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Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is one of the most important things parents can do with their children. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.

In this section:


Connecting Read Alouds with Hands-On Activities

Join us for an active summer afternoon at the Ruby Tucker Family Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Kids and volunteers come together around books in this year-round reading program developed by The Reading Connection, a local literacy organization.

Personal connections and new vocabulary

Farms and farming are the themes for the day. Watch how volunteer Shakara Helaire engages the kids in active conversation about vegetables, and how an outdoor "milking station" turns into a memorable way to learn new vocabulary words like "pasteurizing."

Great Read Alouds for Kids: Babies to Grade 3

It’s a busy life filled with lots of things to do and even more distractions. But there’s one pursuit that can be fun for everyone involved, plus it has benefits that will have a lifelong impact. All that’s needed is a comfy place, an adult, one child or more, and a good book to share.
See recommended read alouds >

Tips on Reading Aloud

How Can Something as Simple as Reading to a Child Be So Effective?

We read to children for all the same reasons we talk with children: to reassure, to entertain, to bond; to inform or explain, to arouse curiosity, to inspire. But in reading aloud, we also condition the child's brain to associate reading with pleasure, create background knowledge, build vocabulary, and provide a reading role model.
See article >

Getting the Most Out of Nonfiction Reading Time

Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a "book walk" with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

Sharing Wordless Picture Books

Sharing wordless books is a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, vocabulary, comprehension and an increased awareness of how stories are structured. Here are some tips for sharing wordless picture books with a child.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

How to Read an E-Book with Your Child

Electronic books are becoming more and more commonplace. Here you'll discover practical tips for sharing e-books with your child, and how to keep the focus on reading and the story.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

Simple Yet Powerful Things to Do While Reading Aloud

To get the most out of a shared reading, encourage your child to appreciate the pictures, and also guide their attention to printed words. Doing so may help your child's reading, spelling, and comprehension skills down the road.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

The Importance of Reading Widely

Sharing lots of different kinds, or genres, of books with your child exposes him to different words, different kinds of images, and whole new worlds. This tip sheet suggests some genres to try with your young reader that complement 'traditional' fiction. Some are suggestions for read alouds, while others may be ones your child can read on his own.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

Poems at Home

Sharing poetry with kids is a great way to highlight language. Poems include humor, interesting words, tongue twisters, alliteration, and opportunities for choral reading among other important literacy concepts. This article provides guidelines for a family poetry jam — a great way to promote literacy and togetherness in your own home.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

Use a PEER When You Read Aloud

The best story times are very interactive: You are talking about and reading the story, your child is talking, and there is conversation taking place between the two of you. Read below to learn more about dialogic reading and PEER, a method to help you remember a few important ways to read in this interactive way.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

Picture This! Using Mental Imagery While Reading

One way to help a child comprehend what he is reading is to encourage him to visualize parts of the story in his mind. These "mind movies" help clarify information, increase understanding, and can include any of the five senses. Try these practices below when reading with your child.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

Reading Aloud to Build Comprehension

Children learn when they make connections between what they hear and what they know. One method parents can use to help make these connections is called a think aloud, where you talk through your thoughts as you read. Here are three ways to use think alouds, with examples from some of our favorite kids' books. Try these ideas to expand learning and to improve reading comprehension.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

Mission Critical: Reading Together to Build Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking, the ability to think deeply about a topic or a book, is an essential skill for children to develop. Here are some helpful tips and recommended books to strengthen your child's ability to think critically.
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Download PDF: English | Spanish

When English Is Not the Home Language

Reading Tip Sheets for Parents

Our one-page parent tips offer easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers. Although we've divided these tips by age, many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages — we encourage you to choose the ones that work best for your child. We have tip sheets for parents of preschoolers, kindergarteners, first graders, second graders, and third graders.

Available in English and 10 other languages: Spanish, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Korean, Navajo, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

See tip sheets >

Why Reading to Your Kids in Your Home Language Will Help Them Become Better Readers

As a parent, you may be wondering whether you should be reading to your children in Spanish or English. This article provides suggestions of ways that you can help your child develop his or her literacy skills in your family's native language and explains the research behind the recommendations.
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Celebrate Reading in Two Languages: An English/Spanish Bilingual Booklist

Some of the books on this list are bilingual, meaning that you will find both English and Spanish within the same book. Other titles are originally in English, and have a Spanish translation available. The links to Amazon.com provide more information about each book.
See booklist >

More great literacy resources for parents from Reading Rockets

Read Aloud Tips

Read Aloud Tips

Read aloud every day with your child and talk about what you're reading. These two simple activities help build your child's vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Get tips (In English and 10 other languages) >

Downloadables

Downloadables

Download these colorful ready-to-print lunch box notes, play date cards, and door hangers for the kids in your life.

Download and print >