How to Read to your Child Tutorial

YPRL Staff

1 November, 2020

This video is a guide to show you how to read to your child. The guide focuses on children aged 0 to 6.

Why this Guide?

Parents and carers are frequently reading to their children at home, especially during these current times. This guide will give you a conscious approach in your reading session that will maximise engagement.

Children will engage in reading if:

  1. They are enjoying the experience
  2. They are connecting with the story
  3. Visual and aural senses are stimulated
  4. They feel safe and encouraged to imagine and express their thoughts and feeling

Four Action Guide

The 4 actions are: Observation, Predication, Connection and Reflection.

1. Observation

  • This is where you ask your child what they see
  • Can be used anytime during the reading session
  • Lead the observations more for babies and younger toddlers e.g. "Look, a butterfly." "I can see red and blue..."
  • Ask more open-ended questions for pre-schoolers e.g. "What do you see?" "Name three things you've noticed"

2. Prediction

  • This is where you ask your child what they think will happen in the story
  • Can be used at the beginning and during the book
  • Prediction follows on well from observation
  • Ask pre-schoolers questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?" "What do you think will happen to the character.”
  • Lead the predictions for younger children with wondering and questioning e.g. “I wonder what will happen?" "What will happen next?" "I wonder if…”

3. Connection

  • This is where you connect the story and characters to your child’s life
  • Look at the setting and characters and compare with your real life e.g. “Does this remind you of…” “Do you remember when we went to a party?”
  • For babies, use one word/noun to identify things in the story that they might be able to connect with e.g. “Mummy”, “Baby”, “Balloon”
  • Physicalising and using touch is helpful for babies

4. Reflection

  • This is where you give your child a chance to comment, review, express their thoughts and feeling at the end of the book. “What did you like about the book?” “Tell me about moment in the story that made you feel happy.”
  • Try not to turn this into ‘comprehension’ e.g. “Tell me what happened in the book.” This will make the reading session feel like a test.
  • Make two piles: a thumbs up pile, and a thumbs down pile. The child decides if the book they just read goes in the thumbs up or thumbs down pile, and tells you why.

Extra tips

  1. If you see your child is losing interest in a book or reading session, don’t try to drive through to the end. Children (just like adults!) don’t like being forced to read something they're not enjoying. Stop and get your child to change the book. Or come back at a later time.
  2. Preschoolers are at the age where their imagination is high, but they may not be at reading level. If you are seeing signs that your pre-schooler is getting bored with reading, try chapter books. They might enjoy listening to chapter books because it satisfies their level of imagination and humour.

Most importantly … every child is different, and you know your child the best!

Please keep this in mind as you explore this guide. You can adapt this guide to your child’s individual preferences and personality.

Happy reading!

Sun Pezzimenti – Storyteller and Officer of Reading, Learning, and Community, YPRL

About the Author

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