Whether one-on-one or at group story time, children love when adult read to them. Bringing a book to life not only sparks their imagination but encourages them to want to read themselves. Children love to be entertained. Depending upon how you bring the story to life may influence children’s interest in reading other books. Here are a few tips on how to make reading to children fun and interactive.
Tip #1 – Be Prepared
Before reading to children, make sure you have read the book ahead of time. This will help you become familiar with the story and give you ideas on how to make the story time experience more interactive. If you feel self-conscious, read the book several times and practice ways to tell the story in a way that if fun and engaging to the children’s age level.
Tip #2 – Let Your Voice Act it out
Reading in monotones is boring for people of all ages. Children are no different. Add emotion to your voice that reflects the story. Have a different voice for different characters. This will help children connect with the characters and the storyline.
Tip #3 – Add Sound Effects
Don’t forget to add sound effects. This is another way to bring the story to life and keep the child engaged. This could be subtle sounds or louder sounds. Many children’s books have sound effect words such as bang, creak, and whoosh. Don’t just read the sound, make the sound.
Tip #4 – Use Body Language
Add some body language techniques to act the story out. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump up and act the whole story out in actions. This could mean simply using facial expressions and other simple gestures to bring the story to life from a seated position.
Tip #5 – Ask Questions
Encourage critical thinking and comprehension by asking questions. Ask questions about the pictures. Get the child to be more observant on how the illustrations tie into the story being told. Also ask question about the story. This could be simply asking the children what they think the character will do next. After the story, ask more questions. This helps encourage listening skills.
Tip #6 – Start Early
Start making reading to children a habit early on. There is not a child who is too young to have a book read to them, this includes infants. For infants, choose bright colored books to capture their natural curiosity. Picture books allow you to possibly make up your own story each time you and your infant look through the book. As they move into becoming a toddler, encourage them to make up their own story to go with the picture book.
Tip #7 – Follow the Words with Your Fingers
Especially in one-on-one cases, follow the words with your fingers as you read aloud to the child. This encourages the child to read themselves. Young readers will be able to follow along and possibly learn to read new words, thus increasing their reading vocabulary.
Tip #8 – Bed Time Stories
Start early and get into the habit of reading to your child at bed time. When making bed time stories interactive remember to use subtle sounds and voices. This is a time you want the little ones to settle down not get overly excited. For the younger children, try to have a selection of bed time stories for them to choose from. These are soft story lines, possibly about bed time or going to sleep, that you can still make interactive.
Not only is reading your child a story at bed time a great way to spend quality time with your child but it will get them into a habit of reading before bed. Reading anytime is great but encouraging older children to read before helps them unwind along with strengthening reading skills. By starting this bed time routine while they are infants, this habit will most likely become a part of their daily lives.
Tip #9 – Family Story Time
Even though your children may be older and can read for themselves, plan a time for family story time. Turn off the television, phones, and any other distractions. As a family, decide which book to read. Also decide how long family story time will be. Take turns reading the book aloud. This will help promote strong reading skills.
Make reading to children an experience that is engaging and fun. Don’t worry about whether you sound or act silly. Younger children thrive on stories that are fun and entertaining. By making the reading experience interactive you will open up them up to a world of imagination that will allow them to see how much fun reading can be.