Reading aloud with your child is one of the best ways to prepare your child for reading and learning. Families can begin reading to children as early as 4 months old. Reading is a wonderful way to bond and spend time with your child while promoting language and thinking skills. Children who are read to often also hear a variety of more words which helps with later school success.

Reading aloud in a way that is fun and engaging to a child may come naturally for some parents but may not for all. Reading to a baby or toddler may also be more difficult due to their limited attention span.

Here are some tips to help you get started with reading aloud to your child:
Create a Comfortable Reading Spot
You can read to your little one as you sit in a rocking chair or the corner of a room with a couple of big pillows up against the wall.
Begin with Vinyl or Cloth Books
If you are reading with an infant, you may want to begin with vinyl or cloth books that can be easily washed when mouthed or chewed on.  
Choose Simple Board Books
Since young children have short attention spans, choose books with few or no words. Infants and toddlers also enjoy books meaningful to them, such as books about animals, family, faces/body, and daily routines like eating or bathing. Click here for a suggestion of books to offer.
Pictures and Rhymes
Include books with easy to see pictures and with real photos. This will make it easier for children to connect words to the pictures. Also, include some books with rhyming words and songs to help your child learn new words and sounds.
Read with Expression!
Change your voice to match different characters or moods and don’t forget to add sound effects.
Talk About the Pictures
As you read aloud, point to the picture and make a connection to something in your child’s life, for example, “Look at the kitty. It looks soft like our kitty.”
Allow Your Child to Turn the Pages
Over time, this will help your child learn how to hold a book and learn that we begin reading from the left side to the right side.
Struggles and Strategies
If your child struggles with listening to you read, you may want to begin reading to them while they are doing other activities like eating or bathing. Some children may respond better to fingerplays, which are usually rhyming songs with hand movements, like Itsy Bitsy Spider. Introducing your child to fingerplays is another great way for them to learn new words and sounds and help with learning to read. For more information about finger plays click here. You can find additional video resources on this topic by visiting YouTube.
You can easily apply these same tips when reading aloud Groovy Joe Ice Cream & Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin to your preschooler. This is the featured book chosen for Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Month. This annual event is sponsored each November to promote the importance of reading to young children ages birth through 5. Your child will be singing and moving to this fun rhyming picture book which offers a positive message about sharing.

Due to the precautions around COVID-19, many libraries may not be able to celebrate this event and offer storytimes. The good news is that you can view this book digitally on Bookflix which all Kansas residents can access for free through the State Library’s website by clicking here. You can also contact your library to see if they have copies.

Make reading aloud with your little one a habit when they are young, so they can receive the benefits when they are older.

15 Read Aloud Tips for Babies and Toddlers 
Kansas State Library