angry he gets…’
• Read through the whole story the first time without stopping too much. Let the story weave its own magic.
• Read with enjoyment. If you’re not enjoying it, your child won’t. Read favourite stories over and over again.
On later readings:
• Let your child pause, think about and comment on the pictures.
• If you think your child did not understand something, try to explain: ‘Oh! I think what’s happening here is that…’
• Chat about the story and pictures: ‘I wonder why she did that?’; ‘Oh no, I hope she’s not going to…’; ‘I wouldn’t have done that, would you?’
• Link the stories to your own family experiences: ‘This reminds me of when …’
• Link stories to others that your child knows: ‘Ah! Do you remember the dragon in ….? Do you remember what happened to him?’
• Encourage your child to join in with the bits they know.
• Avoid asking questions to test what your child remembers.
• Avoid telling children that reading stories is good for them.
Useful Reading for Pleasure links