Reading Tips


Sharing books with children is a wonderful experience, whether you are a parent, a teacher, or a volunteer. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you read:


Plan to read for about 20 minutes. Young children can have short attention spans.

Look over the book before you read it. If you are familiar with the story, you will read it better. If you are familiar with the illustrations, you will be able to point out interesting or humorous things.

Make sure everyone is comfortable. Sit close enough so everyone is able to see and hear what you are reading.

Start with the cover. Read the title and the author’s name. Talk about the cover and answer questions before you begin reading.

Read with feeling. Read slowly and change your voice for different characters. The more expressive you are, the more you will hold the children’s attention.

Reading is not a race! Take your time reading, point to interesting pictures in the book, and give the children time to explore the book with you.

Let the children join in. If the story lends itself to sing-a-longs or chants, encourage the children to participate as you read.

Adapt the story to the needs of your audience. It’s okay to leave out words or tell the story in your own words if the story seems too long.

Finish the story. Children like a sense of completion. If the book is too long to finish in one sitting, pick a logical point to stop and finish it during your next read-aloud time.

Make the story meaningful to your audience. Help the children relate to the story and characters by connecting them to something in their own lives.


A child’s book is something special, uniquely rewarding, and pleasurable. It is never too soon to introduce children to books. Here are some basic points about specific age groups to keep in mind when you are choosing a child’s book:



Why You Should Share Books



Helps create a special bond between parents and children.

Introduces children to art through the illustrations.

Enhances children’s listening skills.

Introduces children to a wide variety of experiences.

Helps prepare children for learning to read.

Improves and enriches the quality of children’s lives.

Provides fun and enjoyment for children and adults.



When To Share Books



Begin when your child is born.

Set aside a special time each day, such as nap time, bedtime, or after meals.

Share books when you and your child are in a relaxed mood.

Limit time if your child becomes fussy or restless.

Take advantage of “waiting” times to share books on trips, at the doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store.

Soothe a child who is sick or cranky.



How To Share Books



Find a comfortable place to sit (a rocking chair is wonderful).

Recite or sing rhymes from your favorite books.

Turn off other distractions such as television, radio, or stereo.

Hold the book so your child can see the pages clearly.

Involve your child by having him or her point out objects, talk about the pictures, or repeat common words.

Read with expression.

Vary the pace of your reading between slow and fast.

Find other titles by the authors and illustrators of your child’s favorite books.

Have your child select books to read.

Reread your child’s favorite books whenever asked.



How To Use The Library



Encourage kids to explore the public library and remember that children and teens are naturally attracted to materials intended for them. They are generally not attracted to materials that are too advanced for their reading or maturity levels.


Provide clear guidelines for children. Let them know if there are subjects or areas that you prefer to be off limits and explain why.


Introduce children to the library and encourage them to seek guidance. The American Library Association and many local libraries publish helpful lists of award-winning children’s books and other guides to good reading for all ages.


Familiarize yourself with the library materials children bring home with them. Review all reading lists sent home by classroom teachers and help your child find some of the listed books at the library.


Talk with children about what they are reading. This will give you insight into their special interests and concerns.


Learn more about how to evaluate children’s books. Most libraries provide books and brochures with guidelines about what is appropriate and appealing at various ages.


Remember, the library is a public place. Adults should accompany young children to the library.



And Remember…




Be enthusiastic about books.

Be an example for your child by letting her or him see you read books.

Keep a wide selection of reading materials at home.

Be aware of your child’s reading interests.

Give books as presents.

Begin to build a child’s home library.

Get to know the children’s librarian at your local public library.

Use your local library regularly and register your child for a library card.