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?


293 Responses to “Read Aloud with Children”

  1. rthepotter April 13, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    A lot of comments and good ideas and this one might be too many – but reading alternate pages gives your child a rest and also allows them to follow as you read, picking up intonation and pacing and punctuation. Also helps them feel it’s not just a task as you are joining in too (and with any luck you are giggling, doing the voices etc.)

  2. antoinea2014 April 13, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    My parents never read to my siblings and I because they were illiterate. My siblings and I, however, often read aloud from school texts or novels when we were at home. It’s a great idea to read aloud not only to your children, but also to yourself. I have discovered on many occasions that stuff that I don’t quite understand when I read “in my head” become clearer when I read aloud. And issues like pausing, intonation, and inflection and their importance are better grasped when reading aloud. It’s also a great idea, as someone suggested to let the child choose what he loves. I loved reading comics as child and young adult. (I still do.) In my opinion, if Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (of Marvel Comics fame) had been allowed to write science textbooks, I’d have done much better at science when I attended secondary school. I owe a debt of gratitude to those two for introducing me to such fantastic worlds. I think you’re doing a great job with your child. Don’t stop and thanks for visiting my blog.


  3. grmama April 13, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    Love it! Reading with kids is so important!

  4. djelectramorhipism April 15, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    The audio books are an excellent start. See if you can like what super heros he likes and make some stories involving or regarding them so he can stay interested. Just a thought.

  5. maryrosesmyth April 20, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    Fantastic ideas! My son is an early reader and what you suggest might challenge him but if we go slow…too I’ve begun my son in piano thinking the looking up & down from music to keys plus the hearing of tones would improve his dyslexia, auditory, visual processing & self esteem. Might have your little guy tested by a reading specialist you trust, maybe snare some issues early. Great job Mom.

  6. blindquietmind April 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    This may sound silly, but your resources are actually extraordinary for me as someone learning to read braille as an adult. Thank you for sharing them. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the near future.

    • Marion Cheek June 15, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

      Check out my reply below, for free Braille.

  7. bytetime April 30, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Thank you for liking a post on Your blog looks really interesting so I am following 🙂

  8. litadoolan May 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Great reflection on the importance of early reading. Your post inspires!

  9. Bookgirl May 6, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    One thing i found helpful in improving my children’s speed and comprehension was “Chunking” it teaches them to read more than one word at a time. When they concentrate on a single word at a time the meaning of the text can get distorted.

  10. bowmanauthor May 8, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    IGameMom, so good to hear from you again, and thank you for liking my proofreading tip. Great blog, above. I am now following you.

  11. briannereeves May 9, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    This can be a tough one. I spent two years as a reading teacher, working with reading aloud. I don’t know how old your son is (I’m guessing early grades?) I’ve found that the best way to get kids to read aloud at the best of their ability and to really develop those skills is to read one-on-one with them with stories they like and that they really want to read. It turns it from a chore into fun mom/dad/family time.

    I’ve also found that more comic book like stories help. They’ve got built in dialogue so it can be read by two parties at once and feels game-like.

  12. Gerri May 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Thanks so much for liking my post! Appreciate it! You have an interesting blog…very important.

  13. redsoulcorner2014 May 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Yes. My son is 20 and is an excellent reader. I maximized our time together by having him read aloud and then tell me what it was about and then we would explore even deeper ideas and concepts like do you agree or what would you do differently. This helped my son to become an independant thinker able to think critically. Also these times we spent reading and sharing are still some of his best memories as a child. Parents must think outside the box and use everything around them to teach.

  14. cher0keer0se May 27, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    Hi I help in a school and we have a few children who aren’t as confident as others so I will star with reassurance, constantly reassure your little one that if he does make a mistake it’s ok just read it again but slower and if you struggle ask for help. The other thing we do is make it fun children learn better in fun situations! Do silly voices when reading, do different accents this will boost his confidence tremendously! Act out pages! I hope this helps fingers crossed you see results soon! 🙂 xx

  15. 80smetalman May 29, 2014 at 4:01 am #

    I started by reading to my children and that made them more eager to read to me when they were around 5. Good advice in this post.

