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How To Read Aloud to Your Child


Father and son reading on bed
Dan Bannister/Image Source/Getty Images
When you read aloud to your child, is it a rewarding experience or an exercise in frustration? Here are some ways to help ensure an enjoyable experience for both of you when you read aloud, with children's books that make great read alouds and effective reading aloud techniques.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 20 minutes

Here's How:

  1. You don't have to wait for your baby to get to a certain age to begin reading children's books to him. Start now!
  2. Continue reading aloud to your child until he is at least 10 years old. Children continue to benefit from listening to others read long after they themselves have learned to read children's books.
  3. For young children, children's books with rhyme, rhythm and repetition are excellent. Be sure to read Mother Goose rhymes often.
  4. Be consistent about reading aloud to your child. Do it daily and, if possible, about the same time every day. Reading children's books right before bedtime often works well.
  5. If you have several small children, you can read to them together. Picture books work well for this.
  6. Don't be surprised if your children want to hear a favorite children's book again and again. That's fine. As they get to really know the story well, have them fill in words for you.
  7. Try to choose children's books that are above your child's reading level but at the child's interest level.
  8. Some children love reading about the same characters. If that's what your child likes, choose several short books in a series or a longer chapter book. Reading a chapter a night works well.
  9. Vary the subject matter of what you read as well as the type. In addition to fiction, you might also read poetry, magazine articles and non-fiction.
  10. Try to find children's books that match your child's interests. Get suggestions from the children's librarian at your school or public library. Check with a bookseller at your favorite bookstore.
  11. If your children are several years apart you will need to read to them individually as they get older to ensure that each children's book you choose is at the appropriate reading and interest level for each child.
  12. As your child gets older and gains in reading ability, occasionally pick a book right at her reading level and take turns reading to one another.


  1. When reading a chapter of a children's book each night, always review what happened in the previous night's chapter before starting a new chapter.
  2. When you begin reading aloud to a baby, you will only be able to keep your baby's attention for a few minutes. That's to be expected.
  3. As children mature, so do their attention spans.

What You Need

  • children's books
  • time
  • enthusiasm
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