For Parents

Why is Reading Aloud Important?

According to the United States Department of Education reading aloud is incredibly important. Why? It helps kids acquire information and skills they need, such as:

  • Knowledge of printed letters and words and the relationship between sound and print.
  • The meaning of many words, and curiosity about learning new words.
  • The difference between written language and everyday conversation.
  • The way authors use different writing styles to express their ideas.
  • New facts about the world in which they live.
  • The pleasure of reading.

How to Enjoy Reading Aloud

Do you have to be an actor to be great at reading aloud? Of course not! Children love hearing the voices of the people they love. Here are some tips to help you enjoy reading aloud:

1. Pick the right spot to read.

Find a spot where everyone is comfortable. Sitting in a cushy sofa will make you want to read longer than if you're perched on a hard chair.

2. Pick the right book.

Some books lend themselves to being read aloud. It may help to pick a book that you have already read and love. Pretty Please Press books are designed to be read aloud, so they are a great choice. Another source for books that are perfect for reading aloud are books selected in The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.

3. Read with expression.

Change the quality of your voice to express what's happening in the story. Lower your voice to a whisper when a suspenseful moment arises, or raise your voice during a dramatic moment. Change your voice for different characters. Watch how this will pull your child into the book and make him pay attention.

4. Take turns reading.

If the book is the right level for your child, you can sometimes take turns reading. Your child is hearing you read with expression, smooth flow and intonation, and she will start to mimic that.

5. Stop watching the clock.

Many school children these days are to taught to "read for 10 minutes" or "read for 30 minutes." Sometimes spending a little more time reading a book can help them understand the story and make it more enjoyable.

6. Make it a cliffhanger.

One great way to make your kids beg for more is to stop reading when the book gets to a crucial point. Next thing you know, your child will be saying "Please, let's read a little further."

7. Play it again, Sam.

Younger readers especially may want you to read the same books over and over again. And you should! In fact, many experts recommend reading books up to four times to help students increase vocabulary and improve comprehension.

8. Stop to ask questions.

As you're reading, stop to ask questions to see if your child comprehends the plot of the story. Ask your child, "Why do you think the character said that?" or "What do you think will happen next?"

9. Consider reading a series.

When children read a series, they become involved with the characters and their personalities, and anticipate their continued adventures. Ask your school librarian to tell you what series might be appropriate for your child.

10. The more you read aloud, the better you'll be!

If you practice reading aloud with your children every day, you will become a more spirited and expressive reader. And you will both increase your appreciation of books and reading.

Print a PDF of the "10 Steps to Enjoying Reading Aloud"