Skip to main content

Getting Parents Excited About Reading With Their Children

If you love reading like I do, you understand how rewarding it can be. Reading by yourself, reading to others, and being read to can all be exciting and fun--if done correctly. Giving your children a love for reading is giving them advantage in all other areas of learning. However, there is more to reading to your children than just saying the words. I put together a newsletter for parents based on research to encourage them to read to their children. It explains the benefits of doing so, as well as how exactly they should be reading to their children. I truly believe that starting to read to your children as early as infancy gives them a head start at learning to read and write, and it also gives them many advantages when they get to school.

Why should I read to my child? Isn’t that their teacher’s job? 

  • Learning to read begins before the child enters school. Waiting until they start school is too late.
  • The foundations of learning to read are set up by age one. By this time, they will have learned all the sounds that make up their native language. They learn these things by hearing talking, songs, and the rhythms and repetitions of rhymes and stories.
  • Reading aloud to children early helps develop their speaking skills.
  • Reading to children and talking about what we are reading helps to sharpen their brains.
  • Words are essential to building connections in the brain. The more language a child experiences, the better off they will be socially and educationally.
  • Television talks to children, but does not give children a chance to engage in conversation, which is essential to learning.
  • Time spent reading together is quality bonding time between parents and their children.
  • Reading books together provides opportunities for private language and inside jokes.
  • Reading to an infant is lulling and soothes them.
  • Reading to a child helps develop their patience and listening skills.
  • This is the best way to create a love and appreciation for reading as the child grows older.
  • You can take a book anywhere: doctors’ offices, car rides, etc.
  • Children will begin to use the vocabulary from the stories in their own everyday language (speaking and writing).
  • Children who have a love for stories, have a better attitude towards learning to read.
  • Babies who watch how parents read, learn the subtleties and nuances of reading earlier.
  • Research shows that if children have eight nursery rhymes memorized by the time they are four years old, then when they are eight years old they are typically one of the best readers in their class.
  • Books are a portal to other parts of the world.
  • The more children read or are read to, then the more knowledge they will have.
  • Descriptive books without pictures, such as fairy tales, allow children to expand their imaginations. 

But how do I read to my child?  I don’t have any experience.

  • Best time to start reading is the day your child is born. If your child is already older, you can start right away.
  • Create a ritual. Read in the same comfy place at the same time every night. Children feel comforted by predictability and routines. You can also read anytime in addition to your ritual time.
  • Ideally, read three books a day. Choose one favorite, one familiar, and one new book.
  • Repeating children’s favorite stories help diminish the scariness of books.
  • The more you read a book to a child, the more confident they will be in knowing how to correctly read the story.
  • Find reading opportunities throughout the day. Look for signs, cereal boxes, magazines, etc. Just be sure to engage the child in conversation about what they are reading.
  • Play spontaneous games while reading (i.e. finding rhyming words, rearranging letters in words, etc.).
  • Be very expressive and enthusiastic while reading. Change the tone of your voice for different characters, and take dramatic pauses.
  • Make sure to never read a book in a patronizing voice. You should not talk down to children.
  • Make the first line of the book the most exciting to capture the child’s attention.
  • It is very important to perfect the last line of the book (even practice it beforehand). Badly read endings can ruin the whole book.
  • Use a slow voice in the darkest moments in the book.
  • Use a fast voice for exciting and dramatic moments in the book.
  • Use a low voice for scary parts in the book.
  • Use pauses for dramatic mood shifts in the book.
  • If a child is stuck on a certain word, then tell them what the word is so the meaning of the overall sentence is not lost.
  • It is important to have fathers (or another male role model) read to the children as well.

Ok, so what should I read to my child?

Ages 0-2:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By: Eric Carle
Press Here By: Herve Tullet
Love You Forever By:Robert N. Munsch
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What… By: Bill Martin Jr.

Ages 3-5:

Green Eggs and Ham By: Dr. Seuss
The Rainbow Fish By: Marcus Pfister Herbert
Where the Wild Things Are By: Maurice Sendak
Harold and the Purple Crayon By: Crockett Johnson

Ages 6-8:

The Giving Tree By: Shel Silverstein
Magic Tree House Series By: Mary Pope Osborne
Frog and Toad Series By:Arnold Lobel
Junie B. Jones Series By: Barbara Park

Ages 9-12:

Harry Potter Series By: J.K. Rowling
The City of Ember By: Jeanne DuPrau
Island of the Blue Dolphins By: Scott O’Dell
The Tale of Despereaux By: Katie DiCamillo

Where can I find additional resources? 

