Tips for Reading to Small Children

A Few Minutes at a Time is OK.  And don’t worry if you don’t finish the story.

Young children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow, they will be able to sit longer.  You may find that your child has a favorite page or even a favorite picture.  She may want to linger there for a while, and then switch books or activities.  Babies may just want to mouth the book!  That’s okay.  When you let your child explore books in the ways that interest her, the reading experience will be more meaningful.

Talk or Sing About the Pictures
You do not have to read the words to tell a story.  Try “reading” the pictures in a book for your child sometime.  When your child is old enough, ask him to read the pictures to you!

Let Children Turn the Pages
Babies cannot yet turn pages on their own, but an 18-month-old will want to give it a try, and a three-year-old can certainly do it alone. Remember, it’s OK to skip pages!

Show Children the Cover Page
Explain what the story is about. If you have an older toddler, ask them to guess what the story might be about.

Show Children the Words
Run your finger along the words as you read them, from left to right.

Make the Story Come Alive
Create voices for the story characters and use your body to tell the story.

Make It Personal
Talk about your own family, pets, or community when you are reading about others in a story.

Ask Questions About the Story, and Let Children Ask Questions Too!
Use the story to have a back-and-forth conversation with your child.  Talk about familiar activities and objects you see in the illustrations or read about in the story.

Let Children Tell The Story
Children as young as three years old can memorize a story, and many children love to be creative through storytelling.
For even more information check outzerotothree.org!

embedded moles reading Tips for Reading to Small Children