Tanya - The Book Playbox


Did you know that there is an incredibly simple recipe for Reading Aloud with children? And it includes these 3 simple ingredients...

  • You
  • A Book
  • And your Time


That's it, how simple is that?


Now more than ever reading aloud is a really special way to spend time and connect with children. Especially as they look to us in these uncertain times, we can offer a calm and reassuring lap to read a few books together to take them away to somewhere special inside a book. How wonderfully precious is that! 


“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

― Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook


Here are a few different ideas on how to introduce a reading aloud tradition into the home, why it is wonderful for the whole family and some further ideas around why it is beneficial from an educational and emotional point of view. And finally a few excellent read-aloud books every home should have.


Time for Reading Aloud

Finding the time to Read Aloud to children can be a big reason why families don't read aloud nearly as often as they would like or even at all. This is totally understandable because we all know how life can get, it is super busy, it is tiring and it is stressful, especially after a long busy day sometimes it is the last thing anyone feels like doing is reading aloud to the children. But who says it needs to be done at the end of the day?


Many families opt for reading aloud as part of the bedtime routine but it does not need to happen then. It can happen whenever it suits the family. What about reading aloud during bathtime? While waiting for siblings at activities? In the doctor's surgery waiting room? or even stashing a few books in the back of the car that can be used during those waiting around times. Or maybe a book or two first thing in the morning might work well for a family with a nice excuse for extra snuggles in bed, or even around the breakfast table? Personally we read after school and just before lights out at night because that is what works for us as a family. I believe if a family has the desire, they find a time that works well for their family. Think about how you might be able to include it into your week or even better try and make it an everyday ritual.


Why Reading Aloud is important for Children.

There are many reasons why it is important and beneficial to start as early as possible, even as early as when the child is in the womb. The soothing sound of a reading voice is suggested as being important for an unborn baby's development. Once a baby arrives, spending time reading words to them from those hardy little board books or flashcards is easy and fun as they love listening to a comforting voice. Reading to them introduces new words and also helps with language development, fluency and pitch, which in turn helps develop the language skills to communicate with others.


Some benefits of Reading Aloud.

It helps to build a strong bond between the reader and the child. The sound of the voice, the places we sit, the way we tell the story are all things that will contribute to the memories and the bond that will develop. It is entirely beneficial to start building this bond early.


The different stories we read aloud to children will provide them with a range of new and different words, situations, feelings and experiences, which offers them opportunities to understand who someone might deal with different events, scenarios and situations. Children are more likely to be able to make cognitive connections between themselves and various happenings within the world. 


A well-written picture book introduces children to new words in an exciting way, it helps them build and expand their own vocabulary, they are introduced to many new words that may not usually be part of everyday language spoken at home.


Demonstrating to children what reading and reading aloud looks like for pleasure is an excellent way to show them how valuable being able to read is. Learning to read takes time, so it is important to instil confidence that regular reading is for everyone. It is a lifelong gift.


And finally, reading aloud to children is beneficial because it can be just plain enjoyable fun. If the book is silly, try being a bit silly, put on different voices for the characters, basically bring your reading aloud A-game, the children will love it!


How to set the scene for Reading Aloud Success.

  1. Find a spot, maybe it is on a comfy seat or outside under the trees.
  2. Choose a book that will be a winner for your audience. A quick pre-read in preparation can be helpful.
  3. Introduce the book, include the title, author, illustrator.
  4. Include children by allowing questions and discussion times throughout the story.
  5. Know your audience, are they getting bored? Is the delivery a bit monotone? Breathe some life into the story. How could it be enjoyable? If it’s just not happening change the book or try again later.
  6. Chat about the story afterwards, discuss what everyone liked about the book.


Reading Aloud for all ages.

Don't stop reading to children, do it for as long as possible, change up the books to suit the audience as they grow. If they really start to pull away what about trying audiobooks for long car trips with apps such as Audible. One of the best purchases we made was the complete Roald Dahl series on CD which we have listened to many times on long car rides. There is something about his stories that capture the imagination of both young and old, captivating everyone for the long haul. Choose something everyone will enjoy. Failing that, get older children to read aloud to the adults or take turns. Have fun with it.


What the advocates say...

Some of my favourite Reading Aloud advocates are Jim Trelease, Mem Fox and Megan Daley.

Each of which have a great source of commentary around the reading aloud topic. If you are interested in further ideas about reading aloud then check out the following books.

Jim Trelease’s READ-ALOUD Handbook 8th Edition edited and revised by Cyndi Giorgis

Reading Magic - How your child can learn to read before school - and other read aloud miracles by Mem Fox

Raising Readers by Megan Daley


Excellent Read Aloud books to share with younger children.

Pig The Pug Series by Aaron Blabey

Hairy McClary Series by Lynley Dodd

My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes by Lynley Dodd

Anthony Browne Books such as Silly Billy and My Brother

The Gruffalo Series Julia Donaldson

Charlie and Lola Series by Lauren Child


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  • Vanessa Brown said:

    We read a story every night before bed, but you’re right, I think we really should try to do it a bit more during the day. We did with our youngest two but not as much with our third. I think I’ll change that now.
    Definitely agree it is a great bonding time. They love stories and calm down for story time as they don’t ever want to miss out.
    The dirty dinosaur is another fantastic book for young ones and it has also won awards. It helped my kids learn to recognise letters from an early age.

    October 11, 2020

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