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Read Aloud Tips for Parents with Kindergarteners

| Tips

The start of Kindergarten is an exciting step for children and families. Here are some tips for continued success with reading aloud at home as your child enters formal schooling:

  • First of all, even though your child is busy reading and learning at school all day, having a special adult read aloud at home is a different and important way to enjoy books. Keep reading aloud even when your child starts Kindergarten!
  • Offer a variety of reading material that both reflects and expands your child’s world. Depending on the day, a Kindergartner might enjoy hearing anything from a longtime favorite toddler book to an easy chapter book. Stories, informational books, poetry, and kids’ magazines are all good options. Help your child pursue her interests and seek answers to her questions in books (they are the original Google, after all!)
  • Emphasize making meaning as the ultimate goal of reading. As the books you read become more complex, stop often to check for understanding. For instance, after reading a few pages of Chris Van Dusen’s The Circus Ship, pause and ask: “Okay, so what’s happened so far?” Give examples of how both the pictures and words can help readers understand a book. Building good comprehension habits is especially important as your child begins learning to read.
  • Explore others’ experiences through books together. Ask your child open ended questions about characters’ choices and feelings. If you read Michelle Knudsen’s Library Lion, you might ask, “Why do you think the lion wants to go to story time?” or “How do you think the Story Lady felt when she looked up and saw a lion in the library?” Ask your child to explain his thinking by referring to the illustrations, words, or his own experiences.
  • Encourage your child to notice more about written language as she seems ready. Sometimes, talk about the letters and words in books. Explain how you read some words by saying the sounds of the letters or using other clues. You might suggest your child go back to some favorite board books to try reading aloud easy and familiar text to a younger sibling, or even a pet or stuffed animal. Ask your child’s teacher how you can reinforce what your child is learning about reading in school at home.

To learn more about reading with your Kindergartner, check out these resources:

American Academy of Pediatrics Books Build Connections Toolkit

Getting the Most Out of Nonfiction Reading Time

Five Easy Skills to Teach Your Kids During Read Alouds