With her new book, “Help Me Get Ready to Read,” author and educator Susan Marx wants to help parents read aloud to young children as effectively as possible. Her guide for reading aloud to kids in their first five years, co-authored with Barbara Kasok, tells of the tremendous impact reading aloud has on children. “We focus on the whole child by providing useful tips that foster children’s social, emotional and cognitive development,” Susan says. Here she shares her top five tips for helping children become lovers of books and learning.
1. Enjoy the moment
Turn off cell phones, TVs and other such distractions. Give little ones your focused attention as you read aloud by listening to their responses, answering their questions and watching their reactions. Laugh at silly pictures together, talk about the story characters and point out letters and words.
2. Have a book basket
Keep books in a handy basket or on a shelf so children can choose their own book at read-aloud time. Many little ones like to hear favorite books over and over again. They feel comfortable because they know what to expect in the story, are familiar with the story characters and can join in repetitive or predictable text.
3. Establish read-aloud routines
Have a cozy place where you can read aloud to your young children. Sitting on your lap or close by helps little ones feel a connection to you and their books. Try to read aloud at naptime or bedtime so books become a part of their everyday lives.
4. Use specific parenting praise
Compliment children during the read-aloud experience by using words such as “Good job turning the pages” or “Good job watching as I move my finger under the words as I read.” This parenting strategy acknowledges for a child the skill he or she acquired and also lets the child know that you are being attentive.
5. Give books as gifts
Buy books for your little ones for birthdays, holidays and other gift-giving occasions. Also, have your children give books as gifts to family members and friends. This helps children understand that books are valued and important. Gift books can be enjoyed over the years; children do not outgrow books the way they do toys.
For information about workshops and to order “Help Me Get Ready To Read: The Practical Guide For Reading Aloud To Children During Their First Five Years” by Susan Marx and Barbara Kasok, please visit readaloudguide.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.