5 Tips to Maximize Your Read-Alouds
We all know that reading aloud to your child is important. It builds vocabulary and reading comprehension and it helps with memory. There is no wrong way to read-aloud as long as you’re emphatic while reading, but there are ways to make the gains from reading aloud even greater. Here are 5 tips to maximize your read-alouds!
1. Use your finger to track the words as you read them. Tracking helps children understand that English as a written language is read from left to right. It also helps children identify the look and sound of the words in the text.
2. Ask your child questions about the text. For younger children, these questions should relate to the who, what, when, where and how of the text. Ask your older children for their opinions of the text or the character’s actions, if they see any real world connections to the text and if they can correctly identify the story’s sequence of events.
3. Use a variety of texts. Parents typically read picture books to their kids, but kids have the capacity for stories with fewer pictures, rhyming books and non-fiction texts. The variety expands vocabulary, introduces children to new concepts in prose and broadens the child’s world knowledge.
4. Use Echo Reading. Read a couple of sentences or a page of a book, then ask your child to repeat what you just read. This helps children to master the fluency and rate of reading. If your child is older, ask your child to repeat the section you read with the same tone, pitch and inflection that you had. Your voice conveys a lot of meaning when you read aloud. It can exhibit whether a character is tired, sad, rushed, happy, worried, etc. The “echo” can help children identify and understand the verbal cues of these emotions as well.
5. Engage their prior knowledge and predictive skills with a book walkthrough. Activating prior knowledge is an important part of understanding new material. Most of what we learn starts with the foundation of what we already know. Before you begin reading, examine the front and back covers of the book. Go over the title of the book with your child. Ask your child to identify what the text is about based on the cover and title. Ask your child questions about the topic covered in the book, like what they know about it or their experiences with it. Then ask your child what they think will happen based on what they already know.