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Reading aloud to my son is a sacred time within our household. I usually read before nap and bed time. It seems to create a serene atmosphere before rest. Then there are times when reading makes us animated! These types of stories may include characters experiencing adventures where they are running, jumping or kicking and on their way to solve a big problem!
My goal is to read so my son feels like he is in the story. I have learned that there is an art to reading aloud. Below is what I have found…
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Pick Books that Interest Them (or you think would interest them)
I try to pick books that my son can relate to or find interesting. I gravitate toward books with characters that look like him. Also books about cars, racing, sports, nature, animals, numbers, alphabet, and space spark his curiosity. Interacting and observing him assists me in finding books he will connect to. One day, he asked me how water comes into our home. This led me to getting a book about how the home works. Try to get books that answer your child’s questions to further their understanding of a topic.
Better yet, Let Them Choose their Own Books
It is so much easier for my son to pick books out for himself. I usually take him to the library or the local book store and let him skim the book titles until he finds what he wants. Sometimes, he goes in the library knowing what he wants and is on a mission to find it. We find the books by inputting keywords in the computerized catalogue. When we sit down to read, the first book he usually chooses is the one he just found!
Voice Changes for Different Characters
Changing your voice for different characters is very entertaining for children. It can also be fun for the parent! If I am reading a male character, I will lower my tone. If I am reading a character that is a monster, then my voice gets raspy. Be creative and have fun practicing various character voices!
Emphasize Emotions and Actions
We read lots books with animal characters and I usually make their sounds or physical gestures that represent them. Also, if there is a quiet section in the book, then I lower my voice to set the mood. When there is an onomatopoeia like the word “Pop” and “Boom,” I get very loud and will hit my hand on the floor to make the sound.
Ask Kids about their Predictions
During reading time, I ask my son what he thinks will happen. This gets him engaged in the story. He also wants to know if his prediction is correct.
Listen to Audio Books
While riding in the car, my son and I will listen to audio books. The narrators are highly skilled in their changing voices and emphasizing emotions and actions. Listen to these books and you will learn a lot!
Another Bonus Tip
Here is video of a speech therapist, Adrienne, on How to Get Toddlers to Sit and Read With You. I have learned a lot from her as well!
Make reading interesting to your child and most of all, have fun with it!
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