Read Aloud with Children

5 May

Recently I have been working with my son on reading aloud, because his reading test at school shows his reading speed is below average. I am not too concerned about his reading speed, since I know he can read fast when he doesn’t have to read aloud. But I do want to work with him on reading aloud as a way to improve his self-expression and story telling skills.

To do a good job in reading aloud, kids have to learn to coordinate multiple tasks into a smooth process: “read by eyes”, “process information by brain”, and “read out aloud”. My son is good at each single task, but is not so good at putting all tasks together.

What I have been doing is to find short stories for us to read to each other. One book my son has enjoyed is the FREE Aesop for Children from Libray of Congress. They are short and all are good stories. We will each read 1 or 2 stories. Because they are short, I can find time to ask him read the words that he did not pronounce clearly again.

Another thing I just started doing is to listen to professional read children’s books together. One good resource I found is Caldecott Literature Series from New Hampshire Public Television. It has many prefessional read children’s books. While watching the videos, I asked my son to pay attention to the rhythm and intonation, and try to mimic how others reading the book. I try to point out the importance of pause – where and how long do you pause for a comma or a period.

Do you have to work with your child on reading aloud? What would you suggest to use for a school age child? Any tips you would like to share?

295 Responses to “Read Aloud with Children”

  1. elixirmime January 3, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    Dr. Seuss rocks in my book. His last story “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is considered one of the best business and children’s books. He wrote his books to get reluctant readers involved. We did a mime skit of it and it worked well.

  2. thepreschoolmentor January 7, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    Thank you for visiting and liking my post “Have you Filled a Bucked Today.” Enjoyed looking around your blog. Very nice.

  3. chromaggia13 January 8, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    I think it’s great you’re working on his reading skills. Many parents don’t really do this, or they are only concerned with them being able to read, and not just out loud. I myself sometimes have problems reading clearly because I can get tongue-tied. We do a lot of reading aloud in English class, and people really notice when you’re able to do it well. So it’s a good skill to have and it shows you’re a good parent for being concerned about this.

    Um–I myself am not a parent, so I’m not really sure about advice. xD Aesop’s Fables are a good place to start. When I was little I enjoyed Frog and Toad. There’s plenty of dialogue and such, so it would be good reading practice, especially having him read as someone else talking. Maybe you can encourage him to read as he thinks that character would talk–does he have a sad voice, a high voice, does he talk really fast or painfully slow? This is just something that I do, but I learn a lot from listening to the way people in movies speak, especially cartoons. Perhaps a good idea would be to put on a cartoon movie (Disney in this case?) with subtitles, and have him read along (silently or aloud) as the characters speak. Cartoon characters have really expressive voices, because the actors have to put what they can’t physically act out into their voice instead, and so listening to/reading that may help him link together the rhythm, speed, and language. Have you tried acting out the books, also? I sometimes act out scenes of books to practice voices, and we do it often in English class. It would probably keep his attention and help him understand the story too. These are just ideas, but I hope they help. I’ll try to think up some better ones. ^^

    • iGameMom January 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      like the idea of read the movie subtitles. We might just try that.

    • mamawritesablog February 3, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      It is so important to surround your children with books. I personally don’t love reading because it was never a focus when I was a child. My own daughter loves it and I believe by surrounding her with fun and intriguing literature helped grow this appreciation. I had books on shelves and also in the toy boxes. We also read to her most nights.

      Thanks 🙂

    • cp March 2, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Speaking as a school librarian :), reading aloud is the single most influential factor is getting children to love reading! You are on the right track. Some other suggestions that I have seen change a struggling reader into a lover of reading novels are reading graphic novels and use of audio-books. Mem Fox is a good source on this topic, if you want to look at more

      Wishing you many wonderful moments reading with your child!.

