Children love to hear stories and to have books read to them. Reading to a child opens their imagination to all sorts of possibilities. Not only does it set their imagination soaring, but it also builds their vocabulary, gives them new understanding to things outside their little world, and gives them the foundation of how reading and writing works. Reading to your child for even just 15 or 20 minutes per day will encourage success years down the road. Here are some tips for making your reading time at home more effective.

Before You Read

Picking out a something to read should be fun. Find something that coincides with your child’s interests. Young children have limited attention spans, so picking out something they enjoy is important. Once you have found the perfect book, look at the cover and tell your child the title and the author. Ask your child about the pictures on the cover and what he/she thinks the book might be about based on the title and the cover picture.

As You Read

Use animation in your voice as you read to your child. This will help the story and the characters come to life. Each time you turn the page have your child look at the pictures and predict what might happen. After you read the page, ask questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?” or “How do you think (character’s name) with solve their problem?” Also ask questions that may pertain to their own experiences such as, “Remember when we went to (the pumpkin patch, the beach, the park, etc.).” or “You have a toy just like the one in the picture.” This will help them connect their own life to the story.

After You Read

Finishing the last page of the story doesn’t mean story time is over. Now is the time to ask comprehension questions such as, “What happen in the beginning, middle, and end of the story?” “What was the problem in the story?” “How was the problem solved?” “What is the big idea of the story?” These questions will help your child understand the story deeper. Another great question to ask is, “If you were the author, how might you change the ending?” This will help their critical thinking skills and move past the basic text of the story.

By adding these tips into your reading time, it will help your child understand the story and grow their early reading skills. Remember, reading to your child should always be fun. It is a way to build a strong bond between parent and child that will last a lifetime.