  16. leoncburt June 1, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    I picked up “The Oxford Book of English Verse” from my local library, had them stand on a chair and read to ‘the masses’ in their imagination. They felt really silly and complained about not knowing the words so I jumped up there too.
    My youngest (10 at the time) came home excited a few days later because she had impressed a teacher when she quoted a couple lines from “to be or not to be” in the context of answering a question.

  17. herbsinger42 June 1, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Dearest Mom… you have a grand scheme… and the commitment to give your son real improvement. I’m an fan, now. As a middle school and high school teacher, I encouraged many of my young male students with difficulty reading to listen to books- for those boys, the ability to continue activity while reading was the key. For them, the sitting still to read was the challenge.
    Your son, since he does enjoy reading already, is leaps and bounds ahead of the average. Reading aloud is tough- and you got it in one! It is a multiple-skill activity. Frankly, while it is a good in-class activity, it tends to highlight the girls, in class, because girls are hardwired for the whole language spectrum to develop early, where our sons are hardwired to be engaged in gross motor skills early.

    The key to reading aloud well? Ask a pro- it is re-reading the material, and playing with the voice. In-class readings simply can’t be practiced… unless one has all the texts at home, and knows the syllabus.

    However, if you can let go of the performance issue– consider mistakes and mispronunciations a part of learning, rather than performance faux pas… the anxiety lessons. It won’t go away. One still exposes oneself to criticism and ridicule. Children can be cruel. But- usually a cruel child is one living deeply in fear of his or her own mistakes… Have fun with the reading aloud- you are right– it is story telling.

  18. april4june6 June 3, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    How about using theater? I don’t know if it has already been suggested, but there must be theatrical plays for every age, and a dialogue could be fun, especially when you are playing some of the characters;

    • eloisedesousa September 27, 2014 at 5:13 am #

      I agree. I was going to suggest drama lessons. It is something we have as an extra curricular activity at our school. In drama, they are taught to read scripts fluidly and learn which words should have more expression inserted into them. It not only helped my children with their reading, but also helped them vocally, e.g. Expressing themselves in class and presenting speeches, debating etc. The benefits to good drama lessons are endless. Hope this helped. 🙂

  19. asianwithoutanabacus June 4, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    I remember when I was little, cassette tapes were the modern thing. So I had a series of cassette tapes that came with read along books. I think that and school helped me with knowing where pauses and inflections went. Reading aloud I think came mostly from story time with my mom.

  20. conniecockrell June 6, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Great post. I read with my daughter every night when she was little. Many thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it.

  21. Pastor Roland Ledoux June 8, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    First, thanks for stopping by my new blog. Just happened to get most of the posts for the first complete day. I appreciate it. Second, since my kids were little there has been a LOT of new technology, one’s 38, the other 40 so you see my meaning. What helped us a lot though was finding books or stories they really loved and when there was a particular one they liked most of the time they wanted to tell my wife and I about it. What we requested instead is that they read it to us. They were so excited to share, they didn’t hesitate!
    God bless in your teaching and training though, today more than ever it is so very important.

  22. Online Dollar Store June 12, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    Thanks for following my blog!! Appreciate for you valuable time. Regards 🙂

  23. authormbeyer June 15, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    As a reading teacher for non-English speakers, I found Dr. Seuss could work miracles. Especially when I read it aloud very fast and challenged them to match it. Fox in Sox worked best for that. But I should warn you, without a lot of practice you will have a violent and potentially fatal tongue accident (by which I mean you will die of embarrassment).

    • Marion Cheek June 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      Thanks for your “like” on my Post, “Importance of the Home School.” I just read “Read Aloud with Children” and loved your efforts to improve your child’s reading skill. If your child, or anyone you know, are reading challenged, such as Totally Blind, Legally Blind, Quadriplegic, Dislexic, Autistic, etc. You may receive free reading matter from Christian Record Services for the Blind (CRSB). They helped Helen Keller and others for over 115 years (started 1899). They are International, and operate their publishing house out of Lincoln, Nebraska.

