It’s easy to focus on how important reading to children is. Reading to children is undoubtedly of immense importance to their reading life, as it provides them with opportunities to develop essential pre-reading skills, as well as models for fluent reading of a text. But, what can be forgotten in the rush to explain how important reading is, is how fun reading to children can be as well. It is a fine and simple art. But, if we ourselves have never been read to, or, it’s been a very long time since someone read to us, it can seem trickier than it needs to be.
What you need to do when reading to children:
Kids are book experts, and can be very particular about what book they would like to read. Having some great books on hand helps though. See the link to the reading lists at the end of the article for some book ideas.
There’s no sense in being uncomfortable! Make reading as enjoyable as possible.
Point out the parts of the book that make it a book. Show the child the spine, the pages, point out the cover, is there a picture? Look at the front pages of the book, where you find the book information. This teaches children important book-handling skills, and where to find the information about the book’s publication, which comes in handy if they really like the book and would like to read more by the same author.
Let the story take you and your listener(s) on a trip without even leaving the house. And the two necessary means of taking this trip? Your eyes and your voice.
Kids can tell when parents or teachers are bored. And they can especially tell when they are bored with a story. It certainly shows in the voice, but just as importantly, it shows in the eyes. Keep your eyes smiling, so to speak, and it will come through in the voice as well.
Make your voice as expressive as possible. The more you get into the book, the more your listeners will get out of it. Let the words of the story tell you how you should read the words. If a character whispers, you whisper. If a character shouts, shout! If the character in the story whines, put on your best whine, even if you are opposed to whining. Volume, pitch and speed are your friends and offer great variety for your reading style. Depending on the text, you could read loud or soft, in a high voice or a low one, and either fast or slow. There are many ways in which to vary your voice while reading. Let the story tell you what to do.
Even if you’ve read the book more times than you’d like to count, make the reading of the book enjoyable, for you and for your listeners. Let your enjoyment show in the posture of your body, the enthusiasm in your voice and the joy in your eyes.
Reading to children helps them learn how to read, but also, and very importantly, it reminds them (as well as ourselves), that reading can be fun. Reading should not be just a chore that children need to tick-off a chart, but can be a wonderful way to spend time alone or with others.
Reading Eggs is committed to the enjoyment of reading, knowing that the more enjoyable an activity is, the more likely it is that children will want to engage in it. ABC Reading Eggs knows what parents reading to their children know: that the more fun it is to read, the more that children will want to read.
Reading Eggs embeds instruction in game-like activities. By participating in these activities, children learn key reading skills, such as phonemic and phonics awareness, gain fluency in reading, enlarge their vocabulary, and gain greater text comprehension. And when children take part in the activities and complete them, they are rewarded with a variety of prizes, such as Golden Eggs, which are deposited into Eggy Banks. At the completion of each lesson (made up of a number of parts) Reading Eggs rewards students with a three-dimensional, unique, animated critter that hatches out of an egg. Students are then able to collect not only the Golden Eggs, but a host of animated critters as well.
Reading Eggs is committed to teaching children how to read and encourages parental involvement. Parental involvement improves student learning outcomes and achievement. Reading Eggs provides continual feedback to parents about their child’s progress, which makes it easy for parents to be involved.
Students in my class LOVE Reading Eggs! Several families have actually purchased the program for home use! I’ve found it particularly useful for reinforcing/revising work taught in an explicit teaching situation.
- Maureen Cook, Wilsonton State School
This program is great. My 5-year-old was struggling with learning to read at school. After a couple of weeks on this program, I can see her progress. With her school readers she was memorizing the words, however, with Reading eggs she is actually learning letter/sound combinations and the experience is fun…Learning is fun! Two mornings ago we read four of your little books in bed. It used to be a struggle to read one of her school readers. Thanks again.