      • amymoreorless March 22, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

        Speaking as a public children’s librarian, I agree with cp’s comments about audiobooks. I have seen parents shy away from them because they are not “real” reading. However, I have seen kids increase their reading confidence, speed, and love of stories by following along reading while listening to the audiobook.

    • smokelbg April 2, 2014 at 8:54 am #

      In order to get the success of your child it is to know how they learn not what he can learn. Is your child auditory/verbal or tactile kinesthetic? What is his style of learning? Reading aloud may not be the key. It may be what he hears and can repeat back to you. After he repeats what is said it is TIME to see if he can comprehended the information. Visit The traditional method of teacher may not work for your child. Be creative and assertive. 🙂
      NLD MOM/cancer survivor

  4. Reb January 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    THanks for the tips. One of my boys thinks pausing is a waste of time. He says can’t we just pretend there are no full stops and then we’ll get it done quicker. 🙂
    So I’ll try the listening to professionals read hint.
    Thanks again.

  5. shras789 January 18, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    Hi, I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. I like that you inspire to help children, and that you inspire adults to be more active in their children’s lives.

  6. conniecockrell January 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate it.

  7. unsaintly January 26, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    My dad used to make me read aloud to him. It takes practice but it worked! It’s important to do this with your child, so kudos to you for implementing it. Have them practice reading small sections aloud at a time. Be encouraging and just remind them to read aloud like you would talk to someone.

  8. Iam Danger January 26, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    My son wanted to read a book that was slightly above his level ( Percy Jackson) and I alternated reading chapters with him: was fun, helped him not be self.conscious got him going…

  9. elisabetta January 28, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Reading for kids is so important! My parents always did for me, and I’m so thankful! It’s a good exemple, quality time and learning all together. Thank you for vising and liking my post!

  10. baileyshenanigans January 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    My oldest of 3 is now 5 years old and she reads aloud to her younger siblings and stuffed animals. Thanks for liking so many of my posts and for getting me to explore your own. You’ve got a lot of great stuff here! Cheers!

  11. Everyday Woman January 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Sounds like you are a great hands-on, in-the-trenches Mum who works at investing in your children. Way to go!

  12. David January 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    I struggled with the same thing. Still do in some ways – I’m better at reading aloud, ‘performing’ what I’m reading, but I don’t take in, or process very well what I’m reading when I read out loud to someone else.

  13. richardholme February 12, 2014 at 2:29 am #

    Really interesting observations. There are some very interesting ebooks & apps that may encourage reluctant readers. But having a positive view of reading in the home is essential and you are certainly doing that!

  14. potentiallylisa February 16, 2014 at 4:02 am #

    It’s great that you are putting all your efforts into reading .
    I have read books with thousands of children and my son is reading well above his age .
    The only advice I can give is really simple advice .Bring the books alive and get him to love a good story.He will have a favourite type of a story .So run with that and embrace it . Talk about the book with excitement and love it as much as you want him to love it .
    When reading together ,add humour or dramatization to highlight the speaking parts .Its a lot of acting on your part .You are his role model and he will do his best to mimic this .
    Run with his theme of interest .For example ,if he likes the gruffalo you could watch a play or movie to enhance his knowledge .You could talk to him about the play and refer back to the books .Bring the world of books alive and don’t be afraid to play the part.
    Without meaning ,the words are dead patterns to a child .
    The early years are the foundation for his independent curiosity .
    Hit it at every angle and hopefully this will engage him.
    He may never read to the age he’s expected .If he’s mathematical and enjoys math it may be because there’s no logical reason for having to read a certain book. Not when he could be doing something else.
    Just hook him in by his interests .

  15. C Monique February 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my post. I have a five year old whom is just getting started reading books on his own. He enjoys reading Dr. Seuss books to me before his bedtime. Your post really gave me ahead’s up on what’s to come.