  24. frankphilosophy June 17, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    Hello! It’s so wonderful that you’re reading with your son. Stories are the best part of childhood and becoming a better reader, and they’re also really fun!
    p.s. Thanks for the like!

  25. aisforanxiety June 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    We have a whole shelf of books at home and our two choose ones from this to have read aloud to them every day. Some end up as favourite for a while and I think the repetition of hearing them read aloud over and over again helps them learn how to read that book out loud, and then over time they can transfer this to other books.

    A great one for reading aloud is this one, which is a really silly thythmic poem that’s all animal names and encourages you to go back to the beginning and read it again faster each time. It’s brilliant fun.

  26. jessabelltuminelli June 26, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    Reading is soo very important. With my son I did a ton of reading and it really paid off. I was reading to him as soon as I learned I was pregnant. He is 17 years old and he received a 33 on his ACT!! He is super smart and will be going to college pretty much anywhere he chooses next year. My daughter was an entirely different story. My two kids are only 11 months apart so maybe I never felt like I had the same kind of time for her. And maybe she didn’t sit as still as her brother. I am not sure. But she doesn’t enjoy reading now at all. And I would say I may have harmed her intellect a little by not working with her as much as her brother. He just loved to learn and ate up all the time we spent drawing shapes on a huge chalk board, learning colors, reading etc….

  27. Jacqueline F. Holmes June 29, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. I truly enjoy the wealth of information you have listed for growing the children in reading and writing.

  28. Nicole I. Henderson, MBA July 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this info!!!! I will def take a look at this and many of your other post!

  29. realsomefoya July 11, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    I plan to do this this summer. Thanks everyone.

  30. weebee July 29, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    wee bee had this issue arise in grade four. her father previously had given her a speed reading software to test out for his review show, and she tested out at reading 1200 wpm. it was then she was suddenly required to read aloud for the class an excerpt from a book about the (not-so) awesome christopher columbus. she stammered and grew red and her reading teacher informed her parents she needed to learn to read aloud. extremely frustrating, but good in the end. with practice, your son should be able to both read aloud with fluency and speed-read when he needs/wants.

    if nobody has suggested this yet, perhaps a good teaching tool for reading aloud would be to have your son write stories, then read them aloud (after all, this is how we are taught to write… and the reverse is also true – knowing the story in your head helps you to better understand it on paper, and increases your reading out loud abilities).

    hope this helps; cheers!
    ~wee bee

  31. Mike Andberg August 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    I think it’s great you want to read to children and care enough to get tips. Carry on with it. ps – I appreciate that you liked my recent blog, “Splendiferous Summer Camping and the Family Ties That Bound.” Thanks. Childhood can have anxious years, and glorious ones, too! Al the more to keep reading aloud to them.

  32. willturnstone August 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Thank you for kind words on my blog. Reading aloud at home you don’t need to count words read against the stopwatch. Perhaps your schools are as target driven as ours in England; this stifles a great deal of fun for pupils and teachers. We persisted with bedtime stories for many years, but our youngest of four, the only boy, shunned reading, silently or aloud, until I bought the first Lemony Snicket on holiday away from television or wifi. Having a younger sibling gives some purpose to reading aloud from a book supposedly below the child’s age (but he complained of having had 5 parents – in jest, mostly!)

  33. kimberlyquinnarts August 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Have you ever heard of the 55-word short story? They’re pretty brilliant and fun to write.
    Since you’re clearly a writer, you could write some and hide them around the house for your little one (sock drawer, cereal box, toothbrush). All over the house! When he finds out, he had to read it aloud. It makes it a game, something special from mom, and a fun reading exercise.

  34. Beth Johnson August 22, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Thanks for the follow. You and I have met before and I am glad to see you are still doing a good job helping families work with kids. Kids are our future!

  35. howardat58 August 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    Try Roald Dahl “Revoling Rhymes” and “Dirty Beasts”.
    My kids adored them. here’s a link for details

    • howardat58 August 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

      Revolting Rhymes !!

