I have been reading professionally to kids for a little over a year now. Many parents ask me what are the key things one should keep in mind while reading to the kids.
I have thought a lot about it, and I have realised that as two children are different so no tips will be useful for all the children. Still, there are some points which you can keep in mind when you read, keep the following in mind:
Selecting the book – Let your child pick a book, if you are bothered that s/he won’t be able to do so, give them a few options and let them take their pick. Keep the age of your child, their preference and their likes and dislikes in mind.
Preferably choose a nice, comfortable and quiet place to sit and read to them.
You can show the cover to the child, if they are older ask them what they think about the book. You can then tell the kids about the book you’re reading. For instance if you’re reading The Little Red Hen, tell them “The Little Red Hen finds a grain of wheat, and asks for help from the other farmyard animals to plant it. But no animal will volunteer to help her.” Then you can read the book and finally give the book to the child to explore the book. Once they are through you can ask the kids simple questions about the book.
When we read to our kids, we mostly read fiction as they are fun and more exciting. You can play with voices, actions and can add music and sound effect as well. For instance if someone is scared in the book and shrieks “Ahhhhhhh” you should use expressions, voice and shout “Ahhhhhh” as you’d do if you are really scared. Your reading speed should also be in relation to the book you read, if you read an exciting bit read it fast… if you read a bit with mystery read it slowly with a nice dose of drama. Your hands and face should also do the talking.
You can extend the story by doing an activity related to the book. You can do craft/art/field trip, the sky is the limit if you’re creative. Always be spontaneous and go with the flow when you read to your child. Don’t restrict reading to just those 10-15 minutes that you spend with the book, make reading an experience for the kids. Don’t think about what your child will achieve if you get your child into a regular habit of reading. Just read for the joy of reading and your little one will thank you for the gift of reading.
A story-teller, a Communication Trainer, a Parenting Blogger, a wife to her best friend and mum to the most adorable 2-year-old – Zoe. Falak Randerian, plays many roles, her favorite Being Zoe’s Mom. She runs story telling & communication workshop for kids My Little Chatterbox. You can read her personal blog Being Zoe’s Mom and her parenting website which she runs along with her elder sister www.momsters.in .