Reading With Your Child

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”1 Since reading aloud to our children is so important, I have included three general tips and three specific tips to turn your reading time into quality time.

General Tips

1. Read fluently! Language must flow to be understood. When you read, use expression, phrasing and rhythm to make the words come alive. Also, read slowly enough for your child to build mental pictures of what you just read. The most common mistake is reading too fast.

2. Explain new words. Your child will hear many new words when you read to her. She learns their meaning through context, just as she does from hearing spoken language. As you read, explain only those words which are necessary to understand the story. Save the rest for later.

3. Ask questions. Pause at an exciting part of the story and ask, “What do you think will happen next?” Also, talk about the characters in a story. What problems do they face? How do they solve their problems? Don’t forget to ask your child how she would solve the same problems. This encourages her to think creatively.

The Beginning Reader

1. Follow along with your finger as you read aloud.
2. Point out and let her read particularly interesting or fun words (such as Goldilocks or Trip, trap, trip, trap) that might repeat throughout the story as you read aloud.
3. Leave out the predictable words at the ends of sentences and let her say them as you point to the print.

The Developing Reader

1. Read aloud at the same time your child reads aloud, adjusting your pace to hers.
2. Try “echo reading” where you read a sentence and your child reads it right after you.
3. Take turns reading aloud and pointing to the print for each other.

The Independent Reader

1. Invite your child’s participation during read aloud time. You can take turns reading sentences, paragraphs, or pages.
2. Share personal experiences that relate to the book.
3. Make reading time theater time. Let your child read the hero’s dialogue in the story.


1. quoted from a 1985 report entitled Becoming a Nation of Readers


Copyright 1998-2004 Phil Tulga

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