Read-Aloud to Your Kids! Great Advice to Parents from Author Russ Walsh on Reading to Your Children Throughout the School Year

By Russ Walsh | Russ On Reading | Russ Walsh is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century: Navigating Education Reform to Get the Best Education for My Child | ON SALE 20% off on Amazon ($15.95) and contributing author to United We Stand, available on Amazon ($14.95)

Reading Aloud with Your Child

The beginning of a school year is a good time to take an inventory of at-home practices that parents can institute to support their children’s learning. One of the most important things that all parents should do is read aloud to their children regularly. Some teachers ask parents to make read aloud a regular part of the homework routine, but whether required by the teacher or not, the research has made it clear that read aloud is a critical home-based activity.

Here are a few tips for making read aloud successful at home.

General Information

  • Read-aloud to your child at least once a day.
  • Set aside regular reading times.
  • Share in the choice of books. Allow your child to choose sometimes, while you choose a favorite at other times.
  • Read with enthusiasm. Enjoy yourself.
  • Occasionally choose books that are “over the head” of your child. Listening comprehension is much more developed in young learners than reading comprehension.  More difficult books create an intellectual challenge.
  • Fathers must make an extra effort to do some of the read-alouds. Children need to see both parents as people who value reading.
  • Keep reading to your child even after the child has become a fluent reader.

Talking About Stories

Before Reading:

  1. Look at the title, cover pictures, title page.
  2. Encourage your child to make predictions. What might the story be about? What might happen in the story?

During Reading:

  1. Stop occasionally to check predictions. Is this what you thought would happen?  Do we need to change our predictions? What new predictions can we make?
  2. Don’t forget to talk about the pictures. In picture books, illustrations play a central role in telling the story.  Talk about the illustrator’s style, the detail, the use of color.
  3. Discuss meanings and connotations of unfamiliar words.

After Reading:

  1. Ask questions that invite your child to talk. Avoid yes/no and one word answer questions.
  2. Ask for feeling responses. How did the story make you feel? What did the story make you think about? What was your favorite part of the story?
  3. Talk about the characters in the story. Talk about the major events.  Compare characters to people you know.  Compare events to things that have happened in your life.
  4. Compare the story to other books you have read or movies or TV shows you have seen together.

Finally, listen to your child and respond to questions in a caring and genuine way. Enjoy read-aloud time.  It can be among the most rewarding family experiences.

“Read to Me, Daddy” by Russ Walsh

Read to me, Daddy
Of faraway places
Where elephants reign
And turtles win races.
Read to me, Daddy
And we’ll leave on a flight
To Jupiter! Mars!
And home in one night.
Read to me, Daddy
And fill up my head
With fanciful pictures
‘Fore I go to bed.
Read to me, Daddy
Of wishes come true.
Read to me, Daddy
And I’ll read to you.

About Russ Walsh

Russ Walsh has had a forty-five year career in public education as a teacher, literacy specialist, curriculum supervisor and college instructor. He is currently the Coordinator of College Reading at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ.

After beginning his career as a secondary history teacher, Russ switched gears and earned a degree in literacy and then worked for much of his career in the literacy field, including stints as an elementary reading specialist, a Reading Recovery teacher and a literacy supervisor. He has taught at every level of education from kindergarten through graduate school. His major academic interests have been in reading fluency, content literacy, instructional practice and parental involvement in education.

Russ was active for many years with the International Literacy Association (ILA) and was a member of that organization’s Parents and Reading Committee, as well as the co-founder and chair of the Parents and Reading Special Interest Group for ILA. In those roles, Russ helped organize and deliver parent programs as a part of ILA’s yearly international conference. He has presented hundreds of workshops and papers for parents and teachers at local, regional, national and international conferences. Russ blogs on public education, literacy instruction and teaching practice at Russ on ReadingHe lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Cindy Mershon, and their three cocker spaniels.

Liked it? Support Garn Press Indie Publishing. Take a second to support Garn Press on Patreon!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!