  16. Janyo, K.M. Thompson February 17, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    We are currently working with our daughter on her reading skills as well- reading is the basis for enjoying so many activities and future learning so this is super important, great job! We find that books on CD are great help with reading out loud

  17. Mad Annie, Bronwyn, Ann February 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    Reading aloud together was a requirement from the start when my daughter (now 15) began school. We were ahead of the game. Reading has always been a big part of life for my family and my husband’s. I usually let her choose the book…I think I could have recited “Winnie the Pooh” in my sleep! It meant she was ahead on vocab, even when she couldn’t pronounce a word. (She was reading astronomy articles by age 6) Just make sure it is something the CHILD finds interesting.

  18. Liesl Garner February 19, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    One of the first sets of books we read out loud together was the Junie B. Jones series. She is hilarious and usually in trouble, but her mom handles her well, and I didn’t feel it undermined adult authority or anything like that. She’s just super precocious. My son ended up being able to read those on his own because he could hear how the story would sound. Now, he uses inflection and is actually very fun to listen to as he reads. Of course, Narnia – but that would be for older kids probably. My Elementary son also loves the Magic Treehouse stories.

  19. gwenfredette February 19, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi! Thanks for all of your encouraging “likes” on my blog posts. My kids are all older (ages 11 & up) but we still often read things aloud together for family time. Something about reading together definitely builds closer relationships. Keep up the great work! – Gwen

  20. LJ February 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Our Library has a Reading to Dogs program. A group brings in dogs for the children to read to. It is incredible.

  21. councillormikeobrien February 22, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    Reblogged this on Mike in Medway.

  22. annarosemeeds February 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    What a wonderful thing that you are doing for your son! I am so thankful that my parents read a great deal to me growing up. The poster who commented about Reading to Dogs has a great idea. Another fun idea is reading a book together. You each take turns with the pages. Some books are even written to be read like that.

  23. Cheri L. February 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    The library is your best friend here. Letting him self-select and encouraging him to read books that are challenging without being out of range is best. Trading off reading (you read a paragraph, he reads a paragraph) increases his positive associations b/c he gets time with you while reading. Reading, as you pointed out, is not a single skill, but a skill set in which sharpening any one skill will tend to help with the rest. Perseverance is you friend, as mastery is gradual. Keep with it, make it enjoyable, he will get there.

  24. lollipopsandlaughter February 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    Thanks for visiting me at lollipopsandlaughter, I loved reading with my kids when they were little, both to them and hearing them read to me. The really satisfying part? 2 out of the 3 of them share my passion for used book shops and can browse for hours and my granddaughter reads constantly. Keep up the good work.

  25. raywilwords February 26, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    Here’s an interesting thing. As a young child I never liked books. I liked reading out loud even less. I’m talking up to the age of 11. But I loved comic books, yet I didn’t even know the correct way to read a comic book. I just loved the pictures.

    When I finally learned the correct way of reading a comic book I was ecstatic. Because I realized there was so much to the cool pictures and characters that I was missing.

    That helped usher in my love of books because a picture sparks your imagination and immediately engages you. For a young child that is so important.

    When my daughter of a similar age kept choosing graphic novels to read as part of her class reading list her teacher made an off comment about getting her to put down those comic books. She didn’t realize the amount of importance I placed on colorful picture inside a rectangular panel (being an illustrator myself).

    Ask em what they want to read and include pictures. At any age it’s a good formula.

  26. JW Sayre February 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    We really like the “level 1 readers” for our oldest (5 yrs). My wife is more creative than I am, and also used to teach public school, but I just use the old-fashioned point and repeat after me method. It seems to be working b/c he can read about 90% of the words in a level 1 reader on his own. Consistency is also key-at least for us. We do our best to hit reading, math and languages (Latin or Spanish) everyday (no more than 15 minutes each on math and languages though). I’m certainly no expert-that’s just the way we do things here. All the Best! JW

  27. lisamaples March 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    I would recommend putting closed captioning on your TV screen to allow your child to read along while the characters are speaking. He will have to keep up and match speech to words. While this will help him increase his silent reading fluency, another thing to do is to have him read aloud a short passage three times and record his voice. You could have him record his voice using the Croak It app and listen to how well his phrasing for fluent reading improves with each reading and how much smoother he reads the short selection each time. You could have him rate his oral reading sample with a referee’s “Touchdown” arms if the phrasing and fluency while reading aloud is excellent and other modified arm motions for “Needs Improvement”.

