Reading to a Child: How to Get the Most Out of a Book

Reading to a Child: How to Get the Most Out of a Book

Reading to your child is beneficial for the child in numerous ways, and it’s just as rewarding for parents and grandparents.
Reading to your child is beneficial for the child in countless ways, and it's just as rewarding for parents and grandparents.

However, there’s more to reading than just pronouncing the words out loud. I was reminded of this not long ago in the waiting area at an optical shop. I was sitting near a young mother and her preschool child. The child was getting restless and found the one-and-only children’s book in the magazine rack.

The mother reluctantly read the book, using no emotion whatsoever in her reading. Finished the book. Done. Now put it back where you got it! At that point, there was nothing left for the child but to whine and be restless and irritable, which further irritated the mother.

I was glad that I was appearing to be engrossed in my own book, which I was holding so that the mother couldn’t see the sad expression on my face. I wanted to ask the child to bring the book to me so that I could model for the mother “how to get the most out of a book,” but of course I was neither brazen nor rude enough to do that.

Here’s what I would have done. This is how to read a book to a child:

  • Approach the book with an attitude of anticipation, wonder, and delight.
  • As you begin to read, the child should hear that same attitude in the tone of your voice.
  • As you continue to read, your voice should show the mood of the book, whether happy, sad, funny, scary, sleepy, outrageous, or whatever else.
  • If a character in the book is speaking, change your voice. Be an actor! Change your voice to sound like the mother, the daddy, the grandma or grandpa, Aunt Georgiana, the bear, the bird, or the crocodile!
  • Finish the book with the appropriate mood and voice.

But that’s not all, folks. There’s more to a book than reading the words, especially when you and your child are bored in a waiting room with only one book to serve as your entertainment. Here’s how to get the most out of a book:

  • Reading to your child is beneficial for the child in countless ways, and it's just as rewarding for parents and grandparents.Don’t let the child lose interest at the end. Immediately ask a question about the book that you know your child can answer, for example:
  • Children love to point. Ask the child, “Can you point to something red on this page?”
  • Go through the colors and the pages. Point to something blue, green, purple, etc.
  • Point to shapes. Point to something round, square, triangle, and rectangle.
  • Point to something big, small, tall, short, pretty, ugly, sticky, shiny, sparkly, yucky, or delicious.
  • Use pointing to check your child’s comprehension of the story. Point to the girl who ate the porridge. Point to the chair that was too big. Point to the bed that was too soft. Point to the bed that was just right.
  • Point to something that says moo. Point to something that says meow, bow-wow, hee-haw, gobble-gobble, ribbit-ribbit, grrrrrrr, tweet-tweet, chirp-chirp, and cock-a-doodle-do.
  • Even older children will enjoy pointing exercises on their level. One of my children’s favorites was Ralph’s Secret Weapon by Steven Kellogg. Point to the bassoon. Point to the maestro. Point to Ralph’s aunt. Point to Ralph’s secret weapon! (Does the child understand that the secret weapon is the cake?)
  • When reading a Bible story, check your child’s understanding of the spiritual truth being taught. Read the same stories many times. Use different comprehension-check words at different times. If reading about Cain and Abel, point to the young man who brought an offering that did not please God. Point to the young man who brought an offering that pleased God. Point to the one who did what God said. Point to the one who did not obey. Point to the one who obeyed. Point to the offering that was right. Point to the offering that was wrong. Point to the son who did the right thing. Point to the son who did the wrong thing.
  • Let a child with verbal skills tell you what to point to! They love to do this.Reading to your child is beneficial for the child in numerous ways, and it's just as rewarding for parents and grandparents.
  • Instead of pointing, ask questions. Did Ralph really want to take bassoon lessons? Why is the cake green? What did Ralph like most at Aunt Georgiana’s house?
  • Ask questions that tell you what the child is feeling or thinking. Would you like to take bassoon lessons? How do you make a cake green? What would you like to do at Aunt Georgiana’s house? Do you like to visit your aunt? Is there anything special that you do at your aunt’s house that you don’t do at your house? Why is that?

The enjoyment of a book is as wide as your own imagination. Show this to the child you’re reading to. Allow a good book to unlock and broaden the child’s imagination. It’s fun. It prepares children to learn how to read. It’s rewarding! It develops creativity! It builds character! It makes memories! It models for children that the world of books is vast and limitless! It creates lifelong readers and learners!

And if you’re stuck in a waiting room with a tired child and nothing but one book for entertainment, you will know how to get the maximum enjoyment–for you and the child–out of that one little book!

Me, reading to my grandsons, getting the most out of a favorite Berenstain Bears book.

The image below is sized for Pinterest. Please share on your Pinterest boards.
Reading to your child is beneficial for the child in numerous ways, and it's just as rewarding for parents and grandparents.

Reading to your child is beneficial for the child in numerous ways, and it's just as rewarding for parents and grandparents.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I am a mother of 3 kids between the ages 5-7. I’m so very glad that I found this to confirm what I’m already doing with my children is correct but also showed me with some guidance as to how to get my children more involved and excited over even the shortest book.

    • I’m glad that the article confirmed what you’re doing with your children. Thank you very much for taking the time to leave this comment. And keep reading to your kids!

  2. Yes, right !! Reading to our kids is amazing, and we can make a great difference for them. Im very glad to read your amazing articles. Thank you very much for sharing all these with us. Ive been also learning lots of valuable lessons and things through reading. Among them, Love is # 1.

Speak Your Mind

*

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
%d bloggers like this: