Reading to your preschoolers at home is just as important as reading to your school-age children. It introduces them to vocabulary and situations that they wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. Plus, your preschooler will view reading as a positive experience that she shares with her parents. When reading with your young child, using some helpful strategies can give your story time an even bigger educational boost.
- Look at the book together, and ask your child what she thinks it will be about. Do this even if you have read the book many times before to see what she remembers.
- Do a picture walk. Look through the book together page by page, and talk about the illustrations.
- Search for particular letters or sight words. As you do your picture walk, ask your child to scan the text for the letters or words he knows.
- Talk about subject matter. If the book is about two friends, talk about what it is like to have a friend and how friends should treat one another. This will ensure that she understands the message of the book and can relate to the characters.
- Read with expression. The more expressive your reading, the more interesting it is for your child. This is especially true if your child is very young.
- Talk about the pictures again. Explain how the pictures are associated with the text.
- Allow questions. If your child is interested in the story, he will likely want to comment or ask questions. Encourage his participation!
- Talk about the plot. Stop every few pages to discuss what is going on in the story. Ask your child what has happened already or what she thinks will happen next.
- Ask more questions. When you are done reading, ask your child what he liked or didn’t like about the story.
- Express your opinion. Feel free to express your own views about the story and don’t be afraid to tell her if you didn’t like it. It is important for your child to know that having her own opinion is okay. Just be prepared to explain.
- Make a different ending. Talk to your child about what it would be like if the story ended differently.
- Retell the story. Ask your child to retell the story in his own words. This will let you know how much he comprehended as you read.
Reading with your child is extremely important to her education, even if she is years away from kindergarten. The earlier you start reading together, the better the bond will be between your child and reading. While there are many strategies you can use to make your reading time more successful, the primary focus should be enjoying your time together. Using all of these strategies at once might take away from the story and the precious moments you have with your budding reader. So instead, enjoy what you are reading, and sprinkle in some of these ideas to enhance the experience and your child’s comprehension. Above all, have fun!