This toolkit provides guidance for parents who want to read aloud with their child to nurture the love of reading, and also give their children an excellent start in their literacy journey. It was created as part of the project “3MR – Making the Most of the Magic of Reading” which has involved teachers and parents in different European countries while promoting the importance of reading aloud.
In this toolkit, we will focus on the family aspect of reading aloud, aiming to provide useful information, links and tips to read more at home. The toolkit include 6 topics, complemented with videos in which parents give their opinions and stories, as well as extra links to books:
Why reading aloud is important
Reading aloud is important for the child’s development
Learn new vocabulary
Learn new words
Recognize text and words
Develop important skills, including listening, reading and writing, and emotions, such as joy, entertainment and excitement
Children can talk about the book and the story (with parents or other children) which helps to develop social skills
Reading aloud builds relationships
Reading aloud is fun! (also for parents)
Reading aloud is great for the child’s development, the relationship between children and parents (and others), and it is fun for everyone.
In this video, parents from different European countries explain why reading aloud is important.
How to choose books?
What kind of books I am looking for?
Look for picture books. These are books in which the image and the text are telling the story together
Where to start?
Start with the interests of your child when looking for a book to read. However, don’t forget your own interests!
Should I choose the books according to age?
Yes, and no. Age can be an indication, and there are some general guidelines you could follow. However, each child is unique and their interest and level of understanding can vary. So let you child guide you in the choice of books.
There are so many different types of books and different types of stories that you can try. The more you read, the more you will develop a personal taste, discover new things, and get a feeling of what the best books are for you and your child.
other parents say?
Clearly, the taste in books is a very personal matter.
Do you want to know what other parents have to say about what kind of books their children like? Watch the video here.
What kind of books can you choose?
Below is a list with some suggestions for trying out new books. The first part will list different kinds of books, followed by some suggestions of picture books that can inspire you in your book discovery.
Just one important note, although there are links to YouTube videos in which the book is being read, the videos are not a substitute to reading aloud yourself. Rather, they allow you to see the books from the inside so to give you an idea about the possibilities.
What is it? Books that use a kind of language, or words, that are different from everyday language. Why use them? Learn new words and vocabularyDevelop more language skills and relationships when talking about the bookTalking about an interesting story helps with the...
What is it? Books that have large images of objects or simple scenes For what age? Age 0-3. The general rule would be that how younger the child, the larger and simpler the images. With babies, only black and white and very simple shapes are perfect. However, also...
What is it? Books with rhymes and repeating rhythms. Why use them? Develops emotionsLearn new words and vocabularyHearing skillsRhyming together is fun! For what age? All ages, simple rhymes for the young children, more complex ones for older children. However,...
What is it? Books with different features, for example: holes, pop-ups, shapes, flaps to be lifted. These kinds of books ask for an action of the child, creating a space of discovery besides the story, or allow for playing with the book. Why use them? These books are...
What kind of book? Books of different materials, such as fabrics, plastic, tactile books etc. Why use them? Develops emotions Learning new things such as tactile skills For what age? Babies (0 to 1 year).Books that use different kinds of materials, more subtle, can be...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpDv1rYFqTQ WAVE By Suzy Lee (you can watch the video without the sound to discover your own story when going through the book) Why is this interesting? “Wave” is a silent book – a book without wordsLook at the way that illustrations...
How to stimulate reading aloud at home
Create a reading atmosphere
It can be helpful to have a place dedicated to reading at home, which can be big or small.
Here are some great ideas:
Make books accessible to children
This means to place them on a low level, and in a way that children can see the cover of the book.
Also, put books everywhere where children could get bored, such as the bathroom or the car
Read in a cosy, comfortable place
This can be a chair, the couch, the bed, a carpet, etc. Anything!
Watch this video to see how other parents find the time and place to read with their children.
Have you changed anything at the space at home to read together? How do find time to read aloud?
Have a conversation!
After reading a book, you can ask your child some questions that could lead a discussion about the book. The discussion should not be about comprehension, but about finding out their interpretation and personal connection to the book.
This stimulates your bond with your child, but also stimulates the development of social skills as well as other useful skills related to emotions, opinions and vocabulary. You don’t have to ask all the questions, but here are some ideas:
- How do you think [fill in name of main character] is feeling?
- What does this story or character make you think of?
- What surprised you the most?
- Which character most reminds you of yourself?
- Who would you recommend this book to?
- What is something that you don’t want to forget about this book?
- Is there something that you would like to change about the story, the setting or the characters?
Solutions to common problems
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My child does not want to sit still, does that mean he/she does not like reading?
What should I do when my child won’t listen to the whole story?
The child is the main actor. Maybe children choose a book, but in the middle, they don’t want it anymore and they want to change books. Just let it happen, go with the flow, and read another book.
What if I do not have any or only a few books at home?
You can go to a public library to borrow books, ask the teacher if you could borrow some books from the school, or you can ask your friends if they maybe have some books that you could exchange.
Should I still read when my child can read on his/her own?
Yes, because reading aloud is different from reading alone. Often, children can listen to more complex stories than they can read. So, reading aloud stimulates the vocabulary development.
Reading aloud is also good for the relationship between you and your child, creating a bond and stimulating conversations and remember, its fun!
How should I read?
There is no perfect reader, just a reader who is motivated and enjoys reading. It helps if you have read the book already before you start reading aloud, but don’t worry, when your child likes a book, you will have to read it many times.
Remember that the child is the guide, so make sure that children can see the pages and that they can interact with the book (and with you).
What should I do when my child does not like reading?
Does your child really not like reading, or is he/she not used to it? Becoming a listener is a skill that comes with time, so be patient.
Children take over the attitude that dominates at home. Do you at home communicate that reading is important? If not, you can start with that.
Show interests in the books that interests your child
Final tips from parents
To have an idea about how you can read to your child, please watch the video below in which you will see parents and grandparents reading. You will also find some practical tips inside the video to give you some tips and tricks for making reading a pleasure and fun!
We asked parents for some final tips about reading aloud. Watch the video below to get some final inspiration and encouraging words to start reading more!