I had always imagined raising children with a love for books and reading aloud to them for years to come. But by the time my third child was born, I was reading less and less. Aside from reading them their school assignments, read-aloud time became, at best, a sporadic activity. Needless to say, I was pretty discouraged at my own failure.
I’m so glad God lifted me up from my discouragement because now, our reading times throughout the day are some of the simple joys that we look forward to as a family.
If you want to get started with reading aloud to your children, here are some things to consider.
Pick the right books
With young children, the task isn’t too difficult. The story needs to be simple but engaging, not too many words, and good illustrations.
As my kids got older, I wanted to be able to read chapter books with fewer illustrations. At first, I wondered if this was possible with preschoolers in the mix. Well, it is possible, even with your squirmiest child. Pick a book with short chapters. The one we are currently reading, Little Pilgrim’s Progress, has chapters that are no more than 4 pages long [affiliate link]. Let them do a quiet activity while you read, like color, play-doh, or snacks. With their hands busy, they won’t be as restless and will actually listen.
Pick the right times
There are certain times in the day that we do read-alouds. We’ve done it regularly enough that the kids now expect it. I believe that with that expectation, they become more attentive. And, if you are reading a book that ends each chapter with a cliff-hanger, they are more likely to look forward to the next reading time. The best times for us to do read-alouds is during mealtimes and before bedtimes.
During a meal is a good time to read a chapter book because I have a captive audience who is not going anywhere. And, it really doesn’t take that long to read. I usually finish the chapter before they finish their meal. After putting the book down, I start eating, and we spend the rest of the time discussing what we just read.
Pick their brains
Don’t be afraid to pause now and then during your reading to insert some of your questions. Simple observation questions, instead of “why” questions, are great for helping young children develop narration skills.
When we finish, I always ask them, “What is one thing that you remember from the story?” This simple question helps them with their ability to recall the story and retell it in their own words. I’m always pleasantly surprised at their answers, from the 9-year-old to 3-year-old.
Resources for selecting books
It can be an overwhelming task to select books for your children when there is so much to choose from. I love getting book recommendations from friends.
There are also guide books that can help you in picking out age-appropriate books for your kids. These are the ones that I have used.
What are your tips for fun read-aloud times with the kids?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.
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