4 Choices That Make or Break Your Read Aloud TimeLisa Trombley
Reading aloud to children of all ages is beneficial for developing vocabulary and writing skills. But besides the educational benefits, read aloud time can be a comforting time of day to bring the entire family together. Here are four tips to make your read aloud time enjoyable.
Choose a Great Book
Choose a book that is suitable for the ages of your children, interesting to your family, and also a good quality story. Make sure it is a book that you, the reader, are interested in as well. There is nothing worse than listening to book read in a bored tone! Your enthusiasm for the book will be contagious, and so will your apathy.
Start with books that have short chapters, and as the children grow, you can read books that are longer. I like to choose books to go along with what we are learning in school. For example The Mystery of History has lists of suggested supplemental books for younger, middle, and older students for each lesson. You can look through the lists and choose a book on one of the topics every few weeks. It’s a great way to make history come alive!
Choose a Key Time
Once you have a book ready, choose what time of day you will read aloud and then consistently read during that time each day. Choose a time of day when there will not be a lot of distractions. Reading when children are tired and cranky is not fun, so make sure you do not read too early in the morning, right before nap time, or too late at night. If you are stressed or worrying about unfinished chores, you will not enjoy reading aloud either, so make sure important tasks are taken care of so you can relax into the story.
Choose a Comfy Spot
Make sure everyone is comfortable. This means different things for different people. Some children may be cozy lying on the floor in a nest of pillows and blankets. Others want to be snuggled up on the couch or all piled into a king size bed. My favorite read aloud spot is my bean bag chair.
Signaling for everyone to get comfortable is a great way to transition from a hectic pace of life into a calmer reading time. Give each child time to settle into his or her preferred position with whatever props are needed. If you like to have snacks or beverages while you read aloud, prepare those during this time too.
Choose an Activity for Busy Hands
It can be torture to a young children to sit perfectly still and listen to a story, even one that they are interested in. I have discovered that when children are able to keep their hands busy with a quiet activity, they are better listeners. Young children can color or draw. Older children may enjoy knitting, crocheting, weaving, or sewing. They may build with LEGOs if they can do it quietly. Keep a basket of quiet reading time activities close by to bring out every day at read aloud time and even the most wiggly child will be ready to sit and listen.