Reading Aloud to Children  
6 Tips & Strategies

For the best reading aloud to children experience, take just a few minutes to read and incorporate the following tips and strategies.  Both choosing the right books to read and learning to "let your hair down" and perform will stir a child's love for reading and leave them wanting more!

1. Choose a book you enjoy!

There have been those times we've all just pulled a book from the shelf and began reading "cold turkey." 

Trust me...if you don’t enjoy it, neither will the kids!  Your enthusiasm will show - good or bad. 

A good strategy is to begin with some of your childhood favorites!

2. Rhyme, Rhythm & First Person
Reading aloud to children 

Picture books that are written in rhyme are always fun like the Dr. Seuss books! 

The rhythm carries readers along while also offering the chance to jump in and fill in the next rhyming word.

When reading aloud to children books that are longer such as chapter books, locate ones told from a first person point of view.  This will make it seem like you are the character and telling your own story.

3. Introduce your book.

Give your audience a “heads up” of what to expect or listen for; this will help keep their attention. 

Most chapter books have a “blurb” or summary on the back. 

For picture books, I’ve challenged students to listen for the sequence of animals like in Jan Brett’s The Mitten or Lynn Cherry’s The Great Kapok Tree.

4. Become the characters

Become the characters you are reading!  Let your hair down – voices, sounds, expressions, and all! 

My library classes always begged for Mo Willem’s  Pigeon Books and Tacky the Penguin because I created a distinct voice for each character.  The animal voices in The Great Kapok Tree are fun too!

If it says the character whispered, whisper; if they shouted, then shout! Reading aloud to children in this way will keep them engaged in the story and add to their enjoyment.

5. Allow for Participation

If there is a repetitive line in the book, allow the children to say it.  For instance, in Robert Munsch’s Stephanie’s Ponytail the lines – “Ugly, ugly, very ugly!” and “It’s my ponytail, and I like it!” are repeated over and over.  I usually got the boys to repeat the first line and the girls the second!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything can incorporate motions with each action of the objects she sees and sounds given such as “clomp clomp”  for the shoes and “clap clap” for the gloves, etc.

6. Leave them Wanting more!

Whether it's a picture book or chapter book you're reading aloud to children, find a stopping point to make them want to come back and hear more.

Chapter books normally take longer than a single read aloud session.  Find a place to leave off that leaves your audience hanging and wanting more!  This is a great time to get kids to use their imagination by asking them, “What do you think is about to happen?!”

Reading aloud to children is meant to bring enjoyment and model the enjoyment of reading.  Make the most of the time to instill a love of reading that goes far beyond the moment and lasts a lifetime!

More reading aloud to children strategies