So if you are thinking about volunteering to read to one of our classrooms of excited students (and we really wish you would!) – or you have children or grandchildren of your own at home – here are some tips to help you engage your audience and share your love of reading:
1. Read the Book to Yourself First. This helps you connect to the cadence the author created and allows you to get comfortable with the book. It helps you screen for age appropriateness and lets you become familiar with the material. This helps you with tip number 2…
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Fun Voices! Who likes hearing a story read by someone who is not engaged or enthusiastic? Read with expression and change up the voices to match those in the book. One of the most popular new books for young children is The Book Without Pictures (B.J. Novak) – because it requires the reader to use funny words and read in silly ways. (Using props is another way to bring the reluctant listener into the story.)
3. Re-read a good book, again and again. Children like and learn from repetition. If you get too bored repeating the story – ask them to tell you what comes next or to read you part of the story.
4. Don’t Hesitate to Read to Older Children. Children usually listen on a higher level than they read. The story complexity may need to change as a child gets older, but the closeness you develop with your and the lesson of the excitement of reading will stay with them a lifetime.
5. Have Fun! Connect with your audience. Ask the child questions about how he or she relates to the story. Ask them to share their favorite character or part of the book. The main goal of reading should be to connect with your audience and share the love of literacy!
Here are more tips on reading with your child from the folks at Dr. Seuss:
To learn more about KidsRead USA – go to: www.kidsreadusa.org
- Patty Gannon, KidsRead USA Board member