Fox, M. (2008). Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt .
Graves, M.F. (2011). Teaching Reading in the 21st Century (5th ed.). Columbus: Pearson Education.

Hear examples of reading aloud:

See the actual newsletter:

**Disclaimer: Feel free to use parts of my newsletter, but give credit back to me as a resource.**

Popular posts from this blog

El Deafo | Cece Bell

And being different? That turned out to the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing. Our differences are our superpowers.”
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel/Memoir. Number of Pages: 233. Perspective: First. Location: Virginia.
This graphic novel follows the author throughout her time as a young girl in the 1970s and her experiences losing her hearing from meningitis at the age of four. She learns how to make friends and accept herself. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This was a beautiful story about someone who copes with becoming deaf. I took an American Sign Language course in college and we talked a lot about the deaf culture; it was interesting to learn about some of the daily challenges that someone who is deaf faces. This book explains those challenges in a way that children can understand and relate to. We have come a long way with accessibility since the 70s, but we all could use …

5 Reasons Why I Hate Book Series

Many of you know that I hate book series. If at all possible, I try to stick to stand-alone novels. A few rare trilogies land on my bookshelf and an even rarer few get a good review. Here are my reasons why I hate trilogies: 

1. The first book is perfected.

Authors have an unlimited amount of time to perfect the first book. They may have many rewrites and rejections before it is finally accepted by a publisher. By that point, the book should be pristine. The author may not have a deal with the publisher for a series yet, but once the first book proves its worth, the publisher will definitely ask for the rest of the series. Depending on the popularity, the author will be forced to get the next books out quickly—unless you are George R.R. Martin. There will be less time to perfect the story and it will be sent out without many rewrites, as to appease the fan-base. As a result, the rest of the series suffers in comparison to the debut. 
2. The waiting is torture. 

Part of the reason why the …

Hex | Thomas Olde Heuvelt

“Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves."
Genre: Horror. Number of Pages: 384. Perspective: Third. Location: New York.
Hex is the story of a town that is cursed by a witch with her eyes and mouth sewn shut. She shows up in houses and just stands and stares for days at a time. The people of the town can never leave and are plagued by the fear of what would happen if the witch’s eyes and mouth are ever opened. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This book started off kind of funny and light-hearted. The middle starts to get a little creepy and suspenseful, and the end is downright strange. It was an enjoyable book, but you’ll have to wait a long time for the climax. The bulk of the action happens in the last 50 pages. For me, that felt rushed and left me with more questions than answers. 
Hex was originally written in Dutch and translated to English. With that in mind, I am utterly impressed with the flow and readability of the story. Th…

Ten Things Writers Need to Know

This is a guest post by Heather Weidner. I was asked recently what advice I would give to someone who wants to write. Here’s my list…
1. Read. Read. Read. 

Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about the genre. Learn about techniques and style. See what works and what doesn't.

2. Seek out writers like you. 

Find a writers' group. I write mysteries, so Sisters in Crime was a perfect fit. I am also in the online community, Guppies. They have tons of resources and advice. And they are so supportive and helpful. 
3. There are a lot of books out there on the craft of writing. 
My favorite is Stephen King's On Writing. Invest in books that help you. But use your library too. FREE is good.

4. If you are serious about writing, find a critique group. 
It's an investment in your time to read the submissions. Make sure that the feedback is helpful. Critiques need to be constructive and not personal. My critique group specializes in mysteries and crime fiction. And that works fo…

5 Things I Would Have Done Differently Before Self-Publishing

This is a guest post by Mark Benjamin. 
About three-quarters into 2015, I decided to self-publish. My novel was stuck in that phase of completed / nearly done, and I had been agent shopping for three years prior, and the brief thought (if at all) of self-publishing had been pushed out of my mind by the traditional method. That is, until my wife, Lucy, sent me the Amazon Kindle Publishing link. At the end of May 2016, my debut novel, A CHANGE OF HEART, Book One of The Royal Blood Chronicles, was released, an urban fantasy novel bringing back vampires from whence I first found them, cue in Lestat and Louis. There was a lot to learn throughout the entire self-publishing process; emotions ranging from doubt to hope, anxiety to determination, fear to belief. I would like to share my experiences, then and now, and how I would have done things differently.

1. Just Do It
Those three words are the beginning and end of it all. The story hit me and I ran with it. I could have waited until I thought …

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required