  28. cricketmuse March 2, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Prosity is what you are looking for in your son’s reading–that flow and rhythmic reading we hear in professional readers.
    One thought is poetry because the meter will help create prosity. One of my posts suggests teaching children Shskespeare. The author recognized how The Bard set up words for rhythm when he wrote. Try classic narrative poetry like those of Longfellow, Edgar Guest or modern poets as in Prelustky and Silverstein.

  29. conniecockrell March 2, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    Many thanks for coming back to my blog. I appreciate it.

  30. Chase Photography March 9, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    There was always so much pressure surrounding reading out loud in elementary school. With my anxiety, I never did well with it in my younger years. Once I was in college, and after I had a child of my own, I became better at reading out loud. I didn’t stumble or mix up words nearly as much.

    I think you have some wonderful ideas. I would try to keep it as light and fun as possible! Poetry, as someone else mentioned, may be a great way to help with rhythm in words. Silly poems especially!

    Good luck!

  31. maxfirebox March 9, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Thanks for visiting and liking my post.i like your post it’s very educative

  32. therodneysmith March 14, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    I have four kids and we read to them everyday. The two kids that are in school read aloud to me everyday day. I think reading aloud is great for kids and adults. It helps me to edit my own writings when I read my writings aloud to myself. I also do not think reading speed is as important as comprehension skills. Just the fact you take time to read with your child is going to help improve his reading skills. Great job!!

  33. Tricia McHugh March 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I would love to give you some suggestions regarding your son’s reading abilities. I wanted to do it based on his reading level and his age, but I didn’t see his age posted anywhere.
    I raised four children, was a paraprofessional in two different school districts, a teacher’s aide, and a substitute teacher. I worked at Barnes and Noble for four years and did their story time on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I have become acquainted with many different types of books, so if I knew his age, I might be able to offer some good reads to strengthen his skills. I look forward to reading more of your blogs and hope that your son is doing well as of this comment.

  34. liamtoddsmommy March 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    Thanks for that. My son is only 18 months but I like to read aloud to him as much as possible. I want him to be a proficient reader and writer.

  35. allanbard March 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Nice blog/posts! Thank you for following! Will be glad to follow you too and add a suggestion or 2: using sites like, cafepress. com, fiverr? They could be a good way to show your works/blog, etc and to help “remove” stupidity in the streets like headlines on t-shirts, fridge-magnets, cups, etc: My Boyfriend kisses Better Than Yours, FBI – female body inspector, etc. Not everything we see and think of should be about sex, right? It would be much better if there were more nice pictures (even of mythical creatures), good thoughts, poems (from any genre are welcome I guess), etc? I’m allanbard there, I use some of my illustrations, thoughts, poems from my books (like: One can fight money only with money, Even in the hottest fire there’s a bit of water, or Love and happiness will be around,
    as all the chains will disappear,
    and Mountaineers will climb their mount
    and there won’t be any tear!
    etc). Best wishes! Let the wonderful noise of the sea always sounds in your ears! (a greeting of the water dragons’ hunters – my Tale Of The Rock Pieces).

  36. IdealisticRebel March 19, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    This is a wonderful idea. Children need to have that role model. Hugs, Barbara

  37. Jan Veal March 21, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I am a new grandma and mother of three grown daughters. I have already been reading board books to my grandbaby, but can’t wait until she comes to me with a book to read and we snuggle together. I think my husband and I read to our children at least 3 hours a day, if not more. Great times. We homeschooled, and good books were a part of our life!

  38. Danish March 22, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    Play newsreader. Its simple and fun. Give the kid around 10 sentences and ask him/her to present it like a newsreader. You can use a cardboard box as a tv to make it fun. Mimicking news readers gives children quite a beautiful understanding of commas, exclamations and full stops. Try it 🙂

  39. pamelakoefoed March 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    When our children (two boys and a girl) progressed from readers to chapter books, they enjoyed reading the Little House on the Prairie series for children, which contained enough action to hold my active sons’ attention, while providing a fascinating look at a different era and an interesting way of life in American culture.

    We all enjoyed taking turns reading a page at a time. Since there are several books in the series, our children were motivated to keep reading because they wanted to know what would happen next in Laura’s life.

  40. Maggie Pill March 26, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    Great stuff here!

  41. matthewcromwell March 27, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    With my background being in I.T and education studies I absolutely love what you’re doing. Keep it up 🙂

  42. From an ink smeared page March 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    I’ve found that if a child has a particular interest then finding books/comics/magazines about this will encourage them to read: star wars and superheroes are our current favourites 🙂

  43. klparry April 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Nice, informative blog! Wish I had this when my kids were little. Thank for stopping by my blog – Following The Dream. 🙂

  44. dlayers April 3, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Reading with children and teaching them to read is not only very important it is also very rewarding and something that you will treasure for the rest of your life. If I may suggest some material for you that would be a great addition to what you already have, check out the Bible Stories at May GOD richly bless you and keep you.

  45. April 8, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    My favorite thing to read aloud is The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. I think that the Dr. Seuss books are good read-alouds because of their rhyme and meter. Those 2 books, in particular, just roll of the tongue.

  46. carissamaria April 10, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    I’m reading your blog with enthusiasm and i always have something to learn from your articles. I used to work with children with behavior problems in a kindergarten and i remember the joy and the satisfaction in seeing them making progresses. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you helped them learn trough games, in a happy and funny environment.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and for liking my latest post. I’m honored and, in spite of all of my doubts about writing, people like you are my motivation to keep on telling the story.

  47. Beth Dahleen, mother, wife, writer, teacher April 11, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I have been a teacher (I’m home this year with my newly 4 and almost 7 year old) for over 10 years and fluency is important, but speed is not the only component to it. I did a lot of those timed fluency reads and ended with a word per minute that converted into a rubric grade for that part of the report card. Yet, speed does not always reflect their comprehension, expression, and correct inflection. I think the trend is moving away from speed. It’s still something to look at, but with an objective eye toward the other components that are or aren’t present.

  48. Beth Dahleen, mother, wife, writer, teacher April 11, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Two off hand my tips would be:
    1. Check out books that are on or slightly above your child’s reading level at the local library or ask you teacher to send them home from the school library and let her know your goal (s/he will likely do this for you).
    2. Have your child read the book and focus on expression and correct inflection. Time the speed with your a stopwatch (I used my iphone timer as a teacher) it takes your child to read the whole book. Have him/her re-read and try to improve the speed, expression, and inflection.

    * A note–when teachers do a fluency read they use a book that the child has not read before and so that it’s a “cold” read speed. There is a BIG trend toward nonfiction in fluency reads so try using nonfiction as they tend to be more challenging.

  49. LWilkie April 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    We practiced reading aloud by returning to their favorite books from preschool, the ones I read to them night after night when they were much younger. Because the stories were already familiar to them and they had heard me read them so many times, it was good practice for them -helped to get the correct tone and inflection as they read out loud.

  50. Candyk April 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    I don’t have any suggestions, but I do want to say that I wholeheartedly agree with your way of doing this. Reading aloud is so beneficial. Our family periodically reads a book together, taking turns at either a number of paragraphs or a page each. They look forward to it, and it has brought us close together as a family. We have had many great conversations that gave us as parents an ‘in’ to a discussion that we might not have had otherwise. I love it!

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