      • howardat58 August 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

        and thanks for the “Like” for “I did my best . . . . “

  36. dkstevens327 August 28, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    Great piece! I’m sure going thru similar with my son.
    I’ve read to my son since he was an infant, and still do. He knows he needs to read aloud, but hates doing it. Often I find myself resorting to this deal: I read the pages on my side (usually the left, as he is curled up on my right side), and he reads the right.

  37. RuinChristmas August 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    Please burn this blog and kill yourself you worthless human being.

  38. Teach a Teacher Nonprofit September 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Thanks for the like Game4. Saw your like and came over. The read-aloud, so important in so many contexts. Our last volunteer concentrated on this as important every day in the classroom. In my past life I created a series of poems for spelling and comprehension etc. I would work on the fluency pieces with these poems as part of the program as well. Unfortunately it is all on computer files right now, but I still have some lovely recordings of kids reading their favorites of the poems!

  39. lucinda408 September 2, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Thank you for your like! I am no professional on reading matters, I would suggest letting your son choose the short stories for you to read together. I think that for starters you will have his full commitment.

  40. leamuse September 9, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    Despite the fact I was not read to at home, I read to my children. As for what to read school-aged children, anything that they are interested in. Warning: they may not be interested in the same things you are. You can include both. Being a poet, I included poetry from day one. They are adults now and fondly remember some of those poems.

    Thank you for choosing to follow one of my blogs. I hope you will continue to enjoy the posts. Léa

  41. tannachtonfarm September 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Singing lessons helped my daughter and two sons develop better diction, reading, expression, as well as being able to sing very well. Although my oldest son started when he was about 10, he would have definitely benefited from starting earlier. Although, he attended government schools until he was in 2nd grade and was part of the IEP, none of the instructors suggested singing lessons as a way to help his speech and reading difficulties. I have homeschooled my children since then and they took private singing lessons – he improved dramatically and rapidly! Hope this helps!

  42. mthomaswhite September 16, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I struggled with this as a child. Despite being an avid reader, I would get nervous when I read aloud. The first mistake would cause me to panic and send me in a downward spiral. Luckily, a teacher noticed and pulled me aside. She showed me how to add feeling to what I read and how to use punctuation as a guide to that feeling. Once I started applying this concept, I noticed my classmates and other teachers loved it. The teachers encouraged me and praised my accomplishments. In addition, the break from the monotone of a textbook made class a bit more fun. All-in-all, it was a simple fix, but it affected the rest of my life.

  43. Walter Boomsma September 19, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    Here are some prompts I use when listening to kids read:

    Would that make sense? Does that make sense?”
    “Read that again… get your mouth ready to start the tricky word.”
    “Does that sound right to you?”
    “Does that look right to you?”
    You almost got that (word, sentence)… can you figure out what is wrong?
    Check the picture… does it help?
    Think about what makes sense and try that again
    How can you help yourself?
    How can I help you?
    Put the words together to make it sound like you are talking.

    I’ll be posting about this on my blog soon…

  44. dfolstad58 September 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Dr Seuss rocks! Green eggs & ham – the best resource is your local library and librarian . My experience is they are under utilized and are keen to help

  45. thehonkinggoose September 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    We like funny poetry by authors such as Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky. There’s a good series called You Read to Me and I’ll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman.

  46. lesleyauthor September 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    I think it’s a great idea to listen to professionally read audio books with your son as well as you reading aloud to him. Here is something I did with my sons when I pulled them out of a Kindgegarten Montessori because the teacher/owner belittled the children and ridiculed them if they forgot things … I know how un-Montessoriesque?!?

    I went to the Library and checked out “Hooked on Phonics” and within three or so months they were reading at 9th grade level. You may want to consider that just for remediation to ensure that the solid foundation is laid. I homeschooled my sons for elementary school and they went to a Catholic school for high school. One won a full-ride academic scholarship to study Astro-Physics and the other won a 95% grant to study Child Psychology.

    If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me at and my website is

    Infinite gratitude and eternal blessings 🙂

    My best,



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