Read Aloud Tips for Parents with Preschoolers

Preschoolers are eager to learn about everything! As your child’s vocabulary and attention span grow, here are some tips for continuing to enjoy books together:

  • Hearing books read aloud to a group is wonderful, but be sure to keep your special reading routines even when your child starts preschool. Reading together at home lets your child choose books he likes. They will also enjoy an individualized, cozy experience with a special adult.
  • While toddlers love to hear the same books over and over again, many preschoolers are ready to branch out a bit. Offer variety of reading choices. At the library, hunt for titles about a topic your child loves. Or, look for books related to recent or upcoming experiences or the current season.
  • To spark excitement about reading, connect books children like to other books. If your child loves Gideon and Otto by Olivier Dunrea, check the library for others in the same series. Explain how authors and illustrators each help make a book. Search for other books by authors and illustrators your child enjoys.
  • While toddlers often make the same comments again and again, many preschoolers begin to offer original thoughts about books. Keep the conversation going with your preschooler. He may take awhile to formulate questions and ideas. Try to be patient and leave space for him to talk.
  • To build your child’s vocabularytalk about what some unfamiliar words mean. For instance, she will appreciate Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood a lot more if you tell her that being “pesky” means “bugging someone a lot” and ask her why she thinks the author chose that title.
  • To build interest in written language, point out some words and letters in books. Sometimes, move your finger under the words as you read or point to each word. Also, read rhyming books to help your child listen for sounds in words. This is an important skill for learning to read. Point out the enlarged color words or let your child chime in with the rhymes in a book like Karma Wilson’s Bear Sees Colors.

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

American Academy of Pediatrics Books Build Connections Toolkit

Reading Aloud to Children: Helpful Hints

Making the Most of Reading Aloud: Practical Strategies for Young Children

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