10 Things Parents Learned About Effective Ways to Read to their Children

When attending Raising Readers in Story County parent education classes, many parents have been surprised to learn that effective reading isn’t asking children to just sit quietly and listen.  These were some techniques they practiced.

  • Ask children to take a “walk” through the book, examining the illustrations to predict what the story would be about.
  • Ask children to make predictions as to what would happen next in the story.
  • Ask children questions such as, “What season do you think it is in the story?” “If you were that boy/girl, how would you feel or what would you do?”
  • Ask children to take turns and share. Frequently, they were directed to talk with the person sitting next to them so everyone had an opportunity to talk. This works in a family setting too.
  • Ask children to echo repeated phrases in the stories.

Parents participating in classes also reported on their new reading behaviors at home.

  • “I was relieved to learn that my toddler didn’t always need to be sitting next to me or in my lap when I was reading. Playing with a favorite toy is okay because he will still hear the language.”
  • A father learned that his infant was more attentive when he read the story in a singsong manner, like he had observed his wife doing.
  • A couple reported, “We learned to engage our child more on the text, especially when it’s a familiar story. We have her complete the sentences when she really has the story internalized.”
  • “My child loves to participate with me in making animal sounds and exaggerating exclamations or questions!”
  • “Reading to my child isn’t just for bedtime now. We sometimes read during breakfast and the afternoon snack.”