May 8, 2019 | Tips
Making Reading Aloud Fun
Many enthusiasts feel that reading aloud to children is their favorite time of day, but every family goes through ups and downs around reading together. Of course, focusing on making reading aloud as enjoyable as possible is well worth it — the more fun sharing books together is, the more families will do it! When you feel like your family’s reading time could use a pick-me-up, consider these simple strategies:
Bring the story to life.
Engaging reading is always more fun! A willingness to relax and be playful is usually all it takes. Show characters’ emotions with your facial expressions. Use a gruff voice for a grouchy lion or a squeaky voice for a little mouse. Try reading different parts faster or slower, and vary the volume of your voice, too. No child can resist leaning closer to hear a tantalizing whisper or a slowly drawn-out exciting part of a story. You can use hand movements or even invite children to act out what’s going on in the story. A great time to experiment with being more dramatic in your reading aloud is when re-reading family favorites. When you’re familiar with the book, it’s a lot easier to read expressively.
Have fun yourself.
Enthusiasm for books is contagious! Kids are more likely to have fun listening to books if read by someone excited to read them. One way to do this is to stock up on appealing titles. While it’s important to let children help choose the books they hear read, read aloud time is much more fun when the adult is also happy about the book choices. If you’re able, browse the library shelves sometimes while your child is busy doing something else. Look for books that make you want to read them aloud. You will likely find books that your child may overlook. Not sure where to start? Look for one of your childhood favorites, look for more titles by an author you know you’ve enjoyed, or try one of the laugh-out-loud funny titles at the link at the end of this post.
Invite kids to take part.
Read aloud is not a meant to be a one-way activity. Kids will have more fun if they are a part of the experience. Invite children to chime in with repeating lines or rhyming words. Ask them to predict what will be in the book before reading and refer back to their predictions as you read, or stop at an exciting part to guess together what will happen next. Follow children’s leads and pause when they ask a question or want to point something out on the page. For very young children, interactive books that have flaps to lift or textures to touch are great for holding their attention.
Mix it up.
Bedtime stories are a lovely tradition in many families. You may notice different energy from your child, though, if you also read at other times of day. Try a story time picnic on the floor, a quick book while dinner’s in the oven, or share a splashy tale during bath time. Bonus: Use reading to make the less fun parts of your day more fun! Fill wait time at appointments or restaurants or time on public transport with reading aloud.
For more creative ideas about making read aloud fun, check out these helpful resources:
Why We Should All Be Reading Aloud to Children, a TEDx talk by Rebecca Bellingham on the power of engaging children through reading aloud.
How to Make Reading Fun: 25 Ideas Kids Will Love from Brightly
45 Ways to Make Read Aloud the Best Part of Your Day from Childhood 101
14 Laugh-Out-Loud Picture Books for Little Kids from Brightly