Tips for Reading with Preschoolers

April 18, 2013

  • Snuggle with your child (and a favorite blanket or toy) as you read.
  • Read with expression, using different voices for different characters.
  • Emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories. Give your preschooler opportunities to repeat rhyming phrases.
  • Encourage your child to repeat what you say or comment on it. Encourage him to ask questions. Provide models of interesting questions and examples of possible answers: "I wonder what is going to happen next? I think the rabbit will get lost because he is not paying attention to where he is going. What do you think?"
  • Look for books that are about things that interest your preschooler. For example, does your child like cars, insects, or animals?
  • Place books in a child-accessible area (toddler-height bookcase, perhaps) and give him a chance to choose his own books for story-time. If your preschooler chooses a book that is too long to hold his attention, read some and skip some, discussing the pictures and how they relate to the story.
  • Read stories again and again. Toddlers enjoy repetition; it helps them become more familiar with the way stories are organized.
  • If your child is curious and makes comments about letters, take the opportunity to familiarize your child with the alphabet. Playing with alphabet blocks and singing "The Alphabet Song" are happy ways for your child to become acquainted with letters.
  • Make books a joyous and important part of your child's life. Read to him every day. Let him talk about the stories. Ask questions about the pictures. Ask him to point out pictured objects that are alike and different in shape and in color. This activity helps children to observe small differences in the shapes of letters and words when learning to read.
  • Children model their parents’ behaviors and routines. Set a good example as a reader – read every day at home, even if it’s just a magazine or the local newspaper.
  • Make reading fun, a time that you both look forward to spending together.

*credit National Education